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Wycombe Wanderers 2
Saturday 28th February 2015
Football League Two
Matt Ingram saved a stoppage time penalty to ensure Wanderers came out with a 2-2 draw against Stevenage at Adams Park. The draw came on a day of mixed emotions for Wycombe who gave debuts to new loan signings Nico Yennaris and Sam Saunders. Both new comers featured in midfield, Saunders playing a more attacking role on the right, replacing Matt McClure and an injured Marcus Bean. Elsewhere, Danny Rowe slotted into central defence to cover for the first of a two match suspension for Aaron Pierre.
It was Wanderers who took the early upper hand when Fred Onyedinma tucked in a shot from the right corner of the penalty area after visiting 'keeper Chris Day made the wrong decision to come and collect a Paul Hayes through-ball from midfield. But the visitors responded with a change of formation and levelled on 30 minutes when Chris Whelpdale's cross from the right was headed back across the face of goal and into the back of the Valley End net by Tom Pett. That goal gave Graham Westley's team the boost before the break and they went ahead in first-half stoppage time with a goal that Wanderers will want to forget. Stevenage were awarded a free-kick at a narrow angle near the left bye-line and Dean Parrett’s low delivery managed to elude everybody and cannon in off the far post.
With words obviously said at the break, Wycombe came out in determined fashion for the second-half but remained frustrated until Onyedinma rose at the far post to head home a Joe Jacobson corner from the right on 70 minutes. Five minutes later Wycombe became favourites to take all three points when Chris Beardsley was sent-off for picking up yellow cards in quick succession for fouls on Sido Jombati.
Six minutes of stoppage time indicated by the fourth official signalled an eventuful close to the match. First Matt Bloomfield fired wide, then Onyedinma will be disappointed he didn't complete his hat-trick when he glanced a Rowe cross wide of the left-hand upright. It then looked like heartbreak for Wanderers and elation for Stevenage when Ben Kennedy when down under a challenge from Alfie Mawson and referee Simpson pointed to the spot. Parrett took the responsibility of he penalty but Ingram dived full stretch to his right to keep the ball out in what was the 98th minute of the game and what his 98th consecutive appearance for Wanderers. Defeat would have been cruel for Wanderers but with leaders Burton and Shrewsbury both losing, Gareth Ainsworth will take his side to struggling Tranmere Rovers in the next game looking for a result to keep the pressure on the other teams chasing promotion.
Full-time - Wycombe 2 Stevenage 2
Post match reaction:
Commenting after the game, Gareth Ainsworth said, "thought they were very physical and they’re known for that. It’s not something that we’re surprised at, but I felt there were a lot of strong challenges – I don’t mind strong challenges but there was a lot of off the ball stuff and physicality but you deal with that sometimes. To be able to play some silky stuff amongst all that I felt was testament to Wycombe and exactly what I’ve encouraged this attacking, expansive football that we want to play with a few risks. Those risks didn’t pay off today but I’m sure they’ll be paying off in games to come." He added:"I thought we deserved a point and could have had more out of the game. I thought we bossed the second half but, after one lapse in concentration, we concede a penalty. But, in my opinion, we've got the best goalkeeper in League Two and he came up trumps today. It was a brilliant save by Matty. He's done his homework."
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