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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 18th April 2015
Football League Two
Wanderers were left hanging on to their automatic promotion hopes after a frustrating afternoon away to Wimbledon. The game ended goalless and although Wycombe remain third in table, Bury and Southend are breathing down their necks with a game in hand. To add to Wycombe's woes, Aaron Pierre picked up an one match ban for a red card, following a second-yellow of the game, while both Matt Bloomfield and Nico Yennaris were forced off with head injuries.
Gareth Ainsworth, returning to one of his former clubs, made one change to the side that had beaten Exeter City in dramatic circumstances during the week - Fred Onyedimna returning to a patched up Wycombe starting XI in place of the injured Aaron Holloway. Meanwhile, Max Kretzschmar returned in a five man bench for Wanderers, having last played a game in the December 2014 FA Cup meeting with The Dons.
Backed by sold-out away allocation of 845, Wycombe took time to settle in sunny but sometime awkwardly winding conditions at Kingsmeadow. Steve Craig saw a shot deflected wide on 3 minutes before the Wycombe following were left looking at a familiar scene after an aerial clash of heads between Peter Murphy and Matt Bloomfield on 6 minutes left the latter needing prolonged treatment before being replaced by Marcus Bean. That signalled a spell of pressure from the home side, with Sean Rigg causing problems down their left and his cross on 17 minutes seeing the bulk of Adebayo Akinfenwa head against the far post. It was then deju-vu for Wanderers on 40 minutes as Nico Yannaris went down needing treatment to what looked like a head injury - Kretzschmar initially stepped in to take his place at right-back but the pace of Rigg, prompted Bean to drop back and Kretzschmar move into his usual midfield role.
Wycombe's best spell of the game came at the start of the second-half but they struggled to get in any shots that seriously tested home 'keeper Shea. The Dons responded and had the ball in the net on 56 minutes when Craig Tanner headed home following a cross from the right but play was brought back for an earlier infringement by Akinfenwa on Pierre. Wycombe then broke with Sam Wood's deep ball in from the left falling to Craig 12 yards from goal but the chance was blasted high of the target.
Akinfenwa sent a diving header wide of the right hand post on 67 minutes before a triple substitution by the home side on 84 minutes gave them the energy for the closing stages. Matt Ingram dived to save Bean's goalbound improvised clearance a minuite later as Wycombe held on and claims for a penalty by the home side were waved away when Akinfenwa fell over in the box. There were 3 minutes left of the 90 when Dons substitute Tom Beere was sycthed down by Pierre in the right corner - referee Trevor Kettle producing a second yellow to add to the card shown in the 57th minute when Pierre tangled with Akinfenwa in the home box. Wycombe still went looking for a winner but had to settle for the point that will mean the midweek meeting between Bury and Southend at Gigg Lane takes on huge significance in the race for automatic promotion.
Full-time - Wimbledon 0 Wycombe 0
Post match reaction:
Commenting after the game, Gareth Ainsworth said, "I’m immensely proud of the effort they’ve put in to have the biggest points total that Wycombe Wanderers has ever had. I think everyone should be proud of that and let’s not hide the fact that we’ve got ourselves into the play-offs, we’ve got that points total and we’ve still got this little chance of promotion." The Wycombe boss also said: "There were a few players out there who wouldn't have been starting the game if we'd got a bigger squad. We’ve had players carrying injuries and players playing out of position. We wanted three points today towards our promotion push but we've not got them. We're still in third place and Bury have still got to catch us, Southend have still got to catch us and there's a big game on Tuesday night that's going to have a big say in our season, never mind theirs, so we're looking forward to listening to that and getting the boys recovered for a mammoth game on Saturday. It's been a great season. We want to get promoted and we'll do our best but it's been a great season."
Commenting on Aaron Pierre's red card, Ainsworth added: "Aaron’s a full blooded competitor and he’s going to get the yellows. I thought there were a few challenges in the game that were similar and weren’t punished, so there’s a consistency issue there. It’s another curve ball that we’ve been thrown this season. I’ll definitely think about cleaning my boots this week but there’s no way I’ll be playing centre half." He added:"In the second half I'd have liked to have made more tactical changes but I just couldn't. I put Marcus Bean at right-back, Sam Wood’s out of position already and Sam Saunders played about three different positions during the game. Losing Aaron at the end there meant Peter Murphy had to play centre-half and Hayesy had to drop into midfield. It seems to all be against us but we’re still in third position, we’ve still got this chance and if anyone thinks my any of my players didn't give absolutely everything today I'll happily have a face to face meeting with them because I'm so proud of all of those boys and the fans."
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