Newport County 0 Wycombe Wanderers 0
The Chairboys banked another point in South Wales as the goals dried up, but more importantly, they picked up their first clean sheet of the season.
A relatively even first half was followed by a very positive Wycombe performance after the break, and they would have come away with a win if not for two brilliant saves by Joe Day and a glorious chance missed by Craig Mackail-Smith.
Gareth Ainsworth made one change to the team that beat Forest Green last week, Josh Umerah coming in for the injured Adebayo Akinfenwa.
The first chance fell to the visitors, with Paris Cowan-Hall firing straight at Day.
League Two player of the month Frank Nouble was causing Wanderers problems, first setting up Padraig Amond who shot straight at Scott Brown, before heading wide himself.
But the Blues were giving their best too, with Harriman shooting wide, a Jacobson free-kick narrowly evading everyone and another JJ set piece being deflected wide.
Josh Umerah was proving a handful, although admittedly not quite an Akinfenwa handful. His ball down the line to Mackail-Smith led to a cross which Cowan-Hall headed wide.
Luke O’Nien then came into the thick of action. First curling wide and then hitting a ferocious volley that Day did well to save.
Newport then grew back into the game, with Amond`s first header going over the bar and his second forcing Brown to tip the ball over.
As half time approached, Josh Labadie was replaced by Reece Cole for the hosts after two spells of treatment.
The first half ended 0-0, which was about right on the balance of play.
Wanderers have had a habit this season of coming out in the 2nd half and not performing, and the hosts certainly had the better of the early exchanges after the break.
Adam El-Abd, who had by far his best game of the season, was in the right place at the right time on a number of occasions to either head away, or clear the danger.
Brown was also on hand to deny Amond, before El-Abd again cleared brilliantly when Nouble looked poised to score.
After absorbing this spell of pressure, Wycombe began to stamp their authority.
Josh Umerah had a header that was brilliantly saved by Day, and in the second phase of play Mackail-Smith had a shot on the turn which was saved again.
On first viewing, and I look forward to seeing a replay, it’s one of the best saves I’ve seen. World class.
Moments later an Anthony Stewart header was cleared off the line.
The game then saw it’s best chance. Stewart did brilliantly to find Umerah with Amond pressurising him, Umerah turned his man superbly and played an exquisite ball across the box to Mackail-Smith who somehow put his effort wide with the goal gaping.
The new signing deserves a Wycombe goal for his work rate, but he won`t get many better chances.
Marcus Bean was then introduced for Dominic Gape who was on his last warning with the referee having received a yellow card before the break.
Bean was straight into the action. He intercepted a pass, beat a couple of men and when 20 yards from goal drove a shot on target which Day tipped around the post.
Umerah then shot wide as it looked increasingly likely that only one team were going to win it.
Eberechi Eze then came on for Matt Bloomfield to make his Wycombe debut, and an impressive one it was. The youngster looked positive, skilful on the ball, and a really exciting prospect.
In the remaining ten minutes Cowan-Hall twice crossed towards Mackail-Smith, the first being cleared and second headed over when the striker mistimed his jump.
The game finished 0-0, and although it was a game Wanderers dominated at times, a 0-0 draw was strangely satisfying given the clean sheet aspect.
The second half signs in particular were encouraging and it was definitely something to build on.
All eyes are now on Mansfield away on Tuesday night.
Brown 6 – Still not great on crosses but a couple of big saves. Clean sheet and the fans’ reaction at full-time should really help his confidence.
Harriman 6 – Another solid shift.
Stewart 6 – Great to have him back. Brilliant for the move that led to the CMS chance.
El-Abd 7 – Best game in a Wycombe shirt by far. Hope he gets the praise he deserves today.
Jacobson 6 – Did what he had to.
Gape 6 – Taken off to save him from a second yellow.
O’Nien 6 – Two good efforts on goal and energetic as always.
Bloomfield 5 – Put himself about but lacked quality.
Cowan-Hall 5 – Faded after the break and didn’t look up for it at times.
Umerah 7 – Poor first half centrally, but very effective out wide in the second. Set up the CMS chance and unlucky not to score himself.
Mackail-Smith 6 – Denied by a wonder save and sitter missed. Goals will come. Great work rate.
Bean 7 – Positive and almost changed the game in our favour.
Eze 7 – Quality. Only ten minutes but a huge positive. Has to start on Tuesday.
Blues keep clean sheet and bank another point
Newport County 0 Wycombe Wanderers 0