Wycombe Wanderers 0 Blackpool 0
Vital would like to thank Adam Clift for the following report.
A late penalty save from Jamal Blackman secured a point for the Chairboys in a 0-0 draw at home to Blackpool.
In a game of few chances, Blackman twice came to the rescue as Wanderers climbed a point closer to the play-offs.
Blues boss Gareth Ainsworth made several changes to the side that won at Grimsby, with Sam Saunders, Dom Gape and Aaron Pierre all returning to the squad after injury.
Pierre started in place of Will De Havilland and Saunders and Gape were on the bench. Luke O`Nien and Paris Cowan-Hall came in to the starting line-up for Garry Thompson and the injured Matt Bloomfield.
Both teams had chances in the opening exchanges. A Blackpool effort was blocked by Pierre, before a Sam Wood cross was tipped away. The Seasiders then managed to clear their lines after shots from Marcus Bean and Wood.
In truth, it was a pretty uneventful first half. Max Muller and Jacobson both made good challenges to deny Blackpool, while at the other end Adebayo Akinfenwa dragged wide, Muller and Akinfenwa nearly converted a Jacobson free-kick and a Cowan-Hall cross was cut out in the nick of time.
Brad Potts found space on the Pool right hand side and delivered a cross which was slightly mishit and caught Blackman out as the ball came back off the crossbar.
Muller was beaten out wide by Mark Cullen but Jacobson did brilliantly to deny Potts from the former Luton man`s cutback.
Just before the half-time interval, Wycombe had their best effort of the match. A throw in was taken to Muller, he fed O`Nien who turned superbly and fed Wood. He found Cowan-Hall who beat a man before unleashing a low shot which Dean Lyness did well to tip wide.
It was the only time in the whole half that Wycombe got the ball on the grass, and it only took three passes, and the deadlock was almost broken. It was that simple.
The half ended 0-0, and it was pretty uneventful to say the least.
The opening three minutes of the second period were where the action was at, with Blackman immediately making a superb save from Potts after Nathan Delfouneso`s pinpoint cross. A lot of the Wycombe players have since said it`s the best save they`ve seen live.
Immediately back up the other end, Pierre blazed over the bar. Cowan-Hall then failed to get enough on the ball to convert from a Michael Harriman delivery.
As in the first half, there weren`t many chances in the second. Akinfenwa twice heading over, first from a Jacobson free-kick and then from a cross by Muller.
Ainsworth brought Myles Weston on for Dayle Southwell in a bid to inject something different into the game, and moments later Harriman blocked a Delfouneso attempt at goal.
Blackpoool then made a couple of changes of their own, before O`Nien was inevitably booked for tripping and preventing a Blackpool counter attack. Alex Jakuibak then replaced Cowan-Hall.
Just seconds after the Watford loanee came on, the visitors had a penalty. Jamille Matt and Muller both went for the ball, Muller went to ground and took Matt down with him and referee Chris Sarginson pointed to the spot.
It looked a harsh penalty, but poor from Muller who`d otherwise had another good performance and positive game.
Potts stepped up but Blackman got down excellently to his right to tip the penalty away. This was his third penalty save of the season against Blackpool after saving one in normal time and one in the shoot-out in the Checkatrade trophy victory earlier this season.
Sam Saunders replaced Sam Wood in the dying minutes but the end of the game was uneventful, like the majority of the game itself.
It ended 0-0, and realistically this probably reflected the game, despite Blackman`s two crucial and wonderful saves.
It could be a vital point come the end of the season, especially as the gap to the play-offs narrowed by a point, with only ten games remaining.
Next up it`s a grudge match as Plymouth Argyle return to Adams Park on Tuesday night.
Blackman 9 – A brilliant save and the penalty stop. Yes, I have given him a 9.
Harriman 6 – Did what he had to.
Muller 6 – Played well again but stupid for the penalty to drop him from a 7.
Pierre 6 – Solid. Good to have him back.
Jacobson 6 – Better than recent captain performances.
Bean 6 – Playing relatively well now he`s had a run in the team.
Wood 5 – Pretty quiet afternoon.
O`Nien 7 – Worked tirelessly and MoM if not for Blackman saves.
Cowan-Hall 6 – Worked hard but little to feed off.
Akinfenwa 6 – Wasn`t really his afternoon.
Southwell 6 – Worked really hard but needs to be more central and feed off Bayo. He scored 54 goals in 2 seasons for a reason.
Weston 6 – No impact on the game.
Jakubiak N/a – Came on too late.
Saunders N/a – Came on too late.
Blackman saves the day
Wycombe Wanderers 0 Blackpool 0