STILL LIFE IN OLD DOG YET FOR BAZ
Keeper needed at age of 46
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
STAR MAN MARCU
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