Tag Archives: Wycombe Wanderers

AFC Wimbledon 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1 – A Match Report

img115Football is back! Kind of… Thinking back through my supporting life, I’ve probably been to a good sixty or seventy pre-season games, and they never fail to disappoint, so long as you have very low expectations to begin with. At least you’re normally alright for some good weather. I remember burning myself on jaunts to Bognor and Sutton a few years ago, although the Sutton incident was partly down to my own stupidity, attempting to sit on a piping hot barrier in shorts. Perhaps they should have put up a sign – Caution, barrier gets hot when exposed to direct sunlight.

No chance of that yesterday. Although warm, it was very muggy and wet, meaning I had to bring out my rainy day clothing, in other words the same old waterproof that I managed to collect a series of strangely coloured beetles on a trip to Cobham a few years back while attempting to take a short-cut back to the station. Not that it put me off. I need my football fix, becoming sick of waking up on a Saturday morning with no plans, spending hours asking each other ‘What shall we do today?’ before eventually settling on going down the pub.

Those new steps...

Those new steps...

But the Wycombe game held equal importance for me as it did for the players. Pre-season games don’t just help the players get up to speed, they help amateur reporters like myself get back up to speed. The last time I wrote a match report was my epic London Senior Cup effort on the short lived Control>Shoot blog, gratefully received by approximately a dozen Hendon fans, yet this was over two months ago. The season finished at a bad time for me, I was at the height of my writing powers, and two months of updates along the lines of ‘Erm, we signed someone today, I don’t know too much about him…’ have made me go stale.

So it was with great excitement I stepped into Kingsmeadow, partly because I’m an absolute football geek, and seeing an extra step in the John Smiths and the newly re-profiled KRE, as well as The Wall, drove my excitement levels to a factor even the release of the fixtures could not match. There was one downer – as I took my place on the terrace I noticed a portion of chips, barely touched, had been left on the ledge.

So which inconsiderate bastard left those here?

So which inconsiderate bastard left those here?

Now as those of you who know The Anonymous Don, even if just by sight will know, I have put a little bit of weight on. Now my wife has been ‘encouraging’ me to return to my formerly svelte physique over the summer, and I have been doing quite well, but the project has been hindered by the fact I need lager, curry and the like to make me feel good. Extended periods of healthy eating depress me, but I was trying to be a good boy yesterday, so I limited myself to one treat, a full fat bottle of coke. Seeing those chips sitting there, mocking me, was too much. I could almost hear them whispering to me ‘Come on fat boy, you want some of this don’t you’…

Now obviously I’m not from Bromley, so wouldn’t have dreamt of taking the cold unwanted chips, but it took a great deal of self control to not carry my podgy self round to the tea bar to pick myself up a portion. I suppose the moral of this tale is, ‘Throw your unwanted food in the blue bins in case it tempts fatties to eat unhealthily’. Although I suppose it could have been a masterful piece of marketing by the club to encourage higher food sales…

The new wall would have looked great if some vandal hadn't written on all the bricks... and who stole one?

The new wall would have looked great if some vandal hadn't written on all the bricks... and who stole one?

All thoughts of chips went out the window, as what appeared to be a game of football broke out on the pitch. Plus who was this lining up for Wycombe? Well it looked like former Dons prodigy Carl Cort, indeed the tannoy even announced him as such. But this couldn’t be our Carl Cort, surely? Our Carl Cort was a pacy, alert, agile striker, hungry for goals. This impostor just seemed to wander around, occasionally sticking his leg out at a loose ball, never really getting into the game and when he did, never looking threatening. In fact he was probably only given a trial for a laugh, as Peter Taylor attempted to field the largest team ever to set foot on a field. Seriously, Peter Crouch would feel normal lining up with some of these boys.

Not that they looked entirely dominating to begin with. In fact the biggest early threat to the Dons goal was triallist keeper Sebb Brown. I would imagine through the warm up Brown was telling himself internally not to panic, to stay calm and relaxed. Sadly he looked almost asleep when miscontrolling a back pass, before hilariously losing sight of the ball despite the fact it was just behind him. Brown was robbed of the ball after what seemed an eternity, and to his credit he refused to follow the secret goalkeepers directive in this situation of immediately giving away a penalty in order to take everyone’s mind off the error, instead smothering the ball at the feet of a Wycombe player, presumably with a great amount of relief. Brown would go on to make several fine saves, but found touch with a couple of kicks, to the point I was inspired to write ‘He’ll do for us!’ in my notebook.

Danny Kedwell strays just offside

Danny Kedwell strays just offside

Wycombe had the better of the first half, creating the games proper opening chance, their 24 slamming the ball over the bar. Now I have to confess, it was hard enough keeping track of our new boys, and we were only advised of Wycombe’s 1-11 before the game, meaning even some Wycombe fans near me couldn’t identify him. In fact, seeing my camera and notebook and perhaps mistaking me for someone slightly more professional, they even asked me who he was. Oh dear.

The Dons weren’t outclassed, they just weren’t creating chances. There was still some good interplay, especially when Hatton and Luke Moore combined down the right for Sam to knock a decent looking ball over that caused Wycombe keeper Shearer all sorts of problems, sadly the ball was ruled to have curled out of play. Moore really impressed me during his 45 minutes. He always seemed to want the ball, and knows what to do with it when he receives it. I don’t think he will really become a fans favourite if only because there’s something about him which reminds me of Martin Randall for some reason… perhaps just in the looks department? 

At the back, Wycombe had a better quality of ball in the final third, and with Browns lack of height preventing him dominating his area from crosses, Paul Lorraine had to stay alert to flick a ball away under pressure at the back post. Then on 28 minutes whoever the Wycombe number 23 was… lets just calls him Wycombe 23, slashed a volley across goal and wide at the second attempt. Plus the Wycombe number 2 (hang on, I know him, that was George Daly I think…) was giving Chris Hussey a torrid time in one on ones, always finding a way past the youngster to knock a decent ball into the danger zone.

wwfc 017Finally around the half hour mark, The Dons fashioned a chance. Young striker Peter Rapson was sharp enough to pick up on a Wycombe error at the back before skipping across goal, beating two men on his way. He laid the ball off to Lewis Taylor 25 yard out, who perhaps could have let fly but instead intelligently picked out Danny Kedwell with a chipped pass. Kedwell could have perhaps guided his header across goal, but instead planted it straight into Shearer’s arms. Sadly this was the only time Wimbledon even tried to break the Wycombe defence down in the first half despite looking good on the ball entering the final third, especially down the right.

Wycombe took the game back up the other end, Leon Johnson crashing the ball against the near post from 25 yards from the left channel, the ball ricocheting off Brown for a corner. Then from the same position a minute later, Wycombe 23 hit a rasping dipping volley that Brown did brilliantly to palm over. The keeper did his confidence no harm by pulling off a smart save from the resulting corner. I still think he’s a bit short though…

Towards the end of the half Wimbledon had a couple of chances, the impressive Rapson mishitting his volley wide from 20 yards, before Kenny Adjei tried his luck from further out only to see the ball fizz over the bar. This brought the half to an end, wholesale changes meaning the second half would be almost a completely different game.

Rapson strikes.... wide

Rapson strikes.... wide

The Dons could take plenty of positives from the half though. Lorraine and Judge looked impressive in the air at the back, plus the midfield three, plus Moore in a roaming role, looked good with the ball. The standout performance came from Lewis Taylor. He showed great confidence and awareness with the ball at his feet, rarely getting robbed and consistently picking out colleagues with a range of passes. No wonder Terry Brown has been waxing lyrical about his standards in training. Taylor was one of the few Dons completely unfazed by playing a higher standard of opponent, to the point we must start to think perhaps if Wimbledon don’t manage to make it to The League in the next couple of years Taylor will on his own. Next season will tell us all we need to know about the lad.

Another huge positive was the performance of Peter Rapson. He really didn’t look out of place lining up alongside Kedwell; with Moore just behind, and while not the extra striker Terry Brown has been looking for is certainly one for the future. We saw the kind of player Brown wants in his squad in the second half, the previously mentioned Kelvin Bossman. Bossman has been listed in the programme for the two games it covered (Brighton being the other) suggesting he is going to be on extended trial with the club. He took the field alongside Main, neither wearing a shirt number yet neither really needing one, with Elliott Godfrey just behind wearing his familiar number 20 shirt…

In fact the only player to survive the half time cull was Jay Conroy. The new new keeper was a guy called Kieran Thorp, and we saw debuts for Brett Johnson (partnering Inns at the back), Derek Duncan, Gregory, Wellard and Cheeseman as well as the aforementioned Bossman. The large striker found himself up against Wycombe triallist Michael Duberry, who you will be relieved to hear still has a massive head.

The lads stretch it out at half time

The lads stretch it out at half time

Wimbledon looked much the better side in the second half, creating a chance immediately when Jon Main found space in front of the Wycombe defence before striking for goal. Unfortunately he completely mishit it, only to see it turn into a defence splitting pass for Elliott Godfrey, clear on the right, to screw his effort across goal. Derek Duncan, at left back, seemed to be having few of the problems Chris Hussey had in the first half. Facing up to a Wycombe man on the right edge of his own area, he expertly stole the ball of his foot before haring forward down the left. He then had the vision to pick out Bossman, clear down the left but with no one in support, only to side foot at the keeper when lashing it high towards the near post would have been a better option.

In fact Bossman and Duberry seemed to cancel each other out in a series of aerial challenges, meaning unfortunately that was all we saw of the man they are already calling The Tank (perhaps because he seems to be wider than he is tall?). Although he did have a freekick unfortunately blocked later in the half by the unfortunate Derek Duncan, meaning we are still unsure of quite how deadly he is from set pieces. Bossman will probably get chances to show what he can really do against Brighton, but he blew his chance today to earn himself a contract. The more time that passes until he does, the more time Terry Brown has to pick out a better option.

Bossman keeps an eye on Duberry

Bossman keeps an eye on Duberry

Prior to that Jon Main had a call for a penalty turned down (although as Jon Main always seems to find himself on the floor in the box I’m not quite sure how good it really was). Main found himself sent clear by Godfrey shortly after only to see his effort well saved by the replacement Wycombe keeper. Wimbledon were well on top despite Johnson having to match Lorraine’s effort in the first half of heading away under his own crossbar.

Of course this was when Wycombe showed their class when they needed to. If you were only watching Brett Johnson and Matt Harold it would have appeared as though Johnson had stepped forward perfectly catching Harold offside. Unfortunately ‘a Wimbledon defender’ (possible Ryan Jackson at right back) had dawdled, allowing Harrold a clear run at Thorp, who almost did enough to push Harrold wide only to see the man who gunned us down in the FA Cup last year to net the winner from an angle.

It was tough look on Wimbledon and tough on Thorp, who really had little to do in his second half turnout. As far as goalkeepers are concerned I suppose it’s now down to Thorp to prove himself in training, as presumably Pullen and Turner will take their positions on the Isle of Man.

Ricky Wellard still had time for one more Dons chance when, 22 yards out and central, he smashed his effort over the bar. Elliott Godfrey made way for the reserve teams baby faced assassin Matt Harmsworth to enter for a short cameo, before the game ended. So an unfortunate defeat for Wimbledon set against the background of early preseason. Wycombe looked slightly stronger as you would expect due to their full-time status, but Wimbledon didn’t embarrass themselves. In fact there is much to look forward to. Jon Main looked dangerous, especially when linking up with Elliott Godfrey who himself showed he isn’t going to settle for a place on the bench for Luke Moore’s benefit.

Terry Brown has some tough decisions to make, but judging by the very little we have seen so far, this can only be regarded as a positive. Now for some team bonding in the Isle of Man before Brown faces the task of turning this group of twenty-odd footballers into a team. And I face the task of remembering how to end a match report properly… 

CORRECTION

As you all know, Bossmans nickname is not ‘The Tank’, that was allocated to Damian Spencer who trained with us last week and has now signed for Kettering. Thanks to Old Isthmian on the Guestbook for pointing that out. This is what comes of having no internet for a week and failing to do my own research by turning up at training…

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AFC Wimbledon v Wycombe Wanderers – A Match Preview

Slowly but surely it crept up on us. Football has returned, and just my luck it happens during an extended period where I’m suffering from of lack of internet. Therefore this Match Preview will be a truncated effort compared to last years efforts… although as it’s only a friendly it would have been anyway. I only kick in to ‘proper’ mode from the Luton game onwards. Plus I have to knock this one out in my lunch hour, so excuse any spelling/grammatical errors, and a complete lack of research.

To be fair though I did have a stumble around a few Wycombe websites and it seems they are just as excited about tomorrows game as we are… in other words I could find no mention of the game apart from a couple of cut-and-paste efforts from their official site. It’s not surprising, it’s effectively an open training game, but it provides us, the supporters, with a chance to get back into the swing of things.

wwfcSo what can we look forward to? Well, we have a few new signings to recognise… and, uhm, that’s it. Don’t expect to see players flying around the park, I remember thinking during the Brentford game last year a few of our players were looking a bit too committed, and that was our third/fourth game. I’m sure I’ll spend most of the afternoon in a state of panic whenever one of our players breaks into something like a sprint, or attempts a sharp turn.

Added to this its going to chuck it down, meaning a slick pitch, the possibility of slips and strains. We don’t want to wait until our penultimate away game to see a player make his debut this time around. Although hopefully we will be seeing Luke Garrard back in a Dons shirt, which will be like having a new player (on top of all the actual new players we have).

With no real news or any desire to write about the game tomorrow I’ll switch my attention to recent news, mainly that Terry Brown is looking to extend the current year long contracts of both Hatton and Hussey. I like that Terry rates them so highly, and some Football League sides share this admiration, but it’s a key season for both of them. I said Hatton was still a season away from being a brilliant Blue Square South midfielder last year, so this term will be a real key one for him, particularly with the competition he has for  his position. And after a promising start last year Chris Hussey started making a few errors towards the end of the year.

Hussey has the advantage of not having much in the way of competition for his place, meaning he can get his head down and show why the manager has so much faith in him. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m a huge fan of both players, but while I recognise the technical abilities of them, there’s still something missing. It seems to happen to players their age, that out of nowhere they turn up one summer, and in their head something has clicked. They seem to magically transform into a dominant player. Whether it’s a confidence thing, I don’t know, but think of the players we have had who leave us young then blossom into the player we thought they would – Robin Shroot being a classic example.

And with that I’m out of time! Darn internet connection at home… enjoy the game tomorrow, and look out for some kind of match report on Sunday as I spring a surprise visit on family then spend most of the time their using their computer…

****UPDATE****

Perhaps I should point you to this preview on the O/S.

http://www.afcwimbledon.co.uk/news.php?Psection_id=2&Psub_section_id=1&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=xml&Open=4236#tar4236

So we won’t be seeing Luke after all, bah!

But we will be seeing some of this guy…

http://www.fifa.com/u17worldcup/news/newsid=590243.html

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The General Specific (Wednesday 8th July ’09)

Its just a matter of days now until we see our lads step out onto the pitch (for a maximum of 45 minutes each, of course), as Wycombe areset to visit TCRRFSKM come Saturday. The first of four (four?!) home pre-season games kicks off at 3pm, and you can expect full match coverage from myself (well, unless my lack of internet gets in the way…) starting with a match preview on Friday (or perhaps tomorrow???).

I think we will see a fair attendance of around 1200 as inquisitive Dons fans gather for a first glimpse of our new heroes. On paper the gap between ourselves and Wycombe is still the same as it was when we met back in November, however the difference between a BSS club and a League 2 club against the difference between a BSP and a League 1 club is probably a bit smaller, so we should be seeing a decent game… Awww, who am I trying to kid? It’ll be played at half pace, our players will be able to pass the ball around a bit, we may even score. But anything else that happens is irrelevant… unless one of our lads suffers from a case of the Lewis Taylor’s…

In other news Terry Brown seems to be acting as Brett Johnson’s agent, so keen is he to let everyone know that while Johnson is training with us, he is yet to sign a contract. Brett is currently the property of the PFA (as it is they who are paying his July wages), and will only sign a contract with us in August. If of course no potential suitor notices the press he has been receiving and decides to step in with a better offer. To be honest, Johnson is unlikely to sign for a BSP rival unless one of ‘your Lutons or your Oxfords’ weigh in with a bid. Everyone else would probably have to offer serious cash to part him from Terry Brown once more.

The SLP came up with the non-story of the week advising we will not be signing Brighton striker Jonny Dixon. It was all a bit tame really, Brown spoke to him but we already have ‘that type of striker’. The SLP could have sexed it up a little more if they had thought of it, for example ‘DONS SNUB LEAGUE ONE HITMAN’ would have been closer to the mark – essentially that’s what happened. Brown spoke to him, he didn’t want to sign him, therefore he snubbed him. That’s how football works kids… at least as far as tabloid journalism is concerned.

Finally, our beloved gaffer has revealed to the press that ‘Luton… are red-hot title favourites’, something most of us believe anyway (although I will consistently argue the opposite, if only to play devils advocate… don’t get me wrong they’ll be up there, I just think its going to be a lot harder than they think…). If this was an effort to drum up interest in our opening day fixture I don’t think its required. Remember less than 5000 can fit in the ground, it would have sold out whoever we played and with it being Luton… I think we need to tone down the hyperbole and perhaps start concentrating our efforts on encouraging those who are unlucky enough not to get tickets for the Luton game to turn up for our midweek clash on the 18th August. After all our three home games after this are going to be pretty big draws too, especially if we have anything like a good start.

Ill start to ball rolling…. I think, despite their problems last season, Salisbury are going to crap all over this division… it’s going to be a real clash of the titans on the 18th August, so make sure you get yourself down there… Actually I’m probably approaching it from the wrong angle. How about… Look, our first five home games are going to be really hard, best to turn up on the 18th August as its probably our best chance of a home win…

Finally, breaking news has reached me that our beloved mascot Haydon (the Trumpton Batterer) has been selected to stand on the Trafalgar Square plinth on Friday from 6pm. Lets all go down there and give him a cheer… well not me, obviously I’ll be in the pubstill sorting out my new flat. This is seriously good publicity for us, unless Haydon disgraces us by becoming the first plinther to fall off…

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The General Specific (Saturday 13th June ’09)

It’s the first football-free Saturday of the summer as far as English football is concerned. If you haven’t found anything worthwhile to do with your time yet, rest assured I’m still here, churning out Dons related commentary. Plus if you absolutely cannot do without your football fix, remember football is like the British Empire used to be… somewhere in the world the sun will be shining down on a season still in full swing. So if any of you have any Irish, Scandinavian or South American blood in you, there will be a live game that will interest you somewhere on the net.

Of course, my own interest courtesy of my wife’s heritage stretches across the Atlantic ocean, to Foxboro’, Massachusetts, where my New England Revs won’t be taking the field tonight. Alas they face Kansas City away tonight, a game that kicks off at 1.30am UK time, not quite important to justify staying up to watch it in a Conference where over half the teams will qualify for the play-offs.

Having watched an English League season derided as too predictable, the MLS faces a different problem in a country where everyone loves a winner – there are just too many tied games. For example, D-Becks very own LA side have only won once in twelve outings so far. Its ok, as they have drawn nine others, meaning they still remain midtable in time for Becks to return for a season of spraying cross field passes and jumping on Landon Donovan.

I may stray into MLS territory a few times this summer, so I apologise in advance to anyone who may be offended by it, this is mainly down to my regretful decision to cease full time operations on my general football blog Control>Shoot. I couldn’t commit enough time to justify the project, and I noticed the output from this here Anonymous Don’s blog was slipping in terms of quality, so its time to put it to rest. It may reappear many years down the line, perhaps when the economy is looking brighter and our much talked of relocation to New Hampshire comes to fruition.

But the Anonymous Don ain’t going nowhere just yet. So enough of the site news, lets move on to Dons news, in bold so anyone scrolling through the crap at the beginning can see where the article really starts.

Yawn!

Yawn!

So we now know our opponents on the 11th July are… Wycombe Wanderers! The first of two visits by League One sides this summer, meaning we can at least wish them all the best before they take on the MK bastards, but my first thoughts on playing them were something along the lines of ‘Oh no, not them again, we only played them last November!’ I’m not sure what I was expecting, perhaps something unexpected like visitors from foreign shores, or a local Championship club, but with the exception of seeing our new players in the flesh for the first time, the game has ‘uninspiring’ written all over it. All of which must read pretty insulting to a Wycombe fan, so I apologise to them, but such a fixture so early in the campaign will fail to meet the expectations of the casual supporter, featuring as it will multiple substitutions and a pace that could be described as ‘walking’ at best.

(More information for passing Wycombe fans – if we had organised a friendly with AC Milan’s first team at full strength, us Wombles will still be moaning ‘it’s not the same if Kaka’s gone to Madrid…’).

That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to it! I yearn to see a Wimbledon side in action, and any kind of action will do right now! That’s why I mentioned earlier in the week that the women’s game should move to a summer season – well not quite summer, I think it should kick off around November/December time and conclude late July/August, therefore picking up improved support when the leagues are at their most interesting. It goes without saying that’s just my opinion, I’m not sure the ladies will be too fond of kicking off in the freezing cold winter…

Wellard

Wellard

Its been the on-off-on again move of the summer, thousands of words have been written about it, and the fans of two mighty clubs are on tenterhooks as the player himself weighs up a vast financial offer from an iconic supporter owned institution over the side that made him a star. No, I’m not talking of ‘Him’ to ‘Them’ (although despite my dislike of trashy redtops I did laugh at the Suns ‘Night In Paris’ headline…); I’m talking about Wellardo to Real Wimbledon.

As our very own occasional club summer newsletter ‘What’s the Deal At Kingsmeadow, Then?’ advised us in its fourth outing of the close season, Terry Brown has been on holiday (which conjures images of a ruddy faced Brown drinking wine on the veranda of a Torquay restaurant while being hounded by the man from the SLP – expect him to refuse to talk to certain media outlets for a time next season due to their crass invasion of his privacy…). I’m sure his well earned break will have no effect on the transaction going through – so long as the players demands over image rights are met of course.

Quite whom the other midfielder the article talks of is I know not. In fact I daren’t hazard a guess, in case I’m made to look a fool (no change there then…). Perhaps it’s the more ‘experienced’ player that will hold the midfield together in times of need that a section of the fan base have been calling for. After all, we go into the season with no expectations, but a player of that description could be the difference between mid-table mediocrity and a push for the playoffs, experience the younger players will find invaluable when the big push for League football comes. 

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