Mansfield Town 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Wanderers registered consecutive scoreless draws away from home with a 0-0 stalemate at Mansfield Town last night.
It was a game that the Chairboys could, and should, have won after a dominant first half display.
Gareth Ainsworth made three changes from the team that drew 0-0 at Newport County on Saturday with Adam El-Abd, Paris Cowan-Hall and Matt Bloomfield making way for Ebere Eze, Marcus Bean and Dan Scarr. All three men coming into the team did their chances no harm with outstanding individual performances.
Two 0-0 draws would have been the last results you would have predicted after the glut of goals at both Wycombe ends so far this season, but the defence looked much more composed and assured again tonight.
The first half was one way traffic towards the excellent Conrad Logan in the Mansfield Town goal, with the exception of a venture down Wycombe’s left by Rhys Bennett after 8 minutes. His cut back found former Chairboy Lee Angol but his powerful first time effort was superbly pawed away by a much improved Scott Brown in the Wycombe goal.
Soon though the pattern of the game was established, with Eze running the show for the visitors as they created numerous chances which should have seen the game out of sight.
Mansfield simply couldn’t deal with Wycombe’s narrow midfield four, with Bean holding in front of the impressive back four effectively and Eze given license to roam at the tip of the diamond. Dom Gape and Luke O’Nien buzzed about either side of them and the hosts struggled to cope but it was Eze really running the show.
Scarr had already seen one soft header held by Logan but the on-loan Birmingham defender must have thought he had opened his Wycombe account on 22 minutes but for a superb one handed save by Logan who was going the other way before reacting instinctively.
Eze had already teased a number of defenders and curled an effort narrowly wide from the edge of the box before he tricked his way through past the Stags backline again to win a corner.
Again the Jacobson delivery was on point, with the rebound falling to Bean who was twice denied by Logan before O’Nien somehow failed to convert the loose ball from point blank range, again being foiled by Logan in the Mansfield goal.
Craig Mackail-Smith was next to try his luck after a long Jacobson free kick into the box but he could only hook his shot over the bar after an awkward bounce.
The hosts were relieved to see referee Rob Lewis pull up injured after half an hour so they could re-group and Steve Evans let his team know what he thought. Alf Greenwood stepped into the middle from his linesman duties and would go on to give a truly dismal refereeing performance.
Bean was correctly booked for halting a breakaway towards the end of the half but it was Mansfield mightily relieved to be going in level at the break.
The second half was more even, with Paul Anderson and Will Atkinson sent on for Alex MacDonald and Jacob Mellis. Mackail Smith sent two efforts over and then into the side netting for the Blues and O`Nien was booked for a late challenge after 58 minutes.
Evans made his final throw of the dice on the hour mark with Alfie Potter on to replace Michael Butcher but the hosts struggled to threaten Wycombe`s goal. In fact the only real opportunity for the remainder of the game came when Potter skipped past Jacobson on 82 minutes but his driven low cross evaded Anderson at the far post with Gape covering excellently.
The chances had also dried up at the other end and despite Cowan-Hall replacing Mackail-Smith on 68 minutes little changed as a stalemate began to seem inevitable. Matt Bloomfield replaced O’Nien on 74 who had been booked and the final switch saw Dayle Southwell replace a tiring Josh Umerah after 83 minutes. The on-loan Charlton forward had put himself about, worked hard for the cause and even endured the wrath of the home fans after throwing himself to ground in the penalty box. With the replacement referee’s general decision making in mind it was probably a worthwhile move.
In the end the referee signalled four minutes of stoppage time but the howling wind and rain were not conducive to allowing either side to build up a head of steam as both teams ultimately settled for a point.
Ratings: Brown (7), Harriman (7), Stewart (8), Scarr (8), Jacobson (7), Bean (7), O’Nien (7) (Bloomfield 74` N/A), Gape (7), Eze (8), Mackail Smith (7) (Cowan-Hall 68` 6), Umerah (7) (Southwell 83` N/A)
Consecutive scoreless draws for unlucky Wycombe
Mansfield Town 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers