Date: 22nd October 2008 at 12:44am
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Unbeaten Wycombe Wanderers stay top of the table, after an improved second half performance saw them draw 1-1 with Barnet at Underhill.

Manager Peter Taylor made three changes from the side which played disappointingly against Darlington on Saturday.

Lewis Hunt, Simon Church and John Mousinho came in for Leon Johnson, Lewwis Spence and Scott McGleish.

The Wanderers lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows:


Hunt Williamson McCracken Woodman

Mousinho Holt Moussa Zebroski

Harrold Church

Subs: Young Crooks Duncan McGleish Phillips.

Wycombe elected to play up the famous slope in the first half.

The first half belonged to Barnet, as Wycombe carried on where they had left off against Darlington. The Blues’ midfield were getting nowhere against the Bees and Wycombe were resorting more and more to long, high balls in the direction of Harrold and Church as the half progressed.

Barnet had a few half-chances in the first 20 minutes, but wayward shooting by the Bees and a good block by Gary Holt ensured the Wycombe goal stayed intact.

Wycombe’s first chance arrived in the 22nd minute. The Barnet defence got in a muddle and the ball dropped to Matt Harrold on the 18 yard line. With the Bees’ keeper off his line and the goal at his mercy, Harrold snatched at his shot and ballooned it over the crossbar.

The miss was to prove costly as Barnet took the lead two minutes later. Neal Bishop on the Barnet right-flank, squared the ball to Nicky Deverdics thirty yards out. The midfielder unleashed a fierce low drive which found it’s way through the Blues defence and beyond keeper Shearer into the net.

Wycombe’s only other chance in the first half came when Simon Church took a pass with his back to the goal on the edge of the area. Showing great footwork, Church turned his markers and made room for himself, but could only poke his shot wide of the post.

The half time whistle went with Wycombe trailing 1-0 and few would deny that the score-line was a fair reflection of the game so far.

The second half was a different matter.

Gary Holt and Franck Moussa looked like different players. They took hold of the midfield and Wycombe started to play some good football.

After 51 minutes Matty Phillips replaced John Mousinho, who had shown his usual effort, but was played uncomfortably out of position. The Blues looked even more threatening after this change, as Barnet looked stretched with two pacey wide-men to worry about.

Phillips earned his corn after only 5 minutes when he saved Wycombe from going further behind, by clearing a Cliff Akurang shot off the line.

Wycombe however, were now taking the game to Barnet. Both Church and Moussa tried their luck from 20 yards, before Gary Holt nearly grabbed the equaliser after 62 minutes with a fine 25 yard effort, which was well saved by Barnet keeper Lee Harrison.

From the resulting corner, Simon Church headed wide from only 6 yards out. This miss was the only blot on a classy landscape as far as the on-loan Reading man is concerned. He really looks a good player.

The equalising goal came after 67 minutes. Matty Phillips had switched to the left side and his deep cross was met at the far post by Chris Zebroski, who gleefully slotted it home. It was no more than the Chairboys deserved.

The Blues pressed for a winner, but still had to be wary of Barnet. Particularly the wily Adomah, who had turned David McCracken a little too easily on several occasions in the second period.

McGleish replaced Harrold in the 83rd minute, but the Blues could not find a winner.

The second half performance was what Wycombe fans had been waiting to see. Holt was outstanding, tenacious in the tackle and probing going forward. Moussa suddenly began to show why Southend fans rate him so highly. He looked a different player from the one we saw on Saturday. When the midfield clicks, we pass it around and look a good side. When it doesn’t, we try to by-pass it and look average.

Other good things to come out of tonight’s game were the performances of Lewis Hunt and Simon Church. Hunt looks comfortable on the ball and is prepared to venture forward, which is something we’ve been missing since Russell Martin’s departure. Church oozes class for this level and should do well during his loan period.

So, Wycombe remain top of the league, despite drawing their last three games. No-one is taking this division by the scruff of the neck so far this season.

It would be nice to get back to winning ways against Accrington Stanley this Saturday.

Man Of The Match

Gary Holt

Commanding second half performance


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