Act of God saves the Blues
Wycombe Wanderers were handed a reprieve after heavy rain in Buckinghamshire left the Adams Park pitch waterlogged and unplayable.
The match was abandoned with 67 minutes played by referee Andy Davies for health and safety reasons and it was something of Godsend for the hosts who were trailing 3-1 to Bristol Rovers after another defensive shambles.
Bristol Rovers, and especially striker Eliot Richards, will be gutted with the outcome which will see the game replayed at a later date. The Chairboys meanwhile will be counting their lucky stars after a defensive performance which lurched from inept to farce.
The number of unforced errors from every single outfield Wycombe player needed to be seen to be believed. Gary Waddock was forced to make two changes to his starting line-up with Lee Angol and Richard Logan replacing the injured duo of Sam Wood and Matt Bloomfield.
He did not need to make two further changes with Charles Dunne returning from a dead leg to replace Grant Basey at left-back and even more puzzling was the return of Dave Winfield at centre-back for Leon Johnson, who was dropped to the bench.
Both sides made a lively start to the game and it was the home side who should have taken the lead in the fourth minute when Logan completely mistimed his header from six yards only to be given a second chance which he could only head weakly at Rovers goalkeeper Sam Walker.
Winfield clattered into the back of ex-Chairboy Matt Harrold and then clumsily barged into the back of David Clarkson in the space of ten seconds to earn a booking inside the opening six minutes. It was to be a sign of things to come.
With nine minutes played the visitors were gifted the lead when midfielder Matt Gill was allowed to waltz down the left-wing and into the penalty area without even a semblance of a challenge before squaring for an unmarked Clarkson who fired high into the top corner past Bull.
Four minutes later and the Wanderers leveled. Stuart Beavon cut in from the left and back-heeled the ball into the path of Matt Spring who clipped over the perfect cross for a completely unmarked Logan to head past Walker from six yards. It was the perfect response from the hosts.
The next quarter of an hour saw the home side enjoy the better of the play and Beavon should have given them the lead when the ball found him on the edge of the six-yard box but instead of going for goal he inexplicably chose to cut back out and his shot was blocked.
Spring also went close with a free-kick routine straight off the training ground but at the other end the number of mistakes were increasing with every attack. Richards should have restored Rovers lead but fired just over the bar from eight yards.
It was only matter of time and the visitors did find the net in the 34th minute when Anthony Stewart went AWOL leaving a huge gap down the left and despite having two opportunities to clear it, the ball reached Richards who smashed past Bull from fully 30 yards.
Two minutes later and Richards found the net again. Lee Brown swung over a cross from the left and Dunne needlessly and stupidly headed the ball back into the middle of the penalty area for Richards to lash a shot into the top corner of the net with Bull not having a prayer.
Even the impressive Spring was finding the going tough as he lost possession in the middle of the park but raced back to block the resulting shot. It was a malaise that was affecting the whole team. Half-time came as something of a blessed relief for the hosts.
The second half started in the midst of a thunderstorm with the rain growing heavier by the minute. Most of the play was towards the visitors goal but they defended well and would have extended their lead further had a break away not ended with the ball holding up on the sodden turf to prevent Clarkson from tucking home.
An almighty clap of thunder heralded the end of the contest as the referee conferred with safety officer Richard Stanford and then brought the players off the pitch. After approximately ten minutes the game was officially abandoned to the dismay of the visiting Rovers fans.
It came as a relief to the home fans too as three points which appeared destined for Bristol are now up for grabs again later in the season. Yet that relief is unlikely to last long as Wycombe appear to be a side whose performances are getting worse with every game.
There appeared to be yet another disappointingly low crowd inside Adams Park and the feeling that we are all in for a very difficult season is starting to become all too real. It seems that we will now have to make sure that our primary objective is retaining our Football League status for next season.
Wanderers Man of the Match: Matt Spring
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