Wycombe Wanderers 0 Yeovil Town 0
Wanderers attracted their smallest crowd of the season, drew yet another blank and almost certainly kissed goodbye to a place in the playoffs.
With only one win in their last eight games, and none in the last five, Gareth Ainsworth’s side now sit four points behind AFC Wimbledon, who also boast a game in hand.
A pale imitation of last-season’s side, Wanderers’ results and performances have deteriorated as the current campaign has progressed, and for many Wycombe fans the summer break can’t come soon enough.
A chorus of boos rang out at the final whistle, probably in frustration at a promising season gone to pot rather than the second-half performance which was actually an improvement on recent fare.
The trickle of boos that met the first-half performance were more understandable, albeit unhelpful.
Had this been a boxing match, Yeovil would have won the first half on points, and Wycombe the second. Neither side were capable of inflicting a knock-out.
Wanderers had Ryan Allsop to thank for three fine saves in the opening 45 minutes, the first from Conor Roberts after only 9 minutes, the second from Leroy Lita 10 minutes later, and the last from a Zoko overhead kick shortly before half-time.
Wycombe’s only efforts of note were when Jerell Sellars made room for himself and fired a fierce shot over the crossbar, and when Michael Harriman’s cross cum shot forced Yeovil keeper Artur Krysiak to make a smart save at his near post.
As has happened so many times this season, Wanderers improved after the break, almost taking the lead just a minute after the restart when a fine run and cross from Sellars led to a volley from Marcus Bean that drew a truly spectacular save from Krysiak.
From the resulting corner, a scramble ensued and a loose ball was deflected to safety in a rare flurry of excitement.
Allsop was Wycombe’s hero once again when he made a stunning save to tip over a Ryan Dickson shot that looked destined for the top corner of the net.
At the other end Harriman put a free-kick narrowly wide, and moments later Gozie Ugwu replaced Garry Thompson who had barely touched the ball in 63 minutes.
The Wycombe fans behind the goal had already started to create their own entertainment with a series of chants based on the likelihood of their team actually scoring, and when Ugwu entered the fray they were able to up the irony even further by suggesting that he might be the one to score it.
But the closest Wycombe came to bagging an elusive goal was when Aaron Pierre rose to meet a corner and powered his header goalwards only to see the ball cleared off the line.
Danny Rowe made a cultured cameo appearance in place of Stephen McGinn and Max Kretzschmar replaced Paul Hayes in stoppage time, but the goal Wycombe needed to keep their season alive just wasn’t in them.
Yeovil should have rubbed salt in the wound with seconds remaining, but after having the ball put on a plate by Ryan Bird, Marc Laird somehow contrived to scoop his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
The ref blew, the crowd grumbled, and the Wycombe fans traipsed down Hillbottom Road pondering the many changes that will need to be made if the Chairboys are to mount a consistent challenge next season.
The defence is solid, but a chronic lack of creativity in midfield and a ponderously ineffective strike-force are issues that have plagued performances all season and need to be addressed if things are to improve.
Over the last few seasons finances have forced the sale of Wycombe’s best players, but other more flamboyant and talented players have been shown the door because either their face doesn’t fit or their work-rate doesn’t suit the desired style of play.
It’s a style of play that has alienated a large section of the support, failed to entertain, and in recent months, failed to produce results.
Here’s hoping for a compromise next season, and in the meantime, even if the playoffs prove to be out of reach, there’s still the tantalising possibility of preventing Oxford from gaining automatic promotion.
Line-up & ratings
Allsop (8), McCarthy (7), Stewart (7), Pierre (7), Jombati (6), Harriman (7), Bean (6), McGinn (6) (Rowe 85), Sellars (7), Thompson (5) (Ugwu 63), Hayes (6) (Kretzschmar 91)
Blues draw a blank as season peters out
Wycombe Wanderers 0 Yeovil Town 0