Carlisle United 2 Wycombe Wanderers 2
Vital Wycombe would like to thank guest writer Dale Jenkins for the following report.
Francois Zoko broke Wycombe hearts this afternoon with an 84th minute equaliser which denied the Wanderers a crucial victory at Brunton Park.
At the start of the day the objective was to avoid defeat and simply build on the last-minute joy against Chesterfield the previous Saturday. However by the end there was a strong tinge of disappointment that the Chairboys could not hold on and take all three points back to Buckinghamshire.
Gary Waddock named just one change from the previous fixture, with Matt Bloomfield replacing the injured Scott Donnelly after an impressive substitute appearance against Chesterfield.
Within just ninety seconds the game plan went out of the window. After conceding early goals at Franchise and again last week, a solid start seemed a strong priority. However, once Winfield needlessly conceded a free kick from the first whistle, the Blues were soon behind when nervy defending allowed Rory Loy to tap home from close range with the visiting defenders stationary. It was a shocking start and the team desperately needed to find a foothold in the game.
Suddenly Wycombe grew into the game and began to look the better team. Joel Grant`s tricks earned him a path to goal but his shot lacked the power and precision to seriously test Adam Collin, with Trotta just failing to reach the rebound.
Danger man Trotta then saw a low shot skid wide after a full-stretch save before hitting the post from a tight angle. Another nervous piece of defending saw Bull called into action, denying Liam Noble from close range, but when the equaliser arrived, it was the least the Wanderers deserved.
On 28 minutes, A wicked cross from loanee Anthony McNamee was cleared back into his stride and the winger curled the ball delightfully over the goalkeeper into the top corner of the net. He had repeated his trick from last week, only this was an even better strike which had the Wycombe supporters in raptures and the home fans applauding.
Things got even better on 36 minutes when Wanderers completed the turnaround. Trotta stole in behind a lagging Carlisle defence, took a peach of a pass from Beavon, and slotted the ball into the corner past Collin, sending the small army of Wycombe supporters into ecstasy.
After seeing out the remainder of the first half and the start of the second period, the home supporters began to turn on their team as the Blues frustrated their opponents by controlling possession and denying them space with some tough tackling.
Grant and McNamee looked a threat on the wings and Stuart Lewis, alongside the tireless Matt Bloomfield, was putting in some lung busting runs and tackles. The chance to kill the game off arrived as workhorse Beavon was fed one on one but found himself cruelly denied by a fine goalkeeping save.
Soon afterwards the Blues were regretting the missed opportunity as a cross whipped in from the right found substitute Zoko who powerfully headed home. Both sides had chances to win it but ultimately had to settle for a point apiece. McNamee`s tantalising cross missed everyone yet still needed a crucial touch from the Carlisle keeper, while a long range drive from Lubomir Michalik was turned round the post by Bull.
It was another encouraging performance with plenty of positives in attack but the usual suspect defending, particularly from Winfield who had another poor game. The loanees however have scored five goals in three matches between them and Gary Waddock will be hoping he can secure extended deals for both players.
Ratings: Bull 7, McCoy 6, Winfield 4, Johnson 6, Basey 6, Grant 7, Lewis 6, Bloomfield 6, McNamee 8*, Beavon 7, Trotta 7
Writer: Dale Jenkins
Late equaliser denies Blues victory on the road
Carlisle United 2 Wycombe Wanderers 2