So on a chilly night at the Park hearts were warmed by a stirring City performance coming from behind twice to beat Wycombe 3-2 in front of 3365 supporters. City lined up: Krysiak; Woodman, Coles, Baldwin, Amankwaah; Davies, Bennett, Doherty, Oakley; Keohane, Cureton.
With manager Tisdale robbed of the services of O'Flynn, Sercombe, Bauza and Gow Tommy Doherty and Jimmy Keohane were drafted into a somewhat unusual starting line up with Keohane playing up front just behind Cureton and Oakley starting out on the right of midfield with Doherty in the middle. It mattered not as the transition was seamless with everyone slotting into their roles comfortably as well as taking the game to Wycombe in the opening minutes. That is, until the third minute when after two minutes and 59 seconds of City control it was the visitors who opened the scoring.
And in very fortuitous circumstances too. Wycombe broke upfield on a rare attack finding Gareth Ainsworth in space on the right. He marched forward to the edge of the area where Coles came out to close down. Ainsworth's hopeful cross/shot struck Coles as he jumped to block sending it spinning towards the top corner at the near post completely wrong footing Krysiak and giving him no chance of stopping the ball deflecting in to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Wycombe had a second chance minutes later as City struggled to regain their composure when they broke at speed from a City attack. The ball ended up with Ainsworth crossing to Joel Grant with an obscene amount of time and space to loop a header over the hopelessly stranded outrushing Krysiak only for Coles to come to the rescue and head off the line from under the bar. In the 12th minute it was City's turn to get a lucky deflection, this time Oakley chipping in from the edge of the box and seeing his effort spooning up off a defender only for it to be headed off the line and over the bar for a corner.
In the 17th minute Woodman crossed in to Cureton rushing in at the near post. The ball was cleared before Cureton could connect, but only to Keohane lurking on the edge of the box who hit a sweet first time drive straight down the grateful keeper's throat.Five minutes later City thought they had a well deserved equaliser when, after good spadework from Doherty and Davies, Oakley floated a cross in from the right for Cureton to collect over his shoulder. He did, of course, expertly, nodding it back across goal low into the corner with the keeper a mere spectator, but the linesman was having none of it adjudging Cureton to be marginally offside.
But City's relentlessness wasn't to go unrewarded as in the 28th minute the equaliser finally arrived. A Wycombe attack was broken up just outside the City box with Doherty receiving the ball facing his own goal just outside the 'D'. Knowing Oakley would be on his way, he whipped a laser guided no look pass over his shoulder to the touchline where Oakley collected without breaking stride. Oakley played the ball inside to the busy Cureton, who in turn played the ball out to the left to the rushing Davies. Davies cut back inside his defender on the edge of the box before finding enough space to fire low through a couple of defenders and under the keeper from 15 yards to make it all square at 1-1.
One goal was never enough though and City worked hard to try and ensure they went in at the break ahead, and came closest with three minutes of the half remaining. As a midfielder dawdled Doherty nipped in to pinch the ball. He played it forward to Cureton who surged forward as defenders backed off in not disimilar fashion to his opening goal at Oxford a fortnight ago, but this time the outcome wasn't the same as his fearsome shot from distance narrowly beat the angle of post and bar.
The second half began in much the same fashion as the first: City attack, Wycombe score, although this time it took seven minutes to find the net rather than the three in the first half. Typically it came from a City corner with Grant collecting a clearance and racing down the left touchline as City struggled to get back. Davies did forcing Grant to hold up the ball before cutting back in to the corner of the box. He then dinked the ball in to the penalty spot where Dean Morgan was on hand to guide a header over Krysiak and into the net to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
But the lead lasted barely 60 seconds. Giant full back Amankwaah steamed in with two monster challenges to win the ball on the edge of the Wycombe box. He managed to slide the ball into Keohane in the box who in turn fed Cureton a yard away. With his back to goal and under serious attention from a couple of defenders, Cureton managed to turn and smash the ball into the top corner of the goal from 15 yards in a single movement to make it 2-2 and game on in search of a winner.
The wait lasted until the midway point of the half and came from an unlikely source. Davies' corner looked to have been overhit, bypassing everyone in the box, however Keohane was all on his own at the back of the box and had both time and space to nod the ball back into the danger zone. It fell to Coles who, facing away from goal, could do nothing else except knock in the most outrageous back heel through a couple of defenders and into the net from six yards out to make it 3-2 to City.
Wycombe then had a chance on the half hour when Matt Parsons found himself on the corner of the City box with the ball at his feet. With Oakley in his face Parsons turned outside before hitting a ferocious shot to the near post that took a slight deflection. It drew a terrific reaction save from Krysiak who'd positioned himself perfectly to beat the ball away in a somewhat relieved fashion. City continued to press for further goals and Wycombe continued to try and catch City on the break, but for the remainder of the game it was the defences who were on top. Substitutions of Nichols for Cureton in the 35th minute, Tully for Keohane in the 39th and finally Cane for Doherty in stoppage time didn't disrupt City's flow and so it was after four additional minutes the referee finally brought proceedings to a close with a much deserved and thoroughly enjoyable win for City.
So good week on the pitch with four goals and four points from two games, but not so good off it with injuries to Gow, Bauza, Sercombe and O'Flynn forcing them to dip out on significant match time. However, it looks this season as though we have some strength in depth with not just experienced players waiting in the wings but a number of youngsters ready to play their parts too. Plus, like I said in the match report for the York game on Saturday, it also shows just how resilient a squad we have too - you do have to wonder whether last season we'd have had the ablility to come from behind twice to win as we did tonight.
And whilst it was a terrific team performance, there were also a number of individual performances too, with Oakley, Doherty and Keohane in particular having their best games of the season so far. And so, full of confidence, we take our 100% record to Southend at the weekend. If we can get anything at all there it sets us up perfectly to keep our excellent start to the season going when struggling Bristol Rovers are the visiton at the end of the month. Bring it on.