Blues earn crucial point with last gasp leveller
Vital Wycombe would like to thank guest writer Dale Jenkins for the following report.
A stoppage time equaliser from substitute Joel Grant earned the Wanderers a well deserved point at Meadow Lane this afternoon.
Gary Waddock made four changes from the side that narrowly lost out to Sheffield Wednesday last weekend. Outbound were Dave Winfield (ill), James Tunnicliffe (groin), wonderkid Jordan Ibe and the suspended Gareth Ainsworth. Replacing them were Marvin McCoy, Leon Johnson, Scott Donnelly and Ben Strevens.
The Blues endured a disastrous start to the match as County took the lead inside the opening minute. Immediately from kick off, Lee Hughes had a shot deflected for a corner and the resulting kick saw Ben Burgess thump Alan Sheehan`s cross with his head in front of a statuesque away defence. Nikki Bull claimed the ball had gone out and come back into play but the linesman was unmoved and it looked like it may be a long afternoon for the Chairboys.
Wycombe attempted to find their way back into the game, with Donnelly providing a couple of teasing crosses which Johnson and Strevens could not quite connect cleanly with. It was Donnelly himself who came closest for the Blues in the opening period though, seeing his close range header somehow kept out by Stuart Nelson. County were quick to counter however, and another Burgess header caused mayhem but Hughes poked wide with the goal at his mercy.
The first half petered to a close with nothing much happening, although there was continuing concern over the inability of the Wanderers defence to cope with the aerial threat of Burgess. The second half started in the same vein with Wycombe enjoying more possession but struggling to hurt the hosts in the final third.
Alan Judge`s crisp thirty yard drive clipped the outside of the post on the hour mark and this was soon followed by Waddock making a couple of substitutions, first Joel Grant replacing Lewis and later 15-year old Ibe swapped for Strevens. The substitutions seemed to provide the catalyst for waking the away side up as they began to dominate possession and create chances.
First Ibe flashed a powerful effort across goal with no-one gambling to finish the chance, and then a corner was headed across goal falling agonizingly short of a Blue shirt. The pressure was mounting and Beavon was only denied by a super tip over the bar by Nelson. As the match moved towards stoppage time, the home supporters were aghast at the decision of the fourth official to conjure up five minutes of added time.
It did seem a harsh amount of time, but Wycombe only needed a couple of minutes to capitalise, Grant firing a shot on goal from outside the box which Nelson made a hash of and the visitors were level, sparking jubilant scenes in the Jimmy Sirrel stand. All the momentum was now with the away side, but a lengthy stoppage for an injury to Jude Stirling took all the impetus away and the match finished in a creditable draw for the Chairboys.
Perhaps Martin Allen will have to reassess his pre-match "park the bus" comments as the Wanderers were the more attacking outfit particularly in the second half, and the hosts cannot really claim they deserved the three points.
Martin Rowlands was the pick of the bunch making some excellent tackles and providing good distribution, which often resulted in us maintaining possession for long periods; this was crucial in frustrating the home crowd. Marvin McCoy showed why some fans have been questioning his lack of involvement and Beavon was as workmanlike as ever. Grant Basey put in another solid performance and the substitutes both staked good claims to be starting next time out.
Ratings: Bull 5, McCoy 6, Foster 6, Johnson 6, Basey 7, Donnelly 6, Lewis 5 (Grant 7), Rowlands 8*, Harris 6, Strevens 5 (Ibe 6), Beavon 7
Writer: Dale Jenkins