Date:Saturday November 1 2008
Wycombe Wanderers preserved their unbeaten record after a 0-0 draw away to Rotherham.
Following Liverpool's loss today, The Wanderers now boast the only unbeaten record in English professional league football.
The single point was not enough to keep the Blues at the top of the table. They are now level on points with Darlington, but drop to 2nd place due to an inferior goal difference.
Wycombe however, do have a game in hand over all of their rivals at the top, following the abandonment of Tuesday's match with Macclesfield due to snow.
Rotherham fans deserve our sympathy for having to play their home games at the soulless Don Valley Stadium. It is not an arena suited to hosting football and it is to the credit of the travelling Wycombe fans that something approaching an atmosphere was created during the latter stages of this game.
Wycombe manager Peter Taylor made no changes from the side which started Tuesday's game against Macclesfield, which meant there was still only a place on the bench for defender Leon Johnson.
The Blues lined up in a 4-3-3 formation as follows:
Hunt Williamson McCracken Woodman
Moussa Doherty Holt
Church Harrold Zebroski
Subs: Young Johnson Mousinho Phillips Vieira
The first half was a cautious affair with few chances created by either side. Wycombe put in their normal solid and workmanlike away performance and Rotherham didn't appear to have the necessary guile to break them down.
The Blues started the brighter. Chris Zebroski put a half-chance wide of the post after only 6 minutes and Matt Harrold had Wycombe's only first-half shot on target a minute later, with home keeper Andy Warrington saving comfortably.
Rotherham's best chance of the half fell to Omar Garcia in the 10th minute, but he could only fire his shot over the crossbar.
Apart from a few hopeful long range efforts, nothing else of any note happened until ten minutes from half-time, when Simon Church showed good control to cushion a Woodman cross with his chest, but his subsequent effort under pressure missed the target.
The second half started with Rotherham in more determined mood and they began to apply concerted pressure on Wycombe.
The Millers' best effort of the match came in the 48th minute when a close range header from Michael Cummins was brilliantly saved by Wycombe keeper Scott Shearer, who dived to his left to stop what appeared to be a certain goal.
Rotherham continued to have the best of the play without really threatening Shearer's goal, until Wycombe's first substitution of the day brought the game to life. After 58 minutes, Matty Phillips came on in place of Franck Moussa and the Blues changed to a 4-4-2 formation with Phillips on the left and Zebroski moving over to the right flank.
Up until that point, Matt Harrold had been rather isolated in the centre-forward position, but after the change of formation, Church began to play closer to the the big target-man and with Phillips and Zebroski providing the width in midfield, Wycombe began to play like league leaders.
The ball was in the net after 61 minutes when Harrold's clever knock-down was seized upon by Simon Church, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Wycombe were on the offensive now and dominating the possession, with a series of crosses from Phillips and Zebroski causing consternation in the Millers' defence.
After 70 minutes, Simon Church showed great skill to turn his marker on the half-way line and advance on goal, only for his shot to be blocked out for a corner.
Two minutes later Church had another effort saved by keeper Warrington as Wycombe kept up the pressure, urged on by the noisy travelling support who could sense that this game was now there to be won.
The winner should have come in the 80th minute. A dreadful Rotherham back-pass put Wycombe striker Matt Harrold through on goal with only the keeper to beat. Sadly, Harrold was anything but clinical in his finishing and Miller's keeper Warrington came out on top yet again.
Simon Church, who had looked most likely to score for Wycombe, was surprisingly replaced a minute later, with Magno Vieira coming on in his place.
There was to be no last minute winner for the Wanderers today.
Whilst both teams were solid but unspectacular for most of this match, Wycombe were able to move up a gear whereas Rotherham weren't. The Millers will no doubt continue to climb the table and make a mockery of their league position. Any pre-season fears their fans had about relegation following their points deduction, were clearly unnecessary.
Until the last half hour, most Wycombe supporters would have been happy to take a point from this game. However, given the pressure the Blues subsequently applied after the introduction of Phillips and the formation change, there will be a slight tinge of disappointment that Wycombe couldn't take full advantage and return home with another victory under their belts.
However, a point will do nicely, Wycombe should be proud of their start to this season. Unbeaten in 14 league games with 28 points to show for it, and let's not forget 8 of those games have been away from home. Today was the 8th clean sheet and the team has only conceded 6 league goals. If only we could start knocking a few more in at the other end.
Next weekend, attention will focus on the FA Cup tie at AFC Wimbledon, but after that, 3 of the next 4 league games are at Adams Park, which gives the team a good chance to consolidate their position in the top three promotion spots.
Man Of The Match
Date:Saturday November 1 2008
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