Date:Saturday October 24 2009
A stoppage time equaliser from Exeter City substitute Barry Corr was enough to cancel out Matt Harrold's first half penalty and deny Wycombe Wanderers their first clean sheet of the season and a much needed three points.
Chairboys' manager Gary Waddock made two changes to the side that snatched a late draw against Colchester last Saturday, with Tommy Doherty making his first appearance of the season in place of Marlon Pack and Matt Bloomfield starting at the expense of Ian Westlake.
New manager - same 4-5-1 formation as follows:
Hunt Duberry Johnson Woodman
Betsy Davies Doherty(79) Bloomfield(70) Phillips(70)
Subs: Young Westwood Oliver Mousinho(70) Westlake Montrose(79) Zebroski(70)
Although a precious win was so close you could almost taste it, only a series of heroic saves from keeper Scott Shearer had prevented the Grecians from equalising long before Barry Corr became the latest player to punish Wycombe from a set piece.
It's a little ironic that former manager Peter Taylor was strongly criticized by large sections of the Wycombe support for playing a 4-5-1 formation and not starting fans' favourites Jon-Paul Pittman and Stuart Beavon, yet it seems new boss Gary Waddock is doing exactly the same thing.
There are some notable differences though. For a start Taylor didn't have the benefit of a fit Tommy Doherty or the on-loan Scott Davies who both certainly add quality and composure to the Wycombe midfield compared to earlier in the season.
With the players obviously under instruction from Waddock to play the ball out from the back, having Doherty in the side, always making himself available for the simple pass from his defenders, certainly meant fewer heart-stopping moments today.
One noticeable tactical difference was the fact that Wycombe didn't come out for the second half with the sole aim of protecting their one goal lead. They came out with the intention of scoring a second even if that looked unlikely given their lack of a cutting edge up-front.
The first ten minutes of the game were quite frantic with Leon Johnson almost giving Wycombe an early lead when his header from a Scott Davies free kick narrowly missed the target.
A few minutes later Lewis Hunt was caught in possession and Scott Shearer was called upon to rescue the situation, diving at an Exeter forward's feet to cut out the ensuing low cross.
Paul Tisdale's City side have a reputation for playing passing football, but their strategy during the first half was to launch long balls over the Wycombe defence for their pacy forwards to chase.
After 10 minutes the tactic almost worked when Adam Stansfield outpaced the Wycombe defence and bore down on goal only to be brought down by keeper Shearer who was booked for his trouble. The resulting free kick flashed past the post.
The next action of any note from either side came after 35 minutes when Matt Phillips broke clear and forced a diving save from Grecians' keeper Andy Marriott.
This seemed to spur Wycombe on and in the ensuing flurry of pressure Matt Harrold fired in a weak shot after receiving a clever pass from Matt Bloomfield.
Moments later Kevin Betsy surged down the left wing only to be brought down inside the box for a penalty.
Despite reading it well, the Exeter keeper couldn't quite reach Harrold's spot kick and the Blues were one-nil up for only the third time this season.
It was almost two-nil just moments later when Bloomfield found Harrold again but after turning well, the big striker fired high and wide.
When the half-time whistle went, the Chairboys were good value for their one goal lead.
The second half was a different matter as Exeter, with a strong wind behind them, set about Wycombe right from the kick-off.
Two cracking saves from Scott Shearer were followed by a bullet header which only just missed the target and you began to believe that this might be the day Wycombe's luck finally turned.
Shearer's kicks were coming straight back at him in the high wind and from one such episode Exeter's Stuart Fleetwood took advantage to fire in a venomous shot which the big Scot turned over the crossbar.
Wycombe's only notable shot on goal during the second half was a chip from Scott Davies after 70 minutes which cleared the Exeter crossbar.
Chris Zebroski looked lively when he came on in place of Phillips and one good run in particular ended in disappointment when he took a touch too many rather than shooting.
Meanwhile, Shearer's best save of the match came from a Scott Golbourne piledriver which was in all the way until the big Scot soared across his goal to somehow keep it out.
Then a curling free kick from Scott Davies after 85 minutes flew right across the Exeter six yard box with no one able to apply the finishing touch for Wycombe.
Just when it looked like all three points were heading back to Bucks, another superb save from Shearer in stoppage time led to the corner from which Corr headed home the equalising goal and broke the Chairboys' hearts.
It was just about the right result.
Defensively we looked quite good today although you do worry about them getting caught in possession when trying to play it out from the back.
The Doc looked a little rusty but still better than anything else we've got in midfield, while Scott Davies didn't quite reach the heights of last Saturday.
Up-front we still looked toothless.
Man Of The Match
Date:Saturday October 24 2009
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