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Match Report


Posted Sat 20 Nov 10 at 17:04 PM


Wycombe's unbeaten away record came to an end at Vale Park as Port Vale held on to record a 2-1 victory in an entertaining affair.

John McCombe was the Valiants' hero, opening the scoring on 11 minutes after Wycombe failed to clear a corner, but Dave Winfield's first goal for the Blues on 16 minutes levelled matters.

A world-class save from Nikki Bull denied Marc Richards on the stroke of half-time, but Vale weren't to be denied a winner when McCombe sliced home just after the hour mark.

Gary Waddock named the same side that beat Bradford 1-0 last Saturday for the match in the midlands.

The first chance fell to Vale legend Gareth Ainsworth - who received a standing ovation before kick-off - but his shot was blocked at the back post by Kris Taylor.

That seemed to liven up Micky Adams' Valiants, who soon took a stranglehold of proceedings. Gary Roberts' incisive pass presented Justin Richards with a golden opportunity, but the striker slid his shot wide of Nikki Bull's left post from only eight yards out.

Minutes later, Richards tested Bull with a stinging drive from the edge of the Wycombe box, while, at the other end, the lively Stuart Beavon nearly took advantage of a Gareth Owen mishap.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock on 11 minutes when John McCombe headed home Marc Richards' cutback from a Kris Taylor corner.

Wycombe were level five minutes later, though, thanks to Dave Winfield's first goal for the club. The giant centre-back rose highest in the box to head Matt Bloomfield's inswinging corner past the helpless Stuart Tomlinson.

Gary Waddock's Wanderers were growing in confidence with Beavon and Kevin Betsy, in particular, causing the Vale backline problems.

The unlikely source of Chris Westwood came close to giving the Chairboys the lead on 37 minutes when he directed a looping header just over the bar after meeting a Lewis Montrose cross.

But then the half ended in dramatic fashion with both sides having chances to snatch the lead before the interval. Firstly Stuart Beavon was sent free down the left-hand side and was only denied by a well-timed challenge by Gareth Owen inside the area as he was poised to pull the trigger.

And then a world-class save from Nikki Bull kept the scores level as he flung himself to his left to deny Marc Richards from point blank range, preventing a certain goal in spectacular fashion.

The opening to the second period was equally as lively, with both sides applying pressure on their opposing defences and it was only the final ball which was missing from the visitors' impressive attacking threat.

And they were made to pay when Vale re-took the lead through McCombe's second of the game. Having just seen Louis Dodds shoot wide from eight yards, the centre-half showed how it's done with a volley into the top corner, although it did appear to carry more than a touch of fortune as it looped off his boot as a result of a mishit volley.

The goal was harsh on Wycombe and for all of their efforts going forward, that final ball was still eluding them. Kevin Betsy fired wide from 25 yards when he had the whole of the goal to aim at, while at the other end, Marc Richards missed a chance to put the game out of sight when he blasted over from four yards.

Vale's niggly tackles were slowing down the Blues' forward momentum and they struggled to create many clear-cut chances in the area, with Andy Sandell's swerving effort from distance forcing Stuart Tomlinson into a rare save with five minutes remaining.

As stoppage time approached, Ben Strevens spurned an opportunity to salvage a point when he met a downward header inside the six-yard area, but his effort at full stretch looped wide and that proved to be the last chance.

Vale held on to strengthen their position in the top three but Wycombe's unbeaten record away from home has come to an end after a phenomenal run.


5mins: After latching onto Gary Roberts' incisive pass, the unmarked Justin Richards slides his shot past the post from eight yards.

10mins: Stuart Beavon slips at the wrong time after Vale skipper Gareth Owen had misjudged the ball into the box.

11mins: SAVE - Richards' stinging 20-yard drive is palmed away by Nikki Bull.

11mins: GOAL - John McCombe heads home from close range after meeting Gareth Owen's cutback.

16mins: GOAL - Wycombe are level thanks to Dave Winfield's stooping header from a Matt Bloomfield corner.

23mins: CHANCE - After cutting inside, Ainsworth drags his shot wide of Stuart Tomlinson's goal.

33mins: SAVE - Sean Rigg's long-range effort is easily gathered by Bull.

36mins: CHANCE - Centre-back Chris Westwood heads Lewis Montrose's cross just over the bar.

44mins: CHANCE - Stuart Beavon latched onto Andy Sandell's through ball but was thwarted by the covering Gareth Owen.

45mins: SAVE - Bull pulls off a world class save to deny Vale's top scorer Mark Richards from close range.

54mins: SUB - Sean Rigg comes off with Louis Dodds taking his place.

57mins: CHANCE - Louis Dodds clips the ball wide of the post after Justin Richards' cut-back.

61mins: GOAL -A mishit volley from John McCombe loops into the corner and puts the home side back in front.

68mins: CHANCE - Kevin Betsy shoots wastefully wide from 25 yards.

74mins: SUB - Lewis Haldane replaces Rob Taylor.

80mins: CHANCE - Marc Richards misses a sitter, firing over the top from four yards.

85mins: SAVE - Andy Sandell sends a fizzing effort towards goal, forcing the keeper into an unconvincing save.

87mins: SUB - Justin Richards comes off for Jake Speight.

88mins: CHANCE - Ben Strevens stretches to meet a downward header and his effort goes agonisingly wide.

90+3mins: FT - Port Vale 2-1 Wycombe.

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