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Match Report


Posted Mon 02 Jan 12 at 17:05 PM


A poor display on the south coast condemned Wanderers to a 2-0 defeat at AFC Bournemouth.

Goals in either half gave the hosts only a third home league win of the season and Wycombe never looked likely to test the Cherries keeper despite occasional flashes of inventive creativity in midfield.

It was the strike pair of Wes Thomas and Michael Symes who capitalised on defensive lapses from set pieces and indeed the scoreline could have been heavier had it not been for the heroics of Nikki Bull.

The Wanderers stopper made a succession of superb saves to deny Symes, Marc Pugh and Harry Arter as a flurry of Bournemouth attacks threatened to add to the visitors' misery.

James Tunnicliffe, Stuart Lewis and Gareth Ainsworth replaced the injured Dave Winfield, John Halls and Joel Grant in the starting XI for the clash with Lee Bradbury's Cherries.

A fantastic minute's applause for ex-Wanderers, Liverpool and Everton defender Gary Ablett was held before kick-off following the 46-year-old's passing after a long battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Symes wasted the first chance of the game inside the opening two minutes, firing over the top from close range after Marc Pugh's corner had caused problems.

The hosts continued to threaten and only some alert goalkeeping from Nikki Bull kept the Blues on level terms, tipping Thomas' downward header over the bar and behind for a corner.

Thomas forced Bull into another save shortly afterwards before a magnificent clearance from Leon Johnson denied Symes an easy tap-in from inside the six-yard box.

Wanderers finally succumbed to Bournemouth's pressure 27 minutes in, but for all the neat play the home side had offered, it was a mistake from the Blues that gifted them the lead. Ainsworth's attempted clearance hit Tunnicliffe and fell to the lively Thomas, who made no mistake from eight yards.

Going behind seemed to liven up Wycombe, but they were still finding it difficult to create any clear-cut chances. Danny Foster flashed an ambitious volley wide of the target before Marcello Trotta was denied a header on goal by Simon Francis after nice link-up play with Stuart Beavon as a disappointing half for the Blues drew to a close.

Beavon flicked a header over the bar early in the second period before Nikki Bull pulled off a fine save to keep out Wes Fogden's low drive from 20 yards.

With the game looking more and more stretched, it was essential not to concede a second goal, but the blow came on 50 minutes when another defensive calamity allowed Symes to head home from a corner.

It could have got worse when Bull made another top-drawer save to keep out Harry Arter before Fogden bent an effort over the crossbar and Bull thwarted Symes at the near post as the Cherries looked to put the game to bed.

The keeper was at it again to stop Pugh's low shot when the winger raced through one-on-one and the Blues were lucky to still have the faintest of hopes of a recovery.

The introductions of Grant Basey and Kadeem Harris gave the visitors greater impetus but other than a shot from Matt Bloomfield which deflected just wide, there was still little evidence that a dramatic shift in fortunes was to follow.

Bournemouth were able to comfortably nullify any late threats for the Blues and the result was never in doubt, with Wycombe left to ponder why they were so unable to defend set pieces effectively.

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