A Point Apiece For Wycombe & Shrewsbury
Wycombe Wanderers continued to torture their fans at Adams Park this afternoon, conceding a second half equaliser before eventually banking a barely deserved point against poor travellers Shrewsbury Town .
It wasn't quite as bad as last week's performance, but then again Shrewsbury weren't as good as Rochdale.
Results elsewhere were generally kind to the Chairboys but Bury's victory has pushed the Adams Park side down to 5th in the table, having started the day in 4th position.
Manager Peter Taylor made five changes to the team that lost to Rochdale last Saturday. Young replaced Stech in goal, Casement and Sinclair replaced Hunt and Johnson in defence and Bloomfield and Mousinho came in for Spence and Phillips in midfield.
The Chairboys lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows:
Casement(79) Antwi Sinclair Woodman
Bloomfield Mousinho Holt Sawyer(59)
Subs: Jones Oliver(79) Phillips Zebroski(59) Pittman(67)
Shrewsbury immediately took the game to Wycombe and created several good goal-scoring opportunities in the first 25 minutes alone.
A Grant Holt header was acrobatically saved by Wycombe keeper Jamie Young after 7 minutes and only a minute later the Shrews did have the ball in the net but Graham Coughlan had used his hand to put it there and the goal was disallowed.
Holt had another opportunity after 13 minutes when he outwitted a static Wycombe defence to get on the end of a long ball from midfield. Only keeper Young stood between Holt and the goal but it was a difficult chance and his first time effort sailed over the crossbar.
After 20 minutes a Kelvin Langmead shot narrowly missed the target after Wycombe had failed to clear the danger following a free kick.
Another great piece of play should have resulted in the opening goal for Shrewsbury after 24 minutes. Holt took possession on the right flank and sent an exquisite cross into box, only for Ben Davies to fire his shot over the crossbar.
Wycombe's first attempt on goal came from a Chris Casement free kick which narrowly missed the top right hand corner of the net after 25 minutes.
Two minutes later the Chairboys took the lead against the run of play thanks to midfielder Gary Holt's first goal of the season. Matt Harrold did well to find Holt in space 20 yards out and with Shrewsbury failing to close him down, the veteran had all the time in the world to control the ball before crafting a lovely shot into the top corner of the net.
The goal seemed to calm the home side's nerves for a while and they started to pass with more confidence and retain some degree of possession for a change.
The Shrews were still dangerous though and a 25 yard rocket-shot from Chris Humphrey flashed just wide of Jamie Young's post.
Matt Bloomfield had a go from 25 yards after 41 minutes but his shot was well over the bar.
With a minute to go until half time, Matt Harrold went on a run from well inside his own half and would have been left with only the keeper to beat if he hadn't been unfairly penalised for fouling Coughlan. It didn't look like a free kick at the time and having seen it again on TV, Coughlin went to ground for no good reason and the Shrews were fortunate to get the decision. A second Wycombe goal at that time might well have removed the Chairboys' jitters altogether and changed the outcome of the game.
The second half saw fewer chances for both sides.
Davies and Holt combined well for the Shrews again after 50 minutes but Jamie Young again saved the day for Wycombe with a fine point-blank save from the unmarked striker.
The home side's only notable effort of the second half was an Akinde shot from 20 yards after 52 minutes which flashed wide of Luke Daniels near post.
After an hour, Chris Zebroski replaced Lee Sawyer who had looked isolated out wide and had contributed little to Wycombe's cause.
Akinde was replaced by Jon-Paul Pittman after 66 minutes. The big striker had shown glimpses of class, but hadn't really been given enough service to make an impression on the game.
Grant Holt got on the end of a Humphrey cross after 67 minutes but flashed his header wide of the post under pressure from the Wycombe defence.
The visitors had been using their wide players to good effect all afternoon and it was a cross from the left wing after 75 minutes which finally proved to be Wycombe's undoing. Steven Leslie was the provider and Ben Davies rose unchallenged at the near post to head home firmly.
At this point, Peter Taylor replaced Chris Casement with Luke Oliver. This told the watching Wycombe fans that they would probably have to be content with a point, if they could hang on.
The Shrews could have had a winner when a difficult long ball caused confusion in the Wycombe defence and gave Nick Chadwick a free header with Jamie Young off his line. Fortunately for Wycombe, Chadwick could only head the ball weakly into the arms of the grateful keeper.
When the full time whistle went, you wondered how Shrewsbury had only managed to win one game on their travels this season and also how Wycombe had ever managed to win at all.
As has been the case recently, the home side enjoyed precious little possession compared to their opponents. While Shrewsbury comfortably passed the ball along the deck between defence, midfield and attack, it seemed that the Chairboys couldn't get rid of rid of it quickly enough. Tommy Doherty's calming influence in midfield is being sadly missed.
There were some good things to come out of today's performance. Frank Sinclair's experience makes him an excellent reader of the game and he was very impressive on his debut. It was also good to see Matt Bloomfield improve as the game went on, showing flashes of his old form and making some excellent forward runs from midfield. He merits a place in the team and no-one will fight harder than Matt to get Wycombe promoted.
Great goal, he should try it again sometime.
Wycombe Man Of The Match
More crucial saves.