Keeper needed at age of 46

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Bam­sey

BARRY Richard­son proved age is no bar­rier as he came off the bench to help Wy­combe stun ti­tle-chas­ing Ply­mouth.

The vet­eran keeper, 46, was forced into ac­tion af­ter Alex Lynch was stretchered off on 13 min­utes with a thigh in­jury.

Richard­son last played a com­pet­i­tive match in Novem­ber 2013 when he fea­tured for Don­caster against Cam­bridge in a Foot­ball League Tro­phy clash.

But af­ter Matt In­gram sealed a £500,000 move to QPR last week, Chair­boys boss Gareth Ainsworth was forced to name him on the bench.

Dou­bling up as Wy­combe’s first­team coach, Richard­son pulled off a num­ber of saves to be­come the first away league keeper to keep a clean sheet at Home Park this term.

And his per­for­mance drew rich praise from Ainsworth af­ter Wy­combe slammed the brakes on a three-game los­ing streak.

He said:“The game is all about op­por­tu­nity and what an op­por­tu­nity he had.

“He is a fan­tas­tic guy and a fan­tas­tic keeper. He has just be­come the old­est player ever to play for Wy­combe and the first player to keep a clean sheet here.

“So that is a cou­ple of ac­co­lades he will be tak­ing home with him. He is smil­ing from ear to ear and what a fan- tas­tic story. He did ev­ery­thing we asked of him but I won’t be look­ing to start him next week.

“This was a gritty win and it gets us back on track.”

Wy­combe got off to a dream start af­ter three min­utes when Joe Jacobson’s cor­ner caused an almighty scram­ble in the six-yard box.

Af­ter Aaron Pierre’s ef­fort was blocked, Gozie Ugwu was first to re­act and bun­dled the ball home from close range for his first goal in over four months.

Ply­mouth poured for­ward in search of an im­me­di­ate equaliser but Lynch got down well to smother Os­car Threlkeld’s tame ef­fort. Reid wasted a glo­ri­ous chance to fire a 12th-minute equaliser af­ter Lynch, who had al­ready re­ceived lengthy treat­ment for an in­jury, mis- cued his goal kick straight into the path of Gregg Wylde.

The winger crossed for Reid but the striker fluffed his lines as he sliced an ef­fort wide with the goal at his mercy.

The match, which had al­ready kicked off late be­cause a sprin­kler had risen above the pitch sur­face, was fur­ther de­layed as Lynch was stretchered off. Richard­son was sum­moned from the bench and came to the res­cue in first-half stop­page time when he blocked Reid’s close-range shot.

But Ply­mouth were scream­ing for a penalty, claim­ing Reid had been pulled back by Ja­son McCarthy be­fore stab­bing goal­wards.

Af­ter the break Richard­son dived to his right to col­lect Carl McHugh’s skid­ding drive from the edge of the box.

And when he was beaten, Chair­boys de­fender Michael Har­ri­man came to the res­cue with a goalline clear­ance from Cur­tis Nelson.

The last chance saw Luke McCormick catch Luke O’Nien’s header as Wy­combe ran out com­fort­able win­ners, but at the fi­nal whis­tle Pil­grims boss Derek Adams and Ainsworth were in­volved in a ver­bal spat be­fore both sets of play­ers squared up.

Adams said:“Ainsworth re­fused to shake my hand for some rea­son which was dis­ap­point­ing.

“I walked up the tun­nel and left af­ter that. I didn’t see what hap­pened but I heard about it.

“They wasted time and frus­trated us. That is the na­ture of the way they play. It is not good for the game and some­thing English foot­ball doesn’t want to see.We con­ceded a bad goal and af­ter that we had a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties to score a goal and we didn’t take them.

“We had a stonewall penalty in the first half and it wasn’t given.We didn’t trou­ble their keeper enough and that is dis­ap­point­ing.”

SU­PER SUB: Vet­eran goal­keep­ing coach Barry Richard­son and man­ager Gareth Ainsworth em­brace


S BEAN Wy­com


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