Zebroski Wins It For Wycombe
Wycombe Wanderers gave their supporters something to cheer about tonight when Chris Zebroski's stoppage-time winner saw them beat Darlington 2-1 to climb back into 2nd place in League Two with only six games left to play.
There's not been much to cheer about in recent weeks and this evening's victory could be just what the doctor ordered for players and fans alike as we enter the final few weeks of the Chairboys' promotion campaign.
Manager Peter Taylor made two changes to the team that drew with Barnet last Tuesday, with skipper David McCracken replacing Luke Oliver and Lee Sawyer coming in for John Mousinho.
The Chairboys lined up in a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 formation as follows:
Hunt McCracken Sinclair Woodman
Zebroski Sawyer(68) Holt Bloomfield Pittman(68)
Subs: Jones Oliver Mousinho(68) Phillips(68) Harrold(68)
Darlington enjoyed the lions' share of possession at the start of the first half, but Wycombe soaked up everything the home side had to offer, restricting them to a series of hopeful long-range shots from Burgmeier, Kennedy and Carlton.
Slowly but surely the Chairboys began to enjoy more of the game with Gary Holt playing the anchor role in midfield while Lee Sawyer and Matt Bloomfield were given a free-role to push forward and support lone striker John Akinde.
Jon-Paul Pittman and Chris Zebroski in the wide positions were being asked to work hard. One minute they were on the attack and the next minute tracking back to help defend. It was a formation Wycombe had used to good effect in the first half of the season.
After 20 minutes, the visitors began to make their increased share of the possession count, threatening the Darlington goal three times in quick succession.
Firstly a John Akinde header went narrowly wide, before Chris Zebroski tried his luck from distance and finally, after good work from Jon-Paul Pittman, Lee Sawyer saw his goal-bound shot blocked.
The Quakers replied with another couple of speculative efforts from Liam Hatch and Pawel Abbott but it was Sawyer again who almost opened the scoring for Wycombe after 38 minutes when his 18 yard volley was pushed round the post by keeper Kazimierczak.
The resulting corner from Craig Woodman led to the Chairboys opening goal. It wasn't cleared by the Darlington defence and Frank Sinclair, David McCracken and Chris Zebroski were all involved in keeping the ball in the danger area before it fell for Akinde to fire home from 6 yards out.
Danny Carlton tried his luck from 20 yards after 44 minutes, but when the half time whistle went, it was the Chairboys who retired to their dressing room with a one goal advantage.
The home side started the second half as if they meant business and after only 3 minutes Wycombe keeper Jamie Young did well to tip over a 25 yard free-kick from Burgmeier.
The Quakers were on top at this stage and the equalising goal came on the hour-mark when Jason Kennedy slotted home from close range following good work from Abbott and Burgmeier who had carved the Wycombe defence open with ease.
We had a game on our hands now and things heated-up even further 7 minutes later when Wycombe made three substitutions in quick succession. Firstly, Matt Phillips and Matt Harrold came on for the tiring Pittman and Akinde, before John Mousinho replaced the impressive Lee Sawyer in strange circumstances.
Darlington are a physical side and something had obviously upset Sawyer who became embroiled in a skirmish with a few of the home players before being yellow-carded by the referee and quickly replaced by Wycombe manager Peter Taylor. It was a sad end to what had been the on-loan midfielder's best performance so far for the Chairboys.
Neither side seemed content with a draw and the remainder of the game saw chances missed at both ends.
Burgmeier and Abbott both had further efforts on goal for the home side, while Mousinho, Harrold and particularly Matt Bloomfield came close to scoring for Wycombe.
Mousinho's 72nd minute volley from 20 yards out was only narrowly wide, while Bloomfield's shot from close range a minute later had goal written all over it until Kazimierczak somehow kept it out with a superb reflex save.
As the game entered stoppage time, Bloomfield had another two chances to steal the glory after putting himself in great positions. But he just couldn't apply that crucial finishing touch and it looked as though Wycombe were about to record their third 1-1 draw in a row, having let the lead slip on all three occasions.
Then in the third minute of injury-time Wycombe won a corner. Craig Woodman took it and the tireless Chris Zebroski got on the end of it to head the ball into the net. It may have taken a deflection on the way but who cares, it was worth an extra 2 points tonight and could yet prove to be a major turning point in the Chairboys season.
Wycombe Man of The Match