Wycombe Wanderers 2 Lincoln City 2
The Chairboys collected their first point of the campaign after an evenly matched clash with last season’s Conference National Champions.
The better side in the first half, Wanderers came from behind to lead 2-1 at the break with set-piece goals from Luke O’Nien and Joe Jacobson.
The second half was a different matter, with the Imps equalising shortly after the restart, and the Blues failing to fashion a single attempt on target for the remainder of the game.
It was a physical battle, with Lincoln every bit as adept at the dark arts as their much maligned hosts.
With just six shots on target, and four of those finding the back of the net, It was a tight affair without a great deal of goalmouth action, but an entertaining first-half and a tense second-period provided a good game for a crowd of 5,538.
The first action of note saw O’Nien shoot wide of the post from 30 yards after only four minutes, but just moments later Wanderers’ keeper Scott Brown was keeping out a fierce angled drive from Lincoln’s Josh Ginnelly.
Wycombe’s talismanic target-man Adebayo Akinfenwa didn’t get much change out of the Imps today, but after nine minutes his header from a long clearance by Brown forced a save from visiting keeper Paul Farman.
Having missed much of pre-season, Akinfenwa may need a few games to get the spring back in his step, but he remains the focal point of Wycombe’s attacking play, with his fellow forwards Nathan Tyson and Dayle Southwell both struggling to make their mark on the game.
Southwell was the villain of the piece for Lincoln’s opening goal after 31 minutes, his sloppy pass in the danger area gifting Nathan Arnold the opportunity to create a tap-in for striker Matt Green.
1-0 down and not looking too sharp at the other end, Wanderers needed a positive response and that’s exactly what they got from Joe Jacobson who created one goal and scored another three minutes later.
Just six minutes after the Imps’ opener, Jacobson whipped a superb free-kick into the box and there was O’Nien who escaped his marker to power a header into the back of the net.
After 40 minutes the Chairboys were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the D, and with Saunders, Jombati and Jacobson all lined up behind the ball to keep the Imps guessing, JJ’s low curler wrong-footed Farman to nestle in the bottom left hand corner of the net.
It was a comeback that brought the home crowd to life and temporarily silenced the noisy horde from Lincoln who had travelled in numbers to celebrate their return to the football league after an absence of six years.
Unfortunately, the second half was an anti-climax for the home fans as Wanderers faded and the Imps controlled the game, albeit creating nothing other than the equalising goal.
The goal came just four minutes after the restart, the combative Wycombe midfield going missing for once, allowing Alex Woodyard to thread the ball through for Ginnelly to slip it past the advancing Brown.
There were no further efforts on goal from either side, Wycombe replaced Southwell with Cowan-Hall after 69 minutes, Bloomfield came on for an uncharacteristically quiet Saunders after 77 minutes and Hayes replaced Tyson after 89.
Wanderers were awarded a corner in the fourth minute of stoppage time, briefly raising the hopes of the home crowd, but the incoming ball failed to clear the first man, which just about summed up their potency in the second half.
When the full time whistle sounded it was honours even, which was the right result on the balance of play.
In defence, man-of-the-match Jacobson was the pick of the bunch, with a special mention for stand-in centre-back Jombati who performed well yet again.
O’Nien and Gape were tigers in midfield, but Wanderers’ lack of height in the middle of the park was noticeable.
Wycombe’s attack will improve when Kashket returns and Akinfenwa reaches full fitness, but if Ainsworth does make another signing in August, it should be to sharpen the cutting edge.
Line-up & ratings
Brown (7), Harriman (7), Jombati (7), El Abd (7), Jacobson (8), Gape (7), O`Nien (7), Saunders (6) (Bloomfield 77 (n/a)), Southwell (6) (Cowan-Hall 69 (n/a)), Akinfenwa (7), Tyson (6) (Hayes 89 (n/a))
Blues and Imps share the spoils
Wycombe Wanderers 2 Lincoln City 2