York City 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers
A scrappy equaliser bundled in by substitute Matt Bloomfield gave Wycombe a point that they just about deserved yesterday in a 1-1 draw at relegation bound York City.
With Luke O’Nien and Sam Wood joined by Joe Jacobson on the sidelines, Gareth Ainsworth mixed things up with a 4-2-1-3 formation, also dropping Gary Thompson to the bench. Sido Jombati filled in for Jacobson at left back, Marcus Bean returned from suspension alongside Stephen McGinn in midfield and Michael Harriman sat in a roaming role behind a front three of Paul Hayes, Rowan Liburd and Jerell Sellars.
What played out was a competitive but scrappy match with the ball spending much of the time in the air, leaving both sets of fans with neck ache.
After five minutes Jombati did very well to curl over a delightful cross from the left but from just six yards out Liburd got his header all wrong and diverted it sideways with the goal at his mercy.
Chances were otherwise few and far between in the opening half an hour of grindball, with Allsop spreading himself to beat away a shot from Lewis Alessandra on the counter attack.
Sellars sent a shot curling way over on the half hour mark, and soon after the Chairboys found themselves a goal behind.
A poor goal to concede it was too; Hayes squandering possession and Alessandra cutting Wycombe’s defence in two with a simple pass that Vadaine Oliver raced on to and slotted past the onrushing Allsop.
Luke Summerfield then saw a shot from distance parried to safety by Allsop before Liburd hammered a goalbound header from Bennett to safety from his own goal line.
As referee Eddie Ilderton blew for half time you would have thought, if anyone, it was York chasing the playoffs and Wycombe doomed at the wrong end of the table.
The second half began with no changes in personnel or formation and it took a fine diving save from Allsop to keep out a free kick from Summerfield.
Slowly but surely Wycombe then fought their way back into the game with a nervy York side retreating deeper towards their own box. Hayes saw a close range effort deflected into the side netting before Thompson replaced an anonymous Liburd.
James Berrett was then fortunate to escape with only a yellow card after a late, lunging challenge on Bean who was one of Wanderers’ better performers on the day. Jombati and Alessandra, who had been having a towsy battle throughout the whole second half, were also both booked for dissent by Ilderton and not before time.
Ainsworth then threw-on Ryan Sellers on in place of a quiet Sellars, and Bloomfield in place of McGinn, and the introduction of width resulted in a vastly improved end to the game.
Thompson sent a diving header straight at Scott Flinders from a Bean cross, the first time the York goalkeeper had been worked all match. Harriman then sent a reaction header narrowly over following a McCarthy cross before flicking another header wide with the nervousness growing in the home end.
On the break, a lapse in concentration from McCarthy was nearly costly but Galbraith over-hit a square pass for Fewster and the chance was wasted.
After 88 minutes the Chairboys equalised as a thunderous shot from Stewart on the edge of the box was spilled by Flinders and bundled in by the head of substitute Bloomfield. The goalscorer appeared to injure his arm in the process and carried on for the remainder of the game in clear pain.
There was still time for Wanderers to nearly nick it in stoppage time but after Harriman`s shot was fumbled by Flinders the goalkeeper recovered just in time to snatch the ball with Sellers sneaking in.
In truth though, the result was a fair one as Wycombe’s play-off hopes were dealt a blow.
Ratings: Allsop (7), McCarthy (6), Pierre (6), Stewart (7), Jombati (7*), Bean (7), McGinn (5) (Bloomfield 74′ 6), Harriman (6), Hayes (5), Liburd (4) (Thompson 65′, 6), Sellars (5) (Sellers 74′, 6)