Wycombe more than match Leeds
Wycombe Wanderers played out of their skins at Elland Road this afternoon to draw 1-1 with league-leaders Leeds United in a game they probably deserved to win.
The Yorkshire side may have beaten Manchester United in the FA Cup last weekend, but after taking an early lead today, they were second best for most of the game and were twice saved by the woodwork before Jon-Paul Pittman scored a well deserved equaliser for the Chairboys.
Manager Gary Waddock opted for an ambitious 4-3-1-2 / 4-4-2 formation and the Chairboys lined up as follows:
Hunt Westwood Hinshelwood Woodman
Davies Mousinho Doherty
Subs: Young Oliver Green Bloomfield Phillips
Wycombe got off to the worst possible start when a speculative 25 yard shot from Jonathan Howson was enough to beat Scott Shearer's unconvincing dive, the ball bouncing over the keeper's outstretched arms and nestling in the corner of the net to gift Leeds the lead after only three minutes.
But in a gutsy performance the Chairboys fought back strongly and were unlucky not to level the score three minutes later when Jon-Paul Pittman's shot on the turn cannoned off the inside of the post with the Leeds keeper beaten.
The Blues continued to take the game to their illustrious hosts and five minutes later were again denied by the woodwork when Scott Davies' corner kick was deflected off a Leeds defender at the near post before travelling across the face of the goal, hitting the far post and finally being scrambled clear.
Moments later, a lack of composure saw Pittman fire his shot wide after being played through by John Mousinho, and shortly afterwards, Leeds' keeper Casper Ankergren stuck out a foot to deny Stuart Beavon who fired in a low shot from the right hand side of the box after Scott Davies had found him with a killer through ball.
Although Leeds were enjoying most of the possession they were doing very little with it, while by contrast Wycombe looked dangerous almost every time they pushed forward.
Only indecision let the Chairboys down midway through the first half when they found themselves three against two in an attack which faltered when Pittman held on to the ball too long.
Pittman was a real thorn in Leeds' side and with a little more composure in front of goal could have had a hat-trick today, his next chance coming on the half hour mark when he ran on to a slide-rule pass from Tommy Doherty but failed to get enough power in his shot to beat Ankergren.
Scott Davies then fired a half-volley over the bar and John Mousinho had a shot blocked before the half time whistle sounded.
Leeds were fortunate to be in front having only occasionally threatened the Wycombe goal with shots from Neil Kilkenny and Robert Snodgrass along with a Bradley Johnson header which was cleared off the line by Lewis Hunt.
At the start of the second half Leeds' transfer seeking striker Jermaine Beckford showed a brief glimpse of why he's so highly rated when he juggled the ball past two Wycombe players before trying a cheeky chip shot which never really troubled Shearer.
The Wycombe equaliser came in the 63rd minute when Scott Davies played a forty-yard cross-field pass which David Beckham would have been proud of. His exquisite delivery was instantly controlled by Jon-Paul Pittman who then tormented the Leeds' full back, feinting this way and that before rifling a low shot across the goal and into the right hand corner of the net.
Not content with a point, the Chairboys continued to look for a winner and pushed men forward at every opportunity, their best chance coming ten minutes from the end when the ball flew across the face of the Leeds' goal with no one managing to apply the finishing touch.
It was a performance which deserved more than a single point and one which will surely boost Wycombe's confidence ahead of their forthcoming relegation battle.
The whole defence played their part but Adam Hinshelwood was particularly impressive in the centre and looks very capable.
Everyone in midfield was superb, with Tommy Doherty and John Mousinho providing the muscle while Scott Davies and Stuart Beavon enhanced the attack.
As well as scoring the crucial equaliser, Jon-Paul Pittman caused Leeds all sorts of problems today. He might miss a few and make the wrong choice at times, but if he was the finished article he wouldn't be playing for Wycombe.
Man Of The Match