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Winning without getting out of second gear
3:02pm Thursday 27th November 2008 in Sport
SATURDAY 8th December 2001 is not a particularly memorable day for most Wycombe fans. But I remember it well.
I was in the pub after Wycombe had beaten Notts County 3-0 in an easy FA Cup second round tie at Adams Park and reflected with pride on how we’d beaten a team so easily.
The Blues had not played particularly well that day but had classy players – the likes of Stuart Roberts and Darren Currie – and almost the perfect balance to the line up.
True to form, Wycombe lost the next game at Stoke 5-1 and Lawrie Sanchez never recovered.
Fast forward seven years and I feel exactly the same about our 2-0 win on Tuesday. It was by no means a quality performance – but there was class all over the pitch. It’s a cliché but the Blues did not have to get out of second gear.
The defence look rock solid. Whereas in past seasons, you would be worried to see some dangerous attacking play by our opponents, with Mike Williamson, David McCracken and Leon Johnson about you know they will be there to clear the danger.
Tommy Doherty makes such a difference to the midfield. He is calm, assured and a great passer. He allows others to get forward (although his own forward run led to Matt Harrold breaking the deadlock at Meadow Lane).
And at last we have started to score goals. Harrold is the target man we have been missing and his goals have been really welcomed. Seven goals already is a good return for someone who only had one league goal in the previous 50 odd games.
Chris Zebroski and Angelo Balanta provide that much needed pace to the side as we at last look to have that well balanced squad we have been crying out for for years.
Visiting a non-league side in the FA Cup will always be described as a “banana skin.” But Peter Taylor is a very level headed character and will warn against complacency.
A victory and a passage into the third round of the FA Cup is the only thinkable outcome – and I’m sure Steve Hayes will make Taylor all too aware how much money a win over Eastwood is worth.
Let’s hope we can build on things – unlike the last time I felt generally happy with Wycombe’s line up.
Ian Baker is on the Board of Wycombe Wanderers Supporters Trust. For further details about the Trust and how to join please see www.wwst.org.