Beavon strike earns Wycombe a point
Wycombe Wanderers picked up their first away point of the season this afternoon, drawing 1-1 with Hartlepool United in baking sunshine at Victoria Park.
Manager Peter Taylor made three changes to the side that lost at Brighton and the Chairboys lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows:
Moncur Duberry Oliver Woodman
Zebroski Mousinho Pack Green (81)
Pittman (77) Beavon
Subs: Young Johnson Westlake Montrose Phillips (81) Betsy (77) Harrold
Couldn't get there myself today, so this report is brought to you by Vital's man on the spot - Dale
The game started fairly slowly with Hartlepool edging the early stages. Goalkeeper Scott Shearer was tested with a few early efforts from Brown and Behan but was equal to their tame shots. The Wycombe side looked fairly low on confidence and some of their play became frustrating - Beavon and Pittman needed the ball sharply into feet but instead were receiving long high balls.
However, everyone knows that both Pittman and Beavon hold a threat, and with Zebroski also winning his fair share aerially, there was hope up-front for the Chairboys. One header from Zebroski himself sailed narrowly over the bar with keeper Flinders frantically back-pedalling. This was followed by an excellent effort from the otherwise ineffective Stuart Green who shot agonisingly wide from just outside the area.
On the left wing Green looked ineffective and isolated again, barely receiving the ball other than his one opportunity. After such a strong performance supporting the strikers in an attacking midfield position against Bristol Rovers, it's a little surprising to have seen Taylor abandon this plan without really trying it again.
Hartlepool grew into the game and looked keen to secure a half-time lead after deciding to shoot towards their own supporters in the terrace during the first half. Behan sent in a Ronaldo-esque free kick that flashed narrowly wide of Shearer`s goal. Chances began to open up for the home side and Monkhouse and McSweeney both drove narrowly over the Scottish glovesman`s crossbar.
Meanwhile for Wycombe, the promising Marlon Pack shot well over, and Beavon set Pittman free, but when one-on-one with the keeper his touch let him down in what was the Chairboys' best opportunity of the half.
Hartlepool continued to employ long-ball tactics to their muscular forward players, but Michael Duberry had won everything in the air for the Chairboys. Little else happened before half-time and the score remained goalless. Wycombe, although having created a few good chances, barely strung a move together with more than 4 consecutive passes and the visiting support hoped for more urgency and impetus in the second half.
After 50 minutes Wycombe passed their way with purpose towards the Hartlepool goal, and unsurprisingly our most worthwhile attack resulted in Beavon giving the Chairboys the lead with a superb low drive from 25 yards that went in via the post. 111 travelling supporters saw light at the end of the tunnel, while the frustrated Monkeyhangers began to voice their disapproval at misplaced passes and slack play from their own side.
The goal boosted Wycombe and confidence began to flow, with Oliver going close twice from corners, Green firing over from a free kick and Pittman being hauled down when promisingly placed. Hartlepool looked a poor side until they finally mounted an attack on 76 minutes, which immediately resulted in an equaliser. A quick free kick (incorrectly awarded) found a Hartlepool player unmarked and unchallenged to knock the ball down for a similarly unmarked Adam Boyd to equalise for the home side. They barely deserved it.
This lifted the home supporters and Andy Monkhouse suddenly became a creative outlet. He constantly went past a stationary Moncur who it must be said looked Wycombe`s most shaky player today. TJ is not the most mobile and was exposed on at least four occasions, twice saved by an offside flag, and twice more by Oliver who cleared dangerous crosses after Monkhouse had got to the byline. A quick break saw Beavon race clear but keeper Scott Flinders was equal to his effort. Yet another mistake from our right back saw Boyd in acres of space but he wasted the opportunity, lifting the ball wide.
The sound of the final whistle after an unnecessary 5 added minutes, saw Wycombe pick up their first away point of the season although most were left feeling it should have been three. With slightly more clinical finishing and purpose in attack, a second goal could have sealed a win here at Victoria Park. However, at 0-1 Hartlepool still felt encouraged and ended up getting something out of the game.
The defence looked much more organised (with the exception of Moncur). Duberry put in a very solid performance and is answering his early critics. Pack had energy in abundance and Mousinho broke up play well. Pittman and Beavon will cause plenty of League One defences problems and manager Peter Taylor seemed to get the starting eleven correct. Only the lateness of Betsy and Phillips` introductions were a tad disappointing considering the ineffectiveness of Green in particular, leaving the aforementioned subs with little time to impact on the game and perhaps create more going forward.
Shearer 7 - Solid and equal to most Hartlepool efforts.
Moncur 4 - Slow, cumbersome and given the run-around particularly in the last 15 minutes.
Duberry 7 - Won everything in the air, commanding presence
Oliver 7 - Continues to impress, didn`t overcomplicate and cleared when necessary.
Woodman 6 - His consistent self, yet provided very little support up field.
Zebroski 7 - Won a number of headers and did a good job again.
Mousinho 6 - Possibly at fault for not even challenging for their goal, and gave the ball away poorly at times. Not too bad though and is clearly improving.
Pack 7 - Doing a 'Doherty` job very effectively - an impressive loan signing.
Green 5 - Ineffective. Both isolated and quiet before being subbed.
Pittman 7 - Caused defenders problems and will always be a threat.
Beavon 9 - Ran all day. Skilful, quick feet and excellent vision in addition to a super strike for his goal.
Betsy 6 - Provided a pacy outlet but was probably introduced too late for any real effect.
Phillips 6 - Likewise.
Man Of The Match
Stuart Beavon - First competitive goal for the Wanderers and a superb overall performance.
Writer - Dale