Football: Wycombe close to safety
Thursday 06 May 1999
THE BUGLE call which blares out over the loudspeakers at key moments during matches at Adams Park may well have been heralding Second Division safety for Wycombe last night.
Like the cavalry riding over the horizon, Sean Devine and Paul Emblen came to their rescue by scoring either side of half-time after Simon Haworth's 14th goal of the season had given Wigan hope. The visitors' woes were compounded by the 87th-minute dismissal of Michael O'Neill for a second bookable offence in the space of four minutes.
Wycombe thus equalled their highest position of the season, 20th, pushing Oldham back into the bottom four in the process, and will survive if they win at Lincoln on Saturday. Wigan can still reach the First Division, but even if they beat Chesterfield at home, they must rely on Bournemouth failing to defeat Wrexham in order to extend their season.
Both teams knew that a victory would put them in their desired position for the final games of the "regular" season - Wycombe out of the relegation zone; Wigan in the play-off places.
Winning them is easier said than done when you have spent only five days outside the bottom four since August, which was Wycombe's record; or when you are playing for the sixth time in 12 days, as Wigan were.
Lawrie Sanchez, the former Wimbledon FA Cup-winner, has coaxed Wycombe into mid-table form since taking over as manager in February. They have also scored more goals than any of their fellow stragglers, though they were made to toil for their reward on this occasion
Wigan, whose willingness to cover and harry their opponents initially belied their leg-weariness, allowed them only half-chances until first- half stoppage time.
Devine - third in Wycombe's player of the year poll despite having arrived from Barnett as recently as March - managed to flick a header by Jamie Bates goalward after 14 minutes, but could get no power behind the ball and Gareth Griffiths ushered it to safety.
Roy Carroll, Wigan's widely coveted goalkeeper, had to sprint to the edge of his area 13 minutes later when Colin Greenall's back-header fell short. Emblen nicked it past him only to find the angle too difficult and sent his shot over the bar.
Wigan scored from their first sustained attack in the 38th minute. Martin Taylor could not hold Andy Porter's drive, enabling Haworth to steer in the loose ball.
Haworth pulled his shot wide when clean through a minute before half- time. The miss proved costly as Wycombe equalised immediately, Devine firing in via a post after Emblen's sharp turn in a crowded box confounded Wigan.
While Wycombe's second goal, four minutes after the break, was ultimately fortuitous, it stemmed from a splendid build up. A deep cross by Matt Lawrence was headed back by Dave Carroll to the edge of the area, from where Keith Ryan shot powerfully. Paul Emblen, sticking out a foot, managed to change the trajectory of the ball and leave Roy Carroll wrong-footed.
Wycombe Wanderers (4-3-3): Taylor; Lawrence, Bates, Forsyth, Vinnicombe; Simpson, Ryan, D Carroll; McSporran (Holsgrove, 67), Emblen (Senda, 90), Devine. Substitute not used: Beeton.
Wigan Athletic (3-4-1-2): R Carroll; McGibbon, Greenall, Griffiths; Green; Rogers, Porter (O'Neill, 69), Sharp; Liddle (Lee, 69); Barlow (Jones, 55), Haworth.
Referee: M Pierce (Portsmouth).
Latest in Sport
Have Liverpool found the next Luis Suarez? Reds give trial to Uruguayan wonderkid Juan Manuel Sanabria
UFC 190 Ronda Rousey vs Bethe Correia: What time does it start and where can I watch it, plus Mauricio Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho
- 1 National Orgasm Day: Six reasons (plus one bogus one) why they're good for us
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
- 4 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 5 Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston says why he left the BBC series after just one series
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...
£15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...
£60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...