Wycombe battle to a draw
A spirited second half performance by Wycombe Wanderers saw them snatch a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with Swindon Town at the County Ground this afternoon.
Chairboys' manager Peter Taylor made four changes to the starting-eleven that performed so poorly in the first half last Saturday and the visitors began the game in a 4-4-2 formation as follows:
Hunt (65) Duberry Oliver Woodman
Betsy Pack Montrose Green (81)
Zebroski Pittman (76)
Subs: Young Westwood Westlake (81) Mousinho Phillips (65) Beavon Chambers (76)
It was so nearly a dream start for Wycombe.
Looking like they really meant business, the Chairboys put Swindon on the back foot straight from the kick off, winning a succession of throw-ins as they forced play towards the home penalty area.
The final throw was played back to Craig Woodman whose cross into the crowded box found its way through to Kevin Betsy.
Controlling the ball instantly, Betsy looked up and played a delightful pass to the unmarked Jon-Paul Pittman who seemed almost taken by surprise as he screwed an unconvincing shot wide of the post from close range.
That was about as good as it got for the Chairboys in the first half.
Swindon began to take control of the game and after a few corners and crosses had tested the Wycombe defence, they finally made the breakthrough after 16 minutes with a goal the visitors will feel they could have prevented.
Several times Wycombe should have cleared the danger as a long ball out of defence from the Robins was crossed into the box and then played back out again, before unmarked full back Kevin Amankwaah fired it home with ease.
Jon-Paul McGovern almost made it two after 27 minutes when his fierce shot from distance hit the post before flashing across the face of the Wycombe goal.
Although Swindon undoubtedly had the better of the opening 45 minutes, Wycombe looked a lot more balanced than they did last week with Kevin Betsy in particular catching the eye.
The Chairboys were clearly determined to salvage something from this game and in the second half they did enough to deserve their point.
Wycombe's formation at the start of the game had already changed, with Pittman drifting further out towards the left flank and Stuart Green aimlessly wandering wherever he liked, but it was the introduction of Matt Phillips after 65 minutes which really ignited the Chairboys' comeback.
The youngster's introduction in place of Lewis Hunt, saw Lewis Montrose move to right-back and Kevin Betsy move into a more central role with Phillips replacing him on the right-wing.
Swindon had been restricted to long-range efforts after half time with Wycombe enjoying more of the possession without really looking dangerous, but Phillips soon changed that, giving the Swindon defence a torrid time and firing a succession of crosses into the box.
The home side were still a danger and put a couple of headers off-target, but with Betsy and Phillips beginning to link up well, the Chairboys were finally creating chances and Pittman and Zebroski both tried their luck at goal.
In a final throw of the dice, Peter Taylor replaced Pittman with Ashley Chambers and shortly afterwards Stuart Greeen came off to be replaced by Ian Westlake.
Soon after entering the fray, Chambers had a shot deflected wide but his big moment was to come in the 87th minute.
Phillips flew down the right-wing yet again and was clearly impeded by the hapless Swindon full-back, only for referee Andy Hall to do his only favour of the day for Wycombe by quite rightly playing advantage.
The youngster sensibly played to the whistle and continued his run before cutting the ball back for Chambers to fire home a deserved equaliser for the Chairboys.
The drama wasn't over though.
With the travelling supporters urging their team on in the hope of a winner, it could so easily have all gone wrong at the other end.
Not for the first time today a Swindon cross easily found it's target and from point blank range, Billy Paynter fired a bullet header goalwards only for Wycombe keeper Scott Shearer to make a superb reaction save and turn the ball over the crossbar.
When the final whistle went it felt like a win.
It wasn't great, but it was a much improved performance from the Chairboys. The team selection was more adventurous, it was a delight to watch Kevin Betsy again and with Tommy Doherty back soon to steady the ship in central midfield, there's plenty of room for optimism.
There were still some problems though. The defence remains unconvincing, and some of the misplaced passing throughout the team was embarrassing, particularly when our central defenders attempt to play the ball with their feet.
Finally, if a player is to be given licence to roam wherever he likes on the pitch without actually tackling anyone, why not give the job to Stuart Beavon instead of Stuart Green.
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