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Match Report


Posted Sat 07 Nov 09 at 18:20 PM


Wycombe and Brighton served up a FA Cup thriller on Remembrance weekend with a 4-4 draw which will live long in the memory.

The one minute's silence ahead of the game proved to be the only calm period of a frantic afternoon which saw both sides reduced to ten men and referee Mr Hooper award three penalties.

Elliott Bennett slotted Albion into a third minute lead but Matt Harrold's penalty levelled the scores before Gavin Hoyte was sent off for the visitors for a petulant kick at Jon-Paul Pittman.

Scott Davies' exquisite effort put Wycombe ahead but Craig Woodman was given his marching orders on the stroke of half-time for a foul on Glenn Murray, with Nicky Forster despatching the resulting spot-kick.

Murray's deflected effort made it 3-2 soon after the break but the match swung back in Wycombe's favour with Pittman and Harrold both netting from close range, before Murray's penalty following a contentious handball forced a replay.

Wycombe boss Gary Waddock made one change to the side which started against Walsall last week, with Pittman replacing Chris Zebroski in attack, but all of the early action was at the other end of the pitch as Brighton took advantage of a nervy Blues defence.

Twice the Seagulls were denied by an offside flag before Elliott Bennett seized upon a through ball to slot past Scott Shearer to open the scoring, and it could have been two as Dean Cox and Nicky Forster both saw efforts sail past the post.

But the Wanderers adjusted and forced their way back into the game when Matt Harrold was pulled down in the box by Adam El-Abd, allowing the striker to convert his second spot-kick in three weeks by blasting past keeper Graeme Smith.

The referee was called into action again on 32 minutes when Albion full-back Gavin Hoyte - on loan from Arsenal - needlessly kicked out at Pittman on the halfway line, earning himself a justified red card and putting his side on the back foot.

Wycombe capitalised on the numerical advantage just six minutes later when Kevin Betsy's inch-perfect cross was met on the volley by Scott Davies, who clipped home his third goal in two games in some style and handed Wycombe the lead.

However, the final action of the half saw the game become even once again when Wycombe failed to fully clear a corner and Craig Woodman brought down Glenn Murray, prompting the referee to brandish a debatable red card.

Nicky Forster converted the penalty and then earned a yellow card for inciting the home crowd with a senseless celebration, which brought to an end a thrilling first 45 minutes of football.

The entertainment continued immediately after the break with Scott Davies' free-kick curling just over the bar before Glenn Murray put the Albion in front after being released down the right wing. The striker cut inside and fired goalwards, but the ball was lifted over Scott Shearer by a wicked deflection off the diving Lewis Hunt.

Wycombe needed a response, and it came ten minutes later when Matt Harrold's inch-perfect knockdown from a cross fell kindly for Jon-Paul Pittman, who poked home to make it 3-3.

Kevin Betsy and Glenn Murray both came close to finding the next goal but it did arrive on the 71st minute courtesy of Harrold's second of the game. Tommy Doherty worked the ball out to Betsy on the right wing, and his cross was met by the in-form striker who guided home after getting ahead of his marker.

Brighton pressed for an equaliser but the Wycombe defence seemed to be standing up to the test, although the referee had the final say by awarding a penalty when Elliott Bennett's cross struck Matt Bloomfield's arm at point blank range, and Murray drove home to make it 4-4.

Neither side was able to find a winner and so they will reconvene for the replay later this month, while the draw for the second round will be made tomorrow afternoon.

Stay tuned for reaction from Gary Waddock and Matt Harrold.

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