REPORT FROM WYCOMBE SITE
Mansfield Town 3 Wycombe Wanderers 2
Tuesday 16th December 2003
FA Cup Second Round replay
Wanderers crashed out of the FA Cup in controversial fashion at Field Mill. A highly dubious penalty for an alledged foul by Roger Johnson in the third and final minute of second-half stoppage time allowed Liam Lawrence to step up and complete a hat-trick as his side grabbed a 3-2 victory. The winning kick came so late, their wasn't even time to re-start the game and the Wanderers players, management and travelling supporters were left to reflect on another eratic performance that had seen Wycombe come from behind to lead 2-1 after a second-half brace from Jermaine McSporran.
The score stayed that way until the 72nd minute when Mansfield were gifted their first penalty of the evening when Steve Williams appeared to be fouled when he went up to collect a ball in from the right but as the ball broke Ian Simpemba was pulled up for a foul.
It was a cruel blow for a Wycombe side that had somehow managed to turn around the game following an abysmal first-half showing. Wanderers' line-up included five changes to the side that drew Notts County and they failed to register one shot at goal during the opening 45 minutes and were lucky to be only one goal behind - Lawrence netting in the 14th minute with a chip over Williams from the right corner of the penalty area.
The Stags had peppered Wanderers' goal throughout the first half starting as early as the 2nd minute when an attack down the left saw Williams and then Andy Thomson clear the danger. In the 7th minute a cross from deep on the right from Lawrence found Craig Disley unmarked at the near post but he fired wide with his first time effort.
After going behind it was a case of damage limitation for Wanderers. Lee Williamson had a long range shot deflected wide after 17 minutes and it wasn't until the 35th minute before Wycombe made any serious impact on the home goal - a corner from the left being easily dealt with and from the resulting break Wanderers had Williams to thank for a double save at his right hand post to keep out a Corden effort and then recover to block the follow up.
Half-time Mansfield 1 Wycombe 0
After the break Wanderers switched to a front three and looked a different team. Keith Ryan had replaced Jonny Dixon and Rhino moved into midfield with Stuart Roberts now in a more attacking role and playing wide left. It was Robbo who had Wanderers first goal attempts of the game. In the 49th minute the Welshman cut in from the left edge of the penalty area but shot straight at Pilkington in the Stags goal. Two minutes later he had a better chance after Craig Faulconbridge headed the ball on but this time he shot high of the target from a central position around 20 yards from goal.
Jocky's smash and grab raid with goals in the 56th and 59th minute looked to have changed the tie. The first goal came after another flick on by Faulconbridge setting up Jocky to turn and tuck the ball inside the left hand upright. It provided an immediate tonic for the Wanderers' players and supporters alike. Three minutes later Wanderers were ahead when McSporran picked up a through ball from Simpemba just right of goal and in typical style he raced into goal before drving the ball low and hard and into the far corner of the net and it seemed that the impossible might happen.
Wanderers looked stable in defence until the first penalty decision went against them. But even then there more chances for Wycombe to win the game. Just two minutes after Mansfield had equalised with their first penalty McSporran was through again on goal in a central position but Pilkington raced off his line and was able to block the goalbound chip. Then with two minutes of normal time remaining a cross from the left by Roberts saw Faulconbridge tumble under a challenge from Dave Artell on the edge of the six yard box. Wanderers claims for a penalty of their own were waved away and then with the tie seemingly heading for extra-time, Mansfield were allowed room down their left wing. Mark Rogers maybe should have taken the easy option and cleared into the stands but the ball was played through to Williamson was then stopped in his tracks on the bye-line by what looked a decent connection with the ball by Roger Johnson. The match official thought otherwise and after Johnson was booked for his actions, Lawrence provided the final cruel twist of the evening and it's now well and truly 'concentrate on the league' time.
Speaking to the press after the game, Tony Adams said "It's never nice to lose any tie - let alone in the 93rd minute. I didn't see the first penalty and couldn't really see the second one either - that's referees for you. It took us 45 minutes to warm up and words were said at half-time. I think the players responded well in the second half and we were very unlucky."
Final Score - Mansfield 3 Wycombe 2 Wycombe: Williams, Rogers, Vinnicombe, Johnson, Thomson, Simpemba, Simpson, Roberts, McSporran, Dixon (sub HT Ryan), Faulconbridge - subs used: Bulman, Currie, Holligan, Talia
Bookings: Simpemba (foul 76), Johnson (93)
Scorer: McSporran (56, 59)
Mansfield: Pilkington, Hassell, Artell, Day, Vaughan (sub 89 Dimech), Lawrence, Williamson, Curtis, Corden, Disley (sub 60 Christie), Mendes - subs not used: Jason White, Larkin, MacKenzie
Scorer: Lawrence (14, 72 pen, 94 pen)
Referee: Mr Paul Taylor Attendance: 5,512 (away end 163)
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