Wycombe Wanderers 3 Cheltenham Town 3
The Chairboys climbed a point closer to the play-offs despite a 3-3 draw that really wasn`t good enough. They went 2-0 down after only 12 minutes but levelled proceedings before half-time after the Robins were reduced to ten men.
A Joe Jacobson penalty gave them a second-half lead but it wasn`t enough as a Billy Waters goal made it 3-3 and earned the visitors a precious point in their battle against relegation.
There were four changes to the Wycombe line-up. Nick Freeman, Dom Gape, Sam Wood, and Dayle Southwell coming into the side, in place of Luke O`Nien, Adebayo Akinfenwa and the injured Myles Weston and Sam Saunders.
Cheltenham had emergency loan goalkeeper Rob Lainton in goal, as Wycombe loanee Scott Brown was unable to feature.
From the off the visitors were the better side, Jamal Blackman making a smart save when the game wasn`t even five minutes old.
An Aaron Pierre handball led to a free-kick for the Robins. Blackman did superbly to save when Harry Pell`s effort was deflected, but Waters was on hand to tap home the rebound as he reacted much quicker than the Wanderers defence.
The advantage was doubled soon after, Pell scoring a goal of his own, firing past Blackman from a James Rowe cross.
Cheltenham were 2-0 up and to be honest completely deserved it. Wycombe had been diabolical, and a team in the bottom four were two goals ahead, and rightly so.
Dom Gape got booked as the visitors continued to dominate, but a goal against the run of the play gave Wycombe a glimmer of hope.
A Michael Harriman cross was turned past Lainton. It either went in via a touch from Garry Thompson or an own goal. Whoever it was, it didn`t matter as Wanderers were back in the game.
Sam Wood was then in the thick of the action. His volley from a Freeman cross was blocked, before another effort was straight at Lainton.
Jordan Cranston was booked for needlessly kicking the ball away, and when he took out Matt Bloomfield just moments later, the second yellow and subsequent red card he received was inevitable.
Just before half-time a long Joe Jacobson throw was flicked on by Pierre and Thompson smashed an unstoppable volley into the back of the net to make it 2-2.
Having thrown away a two goal lead and now down to ten men, Cheltenham made a change before the break, Jack Barthram replacing James Rowe.
It remained 2-2 at the interval and substitute Barthram`s afternoon didn`t last long once the second half had got underway.
He was involved in a collision and started fitting on the pitch. Medical staff from both sides helped the Town player, and he was stretchered off after lengthy treatment whilst receiving gas and air. Thankfully he`s apparently been released from hospital, after an injury that looked very serious.
With the extra man Wycombe were looking dangerous. Scott Kashket replaced Dayle Southwell, which immediately lifted the home fans who welcomed the star striker back after a spell out through injury.
Within seconds Kashket beat a man and rifled a fierce shot on goal which was deflected wide for a corner.
At this time it was pretty much one way traffic. Kashket did find the back of the net after Akinfenwa had knocked it down for him. But Thompson`s cross had already gone out of play so the goal was ruled out.
Nick Freeman was a threat throughout, always looking to attack and cause problems. He`s really taken his chance in the last couple of weeks since coming back into the side.
With ten minutes left on the clock, plus the inevitable lengthy stoppage time, Wanderers dominance against the ten men paid off. Thompson was pushed in the box and a penalty was awarded. It was probably soft, but anywhere else on the pitch it was a free-kick.
Joe Jacobson stepped up and sent Lainton the wrong way to put the Blues in front.
However, even with a goal lead, and the extra man, the game wasn`t over.
A long ball found Will De Havilland out of position, not for the first time this afternoon, and when Harriman pushed over Danny Wright, Cheltenham had a penalty of their own.
Blackman saved the Waters penalty, but yet again it was a Cheltenham player who was quickest to react as Waters tapped in the rebound.
Paul Hayes replaced De Havilland but it wasn`t enough. The skipper hitting the side netting early on in the eleven minutes of awarded stoppage time.
In fact Cheltenham almost won it on the break, Wright wriggling through the defence and thankfully firing wide, but the game finished 3-3.
A diabolical opening fifteen minutes cost the Blues, but against ten men they weren`t able to capitalise after forcing their way back into the game and it was two points dropped.
Results somehow went in Wycombe`s favour yet again, but this was another missed opportunity. They`re now a point closer to the play-offs, only three away. But they really should have cut the gap to just one. Play-off chasing rivals Mansfield visit Adams Park next Friday, in a real six pointer.
Blackman 7 – Two brilliant saves. Unfortunately the defence didn`t back him up for either and they led to Cheltenham goals.
Harriman 4 – Kept punting it long when they had ten and that wasn`t appropriate with the extra man.
De Havilland 3 – Some abuse recently saying he isn`t good enough was unnecessary, however today showed he isn`t. Where`s Muller gone?
Pierre 5 – Trying to do the job of two, felt for him today.
Jacobson 6 – Composed penalty but still not good enough.
Freeman 7* – Not a winger, but attacking intent whenever he got the ball. Took his chance well today.
Gape 4 – Off the pace, and had to be subbed to prevent a red card.
Bloomfield 6 – Solid job.
Wood 6 – Grew into the game. OK shift.
Southwell 3 – Honestly forgot he was playing.
Thompson 7 – Great hit for the 2nd and put a massive shift in.
Akinfenwa 6 – Put his usual shift in up front.
Kashket 6 – Tried hard and looked lively. Great to have him back.
Hayes 4 – Could`ve changed the game, but didn`t. Very poor.
Blues drop more points at home
Wycombe Wanderers 3 Cheltenham Town 3