Wycombe Wanderers out for Revenge Against Southend United in Critical Relegation Clash
The stakes could not be higher in this weekend’s League One clash between Wycombe Wanderers and Southend United. Much to their fans’ horror, Rochdale’s 1-0 victory over Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night saw the Blues slip into the relegation zone.
In 21st position with 43 points, Wycombe sit just one place above them with 44. There are currently 12 teams involved in this chaotic relegation dogfight, which leaves both sides needing all the points they can get.
Wycombe Wanderers out for Revenge Against Southend United
Not only is this a must-win match for both sides, but there is the added zest of revenge.
In 2015, Southend United memorably emerged victorious in the League Two play-off final. Losing out on promotion was bad enough, but the circumstances of that defeat will have a left sour and unerasable image in the minds of the Wycombe Wanderers staff, fans and players.
After opening the scoring in extra-time, it was cruelly cancelled out by a Joe Pigott leveller in the 122nd minute. That dramatically sent the game to penalties, which the Shrimpers went on to win 7-6.
Though Wycombe eventually made their way up to League One, Gareth Ainsworth’s men will be determined to turn the tables. A win for one side would condemn the other to a place in the relegation zone, though both have ostensibly straight-forward run-ins looking forward.
Both the Shrimpers and the Chairboys will go on to face Rochdale and Walsall in the coming weeks. Whilst picking up points this weekend is invaluable, those two fixtures will arguably be more defining.
Impossible to Call
Both sides are in dreadful form but will be desperate to stay in the division with five games remaining. Ultimately, having lost their last five consecutive games does not bode well for Wycombe ahead of this crucial match.
That said, much of their squad experienced the devastation at Wembley and will be hoping to balance the scales. This is not inconceivable considering that Southend are without a win in 13 and rarely perform well at home.
That said, Blues fans will be optimistic of a rebirth under new boss Kevin Bond. Under the guidance of the 61-year-old and his former managerial sidekick Harry Redknapp, Southend might yet turn things around.
A 2-2 draw against Fleetwood Town at the weekend showed plenty of promise. To Wycombe’s concern, Southend have seemingly rediscovered their fighting spirit and ability to score goals.
A Cagey Affair
You would be hard-pressed to find a more tense encounter this Saturday afternoon. Wycombe fans will be thirsty for revenge, but Southend will do everything in their power to inflict more misery on the side from Buckinghamshire.
For both clubs, every game has the feel of a cup final and nobody will want to make a mistake. It will be tentative, cagey and potentially hostile, but the result could not be of greater importance.
Neither side will want a return to the depths of League Two and the incentive for victory could not be greater. A loss for either side, ultimately, would land them in a despairingly bleak situation.
This is theoretically no different to the play-off final four years ago: plenty at stake and plenty to play for. When the pressure is on, history tells us that Southend will deliver, though Wycombe’s vengefulness may carry them over the line.
With a new impetus and a more experienced squad, however, Southend United should find a way past Wycombe. Having said that, in a dogfight like this where the pressure is on and all is on the line, anything can happen.