Date:Sunday February 14 2010
Wycombe Wanderers put last Saturday's horror show behind them to draw 1-1 at Brentford today in a game they'll be disappointed not to have won.
Playing a 4-4-2 formation with two big men up front, most of Wycombe's best moves came down the wings, with Kevin Betsy at his tricky best on the right flank and new boy Kevin McLeod impressing on the left.
McLeod may look like he could do with losing a few pounds and gaining a bit of fitness, but it certainly didn't seem to hinder him in the first half. As well as showing excellent close control and good use of the ball, he made several surprisingly quick bursts down the wing, most of which were followed by a decent delivery into the box. He faded in the latter part of the game but did enough to suggest he could be a useful addition to the squad, particularly if he gets fully fit
His fellow new boy, keeper Tom Heaton, looked a confident and commanding figure in the Wycombe goal and it was a pleasure to see him come out and claim a couple of crosses early in the game to put his defence at ease.
The back-four comfortably dealt with the occasional Brentford attack and looked on course for a rare clean sheet until they got a bit sloppy for the equalising goal. It was a big improvement on last week but the Bees were very poor and Millwall and Southampton are likely to pose a far sterner test in the next two games.
In central midfield, Dean Keates' passing improved as the game progressed and along with John Mousinho, he did a good job closing the Bees down quickly and breaking up the play.
Both Alex Revell and Matt Harrold worked hard up front. Harrold continued his good form of last week, holding the ball up well and chasing everything, while Revell showed some deft touches and makes intelligent runs into space. However, neither of them look like prolific goalscorers and that's worrying for a Wycombe side who had enough chances to win this game easily.
Apart from a brief flurry at the start of the match during which Brentford's Myles Weston fired a shot wide of the post and keeper Tom Heaton was forced to claim a few crosses, the first half belonged almost entirely to the Chairboys with the home side restricted to the occasional breakaway attack.
The Blues quickly took charge of the game and working the ball out to the wings, they began to deliver a series of crosses and corners which had the Bees scrambling to clear their lines.
Revell met one corner at the near post only for his glancing header to flash across the face of the goal with no one there to apply the finishing touch.
The opening goal Wycombe deserved finally arrived after 26 minutes when McLeod made space for himself on the left before sending a low cross to the back of the penalty area where Betsy side footed it across the keeper and into the net with aplomb
With the first goal now in the bank, the Chairboys continued to push forward in search of a second and it was Betsy again who forced the Brentford keeper into a diving save with a fierce drive from just outside the box.
John Mousinho then had a chance to make it two when the ball broke to him on the edge of the area, but the midfielder snatched at his shot and will be disappointed not to have hit the target.
Wycombe carried on in the same vein at the start of the second half but squandered further opportunities to increase their lead. Luke Oliver seemed more surprised than anyone to find himself totally in the clear, and it showed, with his attempt on goal resembling neither a shot nor a cross.
Shortly afterwards, Kevin Betsy was the beneficiary of some good closing down by Harrold, but the winger fired the ball into the side netting when he should have done better.
Slowly but surely, Wycombe began to sit back and play too deep. Fatigue may have been a factor, but instead of closing Brentford down as quickly as they had for the first 70 minutes, the Chairboys were now allowing the Bees to play in the final third of the pitch.
The 75th minute equaliser was a cruel blow. Myles Weston wasn't closed down quickly enough and took the opportunity to arrow a rasping low shot through a forest of Wycombe legs and into the corner of the net, giving Heaton no chance.
Wycombe's best chance of regaining the lead fell to Alex Revell when the Bees keeper clashed with his own defender and the ball bounced free, leaving him with an open goal. It was an awkward shot to hit and Revell didn't get enough power on it, allowing a defender to race back and clear the ball off the line.
When the final whistle sounded, Blues' fans were left to reflect on a good performance but a disappointing result. In Wycombe's precarious position, they need to be picking up maximum points when they outplay their opposition and this was a game they definitely deserved to win.
Brentford were surprisingly poor for a team in the top half of the table and Wycombe had the beating of them for the second time this season. It really makes you wonder how we got ourselves into the position we're in right now.
Heaton, Hunt, Oliver, Westwood, Woodman, Betsy, Mousinho, Keates, McLeod, Harrold (Pittman 81), Revell
Man Of The Match
Date:Sunday February 14 2010
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