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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Northampton Town 1
Saturday 4th October 2014
Football League Two
Substitute Aaron Holloway salvaged a point for the Wanderers against 5th placed Northampton Town after heading home more than five minutes into stoppage time. The goal sparked unsavoury scenes in front of the Valley End as both sets of players clashed to conclude a scrappy game that saw referee Pat Miller book eight players and send off Cobblers' Gregor Robertson in the 86th minute for a second bookable offence.
An unchanged Wanderers starting XI created the better chances in the opening 30 minutes - Peter Murphy seeing a downward header saved from 12 yards following a ball in from the right from Paris Cowan-Hall. However, the danger signs were there for Wycombe when Lawson D’Ath headed over from six yards after United broke down their right wing. It was then the visitors who took the lead on 31 minutes when a Joel Byrom free-kick from the left was swung in to far corner of the six yard box for defender Ryan Cresswell to convert with a bullet header past Matt Ingram.
Wanderers pressed for an equaliser in the second-half with Ainsworth replacing an out of sorts Matt McClure with Holloway on 67 minutes. Cowan-Hall scooped a ball over from Sam Wood's left wing cross two minutes. But Wycombe had Ingram to thank for keeping them in the game when he managed to stick out a leg to prevent substitute and top scorer Marc Richards from making it 2-0 as the game entered the final 20 minutes of regular time.
Wycombe thought they had equalised on 80 minutes when another finely delivered corner from Joe Jacobson was headed goalwards by Peter Murphy for former Wycombe loanee Jordan Archer to block. Paul Hayes followed up the rebound to head home but sadly for Wycombe the Assistant referee spotted Hayes was lurking in an offside position.
The game began to turn to farce when Robertson received his marching orders for time-wasting - the Northampton player claiming he was simply waiting to be substituted. To add to the tension, and with the game already in stoppage time, Cobblers' Ricky Ravenhill received a nasty head wound following a clash with Murphy and he had to be restrained from retaliation by the medical staff. Wood saw a curling shot tipped around the right hand post as it looked like Wycombe would never score. However from the resulting corner, deep into stoppage time, in stoppage time, it was Holloway who connected at the far post to grap the equaliser and his first goal for the Wanderers. Amid the celebrations the referee managed to book three Wycombe players before blowing the final whistle seconds after The Cobblers had re-started the game.
Full-time - Wycombe 1 Northampton 1
Post match reaction:
Commenting after the game, Gareth Ainsworth said, "It was a great advert for League Two. It wasn't the prettiest game and there were some good moves in patches by both teams, but I thought the first half was very even. Second half I thought we were the better side. We took the game to Northampton and put them under immense pressure. I thought the boys handled everything well. These games are the ones where there's not much in between them. We could have had no points today but I think that shows the spirit of where we are. We've got the guts and the grit to grind out a performance. I think every Wycombe fan has gone home happy tonight and quite justified in getting a point from one of the big hitters in the league." The Wycombe boss added "There's five games you'll win, five games you'll get battered and there's 36 games that could go either way, and we had one of those today. The lads have really dug deep. They have shown they are not an easy pushover. Northampton are one of the strong sides. They have got some big hitters in the team and a big squad."
Meanwhile, Northampton boss, Chris Wilder accused Wycombe of pressurising the referee, saying "It's a difficult game for the referee. I thought he was put under some immense pressure from the sideline. That's for other clubs, other people to see the way they go about it. He's human, he sees a match as it is. It seemed to me from the start they were going to hammer the referee and the linesman. Maybe they thought they were a little bit unjust in a couple of decisions."
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