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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 20th August 2016
Football League Two
Wanderers had to settle for a point from a goalless draw at wind swept Blackpool. Wycombe's first visit to the seaside resort for 13 years saw Gareth Ainsworth's side have the better of the first-half and come closest on 26 minutes when Michael Harriman's shot to the top left corner of the home goal, strike the underside of the crossbar before being cleared.
Team news saw Gareth Ainsworth ring the changes following the midweek draw at Accrington Stanley. Nick Freeman was given his first start, while Danny Rowe, Marcus Bean and Garry Thompson returned to the starting XI. Dropped to the bench were Sam Wood, Matt Bloomfield, Dayle Southwell and Steven McGinn. Paul Hayes also returned as substitute after missing the start of the season through injury but Paris Cowan-Hall, Luke O'Nien, Myles Weston and 'keeper Scott Brown all remained absent.
Matt Bloomfield appeared as a second-half substitute to make his 400th appearance for Wanderers but it was not the inspiration for a Wycombe victory. The home side looked more likely to snatch a winner, with loanee 'keeper Jamal Blackman making a number of significant stops in the closing stages.
One talking point from the visit to Bloomfield Road was the attendance. Many Blackpool fans are boycotting home games in an ongoing protest against the Club's owners. After an average home attendance of just over 7,000 for the 2015/16 season, the declared gate against Wycombe was barely 3,000, including close to 500 in the away section.
The result at Blackpool left Wycombe 14th in the table after 4 games with 5 points - the early pacesetters in the division are Morecambe, who lead the table with 9 points followed by Crawley (8 points) and Luton Town (7 points). For those counting, this was Wanderers 100th 0-0 draw in the Football League since gaining promotion in 1993.
Full-time - Wycombe -
Speaking after the game, Wanderers Manager Gareth Ainsworth told the press: "Any point away from home is a great point. The travelling support was brilliant, it was just fantastic.”
Commenting on some Wycombe fans booing at the end of the game, Ainsworth added; "There is a little minority who probably don’t understand what we are trying to do and you can hear their voices loud sometimes. That disappoints me, but all in all we have great fans and it was a real hardworking performance.”
“I am really pleased [with the performance]. Harri has hit the bar and we are unfortunate not to score that one, but neither team deserved to win and I think if anyone lost they would have been aggrieved.”
“Nick Freeman had a full debut, Paul Hayes returned and Jamal Blackman was superb. There were positives and I will always find the positives. Haysey has shown some good touches there and he is a class above this league. That is the first time he has played with Dayle Southwell today so it puts things in perspective. It is tough and I know we will just grow and grow and things will be fine."
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