United 1-2 Wycombe: Some You Win…

@vinylperez looks back on a frustrating night for the U’s under the Abbey lights.

All good things have to come to an end eventually, and United’s recent unbeaten run fell victim to a combination of a physical Wycombe side, some dreadful decisions from the officials and our own poor performance in front of goal.

Wycombe are always a pain in the arse to play against, and despite Gareth Ainsworth moving to QPR earlier in the season that hasn’t changed. A strong, tough side, with one eye on the playoffs themselves (although it’s highly unlikely, if not almost impossible for them to get there now) they set up to frustrate United perfectly, and slowly but surely wore us down as the evening went on.

Bonner stuck with the same side that started in Saturdays magnificent win against P*sh, and for a while both teams were fairly evenly matched. Lankester, Knibbs and Smith all had chances they should have done a lot better with, but it was Wycombe that took the lead – the main stand linesman having an absolute horrorshow of a performance decided to play ref, flagging for a handball that simply wasn’t. The ref gave a freekick which Wycombe scored from, but despite the injustice United’s heads didn’t drop, and they continued to fight to get back in the game.

Just before half time, the linesman was involved in more controversy, seemingly missing a Wycombe player being offside before scoring, although the replay showed he made the correct call – probably his first right call of the match. United’s players, the NRE and our coaching team (including a usually fairly passive Mark Bonner) seemed incensed at the decision and it took a minute for the ref to restart the game after our protests, which were ultimately (and rightly) futile.

In the second half United tried to get back into the game, and after a while that persistence paid off, Sam Smith scoring yet again – we’ve been critical of Sam’s perceived lack of effort in the past, but over the last five or so games he really seems to have stepped up his game and at just the right time. United continued to attack, Bonner making four subs soon after the goal bringing on Ironside, Fejiri, Seddon and Tracey in an attempt to take a point (or more) but in the end it didn’t really pay off, Ironside and Tracey in particular not doing much of note, and Fejiri struggling to find a position for himself. In the end Wycombe deserved their win, but United were left to rue their missed chances.

How much of a set back was this then? To be honest, it could have been worse. Okay Oxford picked up a point, but we’re still in the hunt and we played pretty well. You certainly can’t question the commitment levels of the players right now. Plymouth on Saturday is a massive ask, but so were Wigan and Ipswich last season and look what happened there…

We’re still in the hunt, we’ve still got a chance. Keep the faith. Up The U’s.

Man of the Match: If Lankester had have taken that gilt-edged chance it might have been him, but he didn’t so it’s not. McGrandles was good, Bennett struggled at first but still put in a great performance at both ends of the pitch, Digby got involved with everything too. Morrison also deserves a shout out on a difficult evening.

Soundtrack of the Match: Soft Cell – Frustration

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