Davies stunner puts Blues out of cup

Wycombe Wanderers 0, Preston North End 1.

AN OUTSTANDING goal from veteran striker Kevin Davies was enough to end Wanderers’ interest in the FA Cup in the second round.

Davies scored a stunning long range volley that flew over Matt Ingram’s header in the first half and as well as being a goal good enough to win any match, it proved enough to see Wanderers off.

It was the only real moment of quality in a dire first half, before the game opened up for both sides after the break.

The first half failed to live up to the big match billing as defences dominated at both ends of the pitch. Preston’s much-vaunted attack of Davies and former Wanderers favourite Stuart Beavon failed to sparkle as the new Blues central defensive partnership of Anthony Stewart and Kortney Hause kept them at bay.

The hosts were restricted to half chances from long range as the visiting defence were able to read any ball played forward by the Blues midfield. Stuart Lewis and Marvin McCoy both failed to trouble keeper Declan Rudd as they scuffed wide from distance, while Hause will probably feel he should have done better as he misjudged a header at a free kick and it was cleared without heading towards the net.

A routine save by Ingram from a Tom Clarke header was the only attempt on target in the first half apart from Davies’ strike to open the scoring. Finally Preston’s strikeforce combined to good effect as Beavon flicked the ball on into Davies’ path and the one-time England man waited for it to sit up in front of him.

With his first touch he smashed the ball over the head of the flailing Ingram from 25 yards for an outstanding strike that was out of place with much of the rest of the play in an uninspiring encounter.

Wanderers responded at the start of the second half as Hause sent a header over the bar from a corner and Dean Morgan flicked the ball through for Billy Knott to run on to, but the midfielder fluffed his lines after getting into the area and shot limply wide.

Wednesday night’s goalscoring hero Stewart had chances to add to his season’s tally as he had a shot blocked by Paul Huntingdon before sending a header off target from the corner that followed.

Davies then should have extended his side’s lead as he headed over from six yards after being set up by Chris Humphrey, before Blues broke and Knott curled one just over the bar from the edge of the box.

Pushing for an equaliser Wanderers left themselves vulnerable to the counter attack and they were lucky not to fall further behind as Davies sent Josh Brownhill clear but Sam Wood got back to make a great tackle just as the midfielder was about to pull the trigger. A goalmouth scramble from the resulting corner saw the same player come even closer to a second goal but Ingram fingertipped his header onto the post.

Matt McClure produced a heroic clearance off the line from a Davies header as the League One visitors pushed for a second goal that would clinch their place in the third round.

Wanderers made two attacking changes in a bid to keep themselves in the competition and it was one of the new faces, Max Kretzschmar, who fired in Blues’ first on target shot of the match but Rudd was able to make a comfortable save low down.

The visiting keeper then made a great clawing save as McCoy’s cross threatened to loop into the net, before making an even better stop low down to keep out Stewart’s downward header.

Wanderers: Ingram, McCoy, Stewart, Hause, Dunne (sub Wood), Scowen, Lewis, Knott (sub Kretzschmar), Morgan (sub Craig), Cowan-Hall, McClure. Substitutes not used: Harrison, Spring, Kuffour, Doherty.

Attendance: 2,249 (403 from Preston)

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