The last time I was at Long Crendon Recreation Ground was almost exactly a year ago, on the 9th of October when I saw Long Crendon and Caversham United battle out one of the most entertaining goalless draws I've ever seen (Greens And Goats Goalless). It's safe to say that the ground has not changed at all in the intervening 364 days. Therefore, I am not going to stick to the normal match blog convention of describing the ground. You could always read last year's blog. Better still, get down to the ground, watch Long Crendon Ladies play and see for yourself.
At the start of play the top of the Division 1 North table showed three teams on nine points. Wycombe led the way on goals scored. They sat one place above hosts Long Crendon who in turn were above Kidlington on goal difference. The big difference being that both Wycombe and Kidlington had played five games whereas Long Crendon had played only three. In fact, Long Crendon were defending a 100% record so far having beaten Chesham United Development, Eversley & California and Ascot United Reserves. Wycombe's under 23 team, new to the league this season, started with two consecutive 5-2 defeats, at Abingdon and Beaconsfield. However, they turned it around with an 8-2 win at Caversham and followed that up with two further victories, scoring five goals on both occasions. The second of these, a 5-0 win at Eversley & California, saw them hit the top of the table last weekend.
For the second game running I have to give thanks to the match referee. Thanks to Kevin Saw for sharing the team sheets with me prior to kick off, and taking the time to have a chat about football in general.
Long Crendon set about the game with plenty of purpose. Inside the first minute Ellie Lovelock got the first strike on target off. It was never troubling Emma Dean, but nevertheless was a signal of intent from the home side. They continued to take the game to their visitors and, after only six minutes were awarded a penalty for a foul just inside the box. There were no complaints from the Wycombe team as Crendon captain Nicole Jacobs took the responsibility from the spot, slotting home coolly. 1-0.
Although Wycombe had, at last, got out of their own half, they came close to going two down on 19 minutes when a ball into the box caused some confusing between defence and goalkeeper. The indecision allowed Amber Cattell to sneak in on the left, sliding a ball across the face of the goal that Ellie Lovelock was inches away from getting her tow to before Wanderers hacked it clear. The Crendon front there of Cattell, Lovelock and Megan Brockwell, were causing a lot of problems for the Wycombe defence at this point. However, Wycombe did now have the out ball down the flank for the pace of Qureshi.
Crendon had already showed that they were not afraid to take a shot whwn the opportunity presented itself, even from well outsode the box. Just before the half-hour mark Megan Brockwell demonstrated this by bursting down the right flank before unleashing a cross-shot that beat Dean but also went wide of the far post.
It was the 36th minute before Wycombe demonstrated where they could be really dangerous. Daisy Thompson got down the right side, put a cross in from Shannon Read who controlled the ball well before shooting just over on the turn. A few minutes alter Wycombe captain Jessie Poulter displayed some nifty footwork to engineer enough space to get a shot off. It was well blocked be a defender but was a sign that Wycombe could cause problems for Crendon given the opportunity.
HT Long Crendon 1 Wycombe Wanderers 0. Although the word dominate would be a little too much, Long Crendon certainly had more than their fair share of possession and chances. Enough to suggest that they may well feel a one goal lead wasn't as much as they should have had. Wycombe started to look a little more dangerous toward the end of the half and, while it is still only 1-0, the game is very much in the balance.
a smidge past the hour mark Wycombe were on level terms. A moment of indecision at the back for Crendon allowed the nippy Ammara Qureshi to sneak in, round Whale and slip the ball into an empty net. 1-1.
Long Crendon responded to the equaliser very well, Ellie Lovelock unleashing an effort, almost straight from the restart, that Dean did well to get behind. However, in the very next minute Wycombe were awarded a free-kick some 40 yards out on the left-wing. Amaya Navarro sent over a delightful ball, bypassing the home defence perfectly into the path of Shannon Read who finished with a first time stab past Amy Whale. 1-2. What a turnaround from Wycombe.
Two goals in just over two minutes was enough to rock any team but Long Crendon, to their credit, visibly rolled up their sleeves and set about trying to put things right. Sarah Harrison clipped the Wycombe bar with a free-kick on 68 minutes but, try as they might, Crendon could not find a way through. In the 84th minute Emma Brockwell combined well down the left before firing over and the ball, once again, was spending a lot of time in the Wycombe half.
That being said Wycombe, and specifically Qureshi, weren't just going to sit back and defend. With three minutes to go the flying winger unleashed a superb free-kick that beat Whale all ends up before crashing back off the post. There was still time for Emma Dean to pick up a knock after bravely challenging for a ball into the six yard box, and for Emma Brockwell to come close with a speculative effort from outside the box. Ultimately, it was not Long Crendon's day and Wycombe held out to claim a superb away win.
FT Long Crendon 1 Wycombe Wanderers 2. At half-time not many people would have put a bet on a Wycombe win. However, credit to the visitors. They soaked up a lot of pressure in the first half then hit Long Crendon with a quickfire double before defending brilliantly to secure the points. The reason I added the question mark to the blog title is that, although Long Crendon had the lion's share of possession, Wycombe were clever in the way that they made the most of fewer chances. Yes, they could have been three or four down at the break but they weren't, the were still well in the game. So, was it smash and grab or was it excellent game management? Either way, it was fun to watch as a neutral.
You can catch both of these teams in County Cup action next week. Wycombe host Penn & Tylers Green in an all Division One North match-up. Meanwhile, Long Crendon face a tough challenge as MK Dons SET come to the Rec.
Long Crendon: Whale, Jacobs(c), Regan, M.Brockwell, Finlayson, Lovelock, Harrison, E.Brockwell, Cattell, Leith, Dougall. Subs: Bailey, Cairns, Davies, Bush, Woodward
Wycombe Wanderers u23: Dean, Musgrove, Cadore, West, Misselbrook, Condra, Fuller, Poulter(c), Read, Parkin, Thompson. Subs: Qureshi, Winter, Navarro, Mitchell
Ground Number: Re-visit