Date:Sunday April 25 2010
Wycombe Wanderers twice held the lead but were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw at the end of a thrilling encounter with promotion-chasing Swindon Town at Adams Park this afternoon.
These two teams may be at opposite ends of the table, but the Chairboys gave as good as they got against the high-flying Robins and will be desperately disappointed not to have chalked up their fourth consecutive win.
Fortunately, no-one else at the foot of the table won either, so Wycombe live to fight another day, although their only hope of avoiding the drop is to win both their remaining games and pray that other results go their way.
Not long ago, winning just one game seemed like a tall order for Wycombe, but such has been their improvement in recent weeks, that you would be hard pushed to find a Blues' fan who doesn't believe that Gary Waddock's side can do their bit by beating both Orient and Gillingham.
Written-off weeks ago and widely expected to have been relegated by now, the Blues have defied the odds thanks to a new-look starting line-up who have put every ounce of their energy into the last four games to maintain the possibility of survival.
Against Swindon today, the Chairboys continued to make a mockery of their lowly position with a performance that was menacing in attack, combative in midfield, and as organised at the back as it's been all season despite the patched-up nature of the defence.
Gone are the days when you didn't really expect Wycombe to score however many times they pushed forward. Instead, with Revell, Pittman, Betsy, Ainsworth and a revitalised Matt Bloomfield surging forward at every opportunity, the Blues have scored ten goals in their last four games and could easily have scored more than two today with a little bit of luck.
There weren't many clear-cut opportunities for either side in the first-half, but Wycombe looked more threatening and got what they deserved when Bloomfield gave them the lead just seconds before the break.
Taking a perfectly weighted through-ball from Gareth Ainsworth, Bloomfield made a bee-line for the Robins' goal, held off the challenge of a couple of defenders and shot early to get the better of keeper David Lucas.
It was almost two-nil straight after the break when a Kevin Betsy chip just cleared the crossbar, but moments later the Robins equalised when Billy Paynter powered home a header inside the Wycombe six-yard box.
Swindon had clearly noticed that Wycombe don't possess the tallest central-defenders in the world and they began to exploit it, with Paynter's goal coming from the first of a series of testing crosses sent in by the Robins throughout the course of the second-half.
Gareth Ainsworth had two chances to restore Wycombe's lead - a one-on-one with the keeper which he'll feel he should have scored, and a fierce shot which was in all the way until Lucas pulled off a fine save.
When Kevin Betsy was brought down inside the box after 74 minutes, Alex Revell stepped up to take the spot-kick only for Lucas to guess correctly and push the ball clear. Fortunately, Ainsworth was alert and chipped it back across the face of goal where Revell jumped highest to head home his fifth goal in three games.
Back came Swindon, and only five minutes later they were level again when full-back Alan Sheehan found far too much space inside the Wycombe box and finished well, slotting the ball into the corner of the net past keeper Tom Heaton.
Wycombe had their chances to win the game, with Revell taking too long to shoot and being robbed just as he was about to pull the trigger, a breakaway collapsing when McLeod was too slow to release the ball and was fouled, and finally, Betsy being so surprised by a sudden opportunity that he tamely shot into the keeper's hands from point-blank range.
Today's substitutions were Phillips for Pittman after 55 minutes and more surprisingly McLeod for Montrose after 69 minutes. Pittman had looked reasonably sharp in the first-half, but after Phillips' recent cameo performances his introduction was understandable, although he wasn't nearly as effective today.
The energetic Montrose had fought like a tiger in midfield and to see him replaced by a clearly off-the-pace Kevin McLeod was puzzling.
All in all, it was probably the most exciting game of football seen at Adams Park this season. It's a shame that Wycombe didn't hold on to all three points, but they're more than capable of putting that right next week and I can't wait to watch them try.
Kevin Betsy & Matt Bloomfield
Man Of The Match
Date:Sunday April 25 2010
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|Wycombe||1||-||1||Dag & Red|
|1. Leyton Orient||5||5||0||0||+10||15|
|7. Bristol Rovers||5||3||0||2||+1||9|
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