Wycombe Wanderers 2 Exeter City 2
The Chairboys’ miserable season got even worse this afternoon when they threw away a two goal lead over relegation rivals Exeter City to leave themselves with very little chance of avoiding a quick return to the basement division.
With twenty-seven points to play for it’s still mathematically possible to survive and manager Gary Waddock will no doubt remain optimistic of a miracle, but anyone who’s followed this team all season will suspect by now that they lack the killer instinct necessary to stay up.
For only the third time this campaign the Blues had the luxury of being two goals ahead, but they crumbled under the pressure of the situation and for the second week in a row conceded a morale-crushing last-minute equaliser to drain their fans of any remaining trickle of hope.
In a goalless first half, Exeter looked the more composed side on the ball and played some attractive passing football without actually posing a threat in the final third.
It was the Blues who came closest to opening the scoring when Stuart Beavon danced between two defenders and volleyed a shot narrowly wide of target after 38 minutes, before Matt Harrold had a great chance just two minutes later when he used his strength to break through the Grecians’ defence but failed to find a clean enough shot to beat keeper Paul Jones.
Wycombe looked much better at the start of the second half, and a long range effort from Dean Keates whistled past the Exeter post as they began to take the game to the Grecians.
Gareth Ainsworth and Stuart Beavon kept swapping positions after the break, and it was Ainsworth who scored the opening goal after 55 minutes when he broke clear and despite appearing to have overrun the ball, stuck out a leg and poked it under Jones to the delight of an ecstatic home crowd.
It was the breakthrough the supporters had been praying for and five minutes later it got even better when Beavon made it two, breaking clear himself and slotting the ball past Jones as the Exeter players appealed for offside.
The Chairboys reacted to being two goals ahead by sitting too deep and allowing Exeter to pile on the pressure, a mistake which they paid for five minutes later when Liam Sercombe received the ball in acres of space and had all the time in the world to set himself up for a 30 yard pile driver which found the net via the underside of the crossbar and gave Tom Heaton no chance.
Wycombe had an excellent opportunity to make it 3-1 when Craig Woodman went on a mazy run before cutting the ball back to an unmarked John Mousinho who inexplicably failed to shoot and allowed the Exeter defence to recover.
An equaliser looked more likely though, and Richard Logan probably should have done better than direct the ball straight at Heaton when he found himself with a free header right in front of the Wycombe goal.
Logan had the last laugh however, breaking free of a static Wycombe defence in the final minute of normal time and calmly slotting the ball past Heaton for the inevitable Exeter equaliser.
A flurry of corners in stoppage time gave the home fans a glimmer of hope that something good might happen for once, but when John Mousinho’s well-struck shot was turned round the post by Jones you knew it wasn’t going to be Wycombe’s day – again.
Team & Ratings
Heaton (6), Kelly (6), Hinshelwood (5), Westwood (4), Woodman (5), Ainsworth (7), Mousinho (4), Keates (5), Betsy (5), Harrold (7), Beavon (7).
Subs: Revell (4) for Harrold (76 mins), Pittman (4) for Beavon (83 mins)