Wycombe Wanderers 0 West Ham United 0
For the second time this week a Championship side were unable to breach the Wycombe defence and the Hammers joined Crystal Palace in leaving Adams Park with a goalless draw.
The Blues more than matched the visitors during a first-half of few chances, but the star-studded Londoners upped their game after the break and it took a couple of great saves from Nikki Bull and a few crucial blocks to preserve a clean sheet for the home side.
Gary Waddock chose to persevere with a flexible 4-5-1 formation which ensured Wycombe had enough bodies to compete in a crowded central midfield containing the likes of Scott Parker and Kevin Nolan.
Stuart Beavon ploughed a lone furrow up-front and came closest to scoring in the first-half when he flicked his header narrowly wide of the post from an Andy Sandell cross.
Winger Joel Grant was enjoying more success on the left than Gareth Ainsworth was on the right, but whenever Wycombe put together a promising move, there were never enough bodies in the box to take advantage.
The Hammers started the second-half strongly with Carlton Cole turning on a sixpence and lashing a shot across the face of goal from an impossible angle.
Within minutes, Nolan hammered one over the bar, and only a diving save from Bull prevented Cole from curling the ball home seconds later.
From the resulting corner, Bull had to be at his best again to claw a Tomkins header to safety as the Hammers continued to turn the screw with only five minutes of the second-half gone.
The Blues survived the onslaught, and should have taken the lead after 64 minutes when Grant volleyed a glorious chance just wide of Robert Green’s goal.
Despite a flurry of substitutions from both sides, the game continued to entertain, and Wycombe put together several promising moves, the last of which saw Matt McClure volley one over the bar from just outside the box.
From a Wycombe perspective, the most encouraging factors were the solid defensive performance, and the impressive crop of youngsters knocking on the first-team door.
Much has been said about Kadeem Harris (who didn’t feature today) and Jordan Ibe (who did), but the assured and cultured performances of centre-half Anthony Stewart and left-back Charles Dunne bode very well for the future.
Vital Man of the Match – James Tunnicliffe
Bull, Foster (McCoy 69), Tunnicliffe, Johnson (Stewart 74), Sandell (Dunne 74), Ainsworth (Betsy 59), Halls (Bloomfield 59), Lewis (Harding 69), Donnelly (Ibe 74), Grant (McClure 69), Beavon (Strevens 59).
West Ham line-up
Green, O’Brien, Tomkins, (Montano 68), Spence, Ilunga (Brown 68), Faubert, Parker (Nouble 76), Nolan, Boa Morte, Barrera, Cole (Piquionne 60)