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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 26 Feb 11 at 16:59 PM

REPORT: MACCLESFIELD 0-1 WYCOMBE

Wycombe battled to an excellent 1-0 victory at Macclesfield Town as Gareth Ainsworth's first-half goal secured back-to-back wins on a tense afternoon which saw three players sent off.

The visitors were by far the better side in the opening 45 minutes and deserved their lead, which came when debutant Rob Kiernan flicked a long throw into the path of Ainsworth, who volleyed home.

Macclesfield hit the woodwork both sides of the interval, firstly when Tyrone Barnett lashed against the post before heading onto the bar, but the game boiled over in stoppage time after a nasty foul on Stuart Lewis.

Ricky Sappleton and Emile Sinclair were sent off amidst a flurry of violent activity while the phenomenal Dave Winfield was also shown a red card in the melee.

Gary Waddock handed Watford loanee Rob Kiernan his Wycombe debut in place of the ill Alan Bennett for the clash in Cheshire. Otherwise,
the rest of the team remained unchanged from Tuesday's emphatic 4-1 victory over Burton Albion.

Looking to pick up from where they left off in midweek, the Blues began on the offensive and could have gone ahead within just 45 seconds. Dave Winfield's flick-on from Marvin McCoy's throw-in found Ben Strevens, who swivled before testing Jose Veiga.

Wanderers continued to control the early proceedings, with Lewis Montrose flashing a 20-yard drive wide of Veiga's right-hand post, while, at the other end, Hamza Bencherif volleyed over from 25 yards.

Wycombe had Nikki Bull to thank for keeping them on level terms just two minutes later, the former Aldershot stopper pushing Nat Brown's fierce downward header from Matt Hamshaw's free-kick behind for a corner.

That seemed to kick-start Gary Waddock's men once again and Jon-Paul Pittman should have broken the deadlock 16 minutes, but he turned McCoy's teasing cross from the right over the top of Veiga's crossbar from six yards.

Wanderers came even closer to opening the scoring just before the half-hour mark when Scott Rendell turned Pittman's pintpoint cross onto the crossbar, as the visitors' grip on the game grew ever stronger.

Finally, Wycombe made their dominance count on 39 minutes when skipper Gareth Ainsworth volleyed home from close range after Kiernan had flicked-on McCoy's long throw.

The Silkmen produced a late rally ahead of the half-time whistle, hitting the crossbar through Tony Diagne before Paul Bolland's rebound was cleared off the line by Winfield, but the Blues deservedly went in ahead at the break.

There was a half-chance for the Blues immediately after the interval when Jon-Paul Pittman sent a rasping effort straight at Veiga from distance after cutting in from the right, while Matt Hamshaw fired over the top at the other end as the Silkmen pushed for a response.

The game was much more stretched than before and the ball was switching ends with great frequency, with the home side playing some neat football and testing the defensive resolve of the Wanderers.

And that was tested even further when Rob Kiernan was forced off the pitch with a knee injury, resulting in a change at the back with Anthony Straker coming on at left-back and Danny Foster moving inside. In the interim period, Tyrone Barnett headed against the bar after a set-piece while the Blues were temporarily down to ten men, adding to the tension amongst the visitors.

Wycombe needed the cushion of a two-goal lead and it should have arrived when Gareth Ainsworth sent a free header over the bar from Straker's inch-perfect cross on 62 minutes.

Ben Strevens then cushioned a header into the keeper's arms from Gareth Ainsworth's deep cross as the momentum swung gradually into the Blues' favour, but Macc kept launching the ball forward as they changed their strategy and brought two extra strikers into the fray.

Goalscoring chances were few and far between but the game was always on a knife-edge, with the outstanding Dave Winfield repelling every attack which came his way, while Wycombe's attackers battled valiantly to take the pressure off the back four. Stuart Beavon shot straight at Veiga as the game approached stoppage time after fellow substitute Kevin Betsy had played him in.

And the tension boiled over in stoppage time when Ricky Sappleton launched into Marvin McCoy, sparking a 20-man brawl which resulted in Sappleton rightfully seeing red before Dave Winfield and Emile Sinclair followed him down the tunnel for their part in the ensuing scuffle.

It was the last action of a match which was full of action and sets up a mouth-watering trip to league leaders Chesterfield, who lost at home to Morecambe.

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