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As expected Lawrie Sanchez fielded a virtually unchanged side to the one that had beaten Northampton 5-0 the previous week. Hat-trick hero Stuart Roberts came in for the injured Jonny Dixon with Paul McCarthy and Darren Currie remaining on the bench. A steady thaw during the week meant that the game went ahead and if anything the pitch was little soft underfoot.
Before this game, Mansfield's 25 League games so far this season had produced 99 goals, including six in the 3-3 draw at Adams Park in August where Paul McCarthy's last minute header salvaged a point for The Wanderers. But their were no goal fireworks this time around with both goalkeepers pulling off saves when needed on a bitterly cold afternoon.
Roberts' first chance came on 5 minutes from a Steve Brown through ball but Mansfield 'keeper Kevin Pilkington narrowed the angle and blocked Roberts resulting shot from the edge of the penalty area. A minute later at the other end Lawrence attempted without success to chip Talia after beating Keith Ryan with ease down the Mansfield right.
Roberts found himself in space again down the right channel on 16 minutes but Pilkington was equal to the shot. Talia saved from the impressive Wayne Corden on 22 minutes as the goalkeepers continued to steal the show.
Mark Rogers' near post header on 25 minutes from Michael Simpson's corner from the left ended a brief spell of Wycombe pressure before The Stags began to take the game to Wycombe. Meanwhile, Wanderers, with their central defensive trio, seemed happy to sit back and absorb the attacks but they had poor finishing, the woodwork and Talia to thank for keeping the goal from being breached.
A host of chances for the home side began again on 30 minute when a cross from the left from Corden saw Lawrence fire over from six yards. Three minutes later Lawrence saw his shot come back off Talia's right hand upright, while a minute before the break the same player embarassed Johnson and Thomson before being denied by an excellent stop by Talia who got down to his right to save.
Wanderers never really got out of their starting blocks in the second-half. Just two minutes after the re-start Talia had to save from Craig Disley after he had broken down the left channel. Simpson squandered Wanderers best chance of the half on 52 minutes when he got bogged down with the ball from Brown's through pass before the home side went on to dominate again.
On 69 minutes Disley headed wide at the far post following a free-kick from the right and six minutes later substitute Lee Williamson saw his shot from the left edge of the penalty area saved at the near post by Talia.
By this time Lewis Cook had been introduced for Roberts but Wanderers remained with a back five and just continued to play deeper and deeper and merely relied on breakaways for chances. Those chances never materialised against a well organised home defence and twice before full-time Iyseden Christie had chances to win it. Wycombe set their stool out for a clean sheet with anything else coming as a bonus. Wanderers had Frank Talia to thank for the first priority and on this occasion there was certainly no bonus.
Full-time Mansfield 0 Wycombe 0
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