Cheltenham Town 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers
A 77th minute penalty from substitute Dean Morgan cancelled out an earlier Byron Harrison header and earned Wycombe Wanderers a 1-1 draw against Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road this evening.
The result takes Wycombe four points clear of the relegation zone, as Northampton Town lost 3-0 at home to Saturday’s opponents Rochdale, Accrington Stanley thrashed Morecambe 5-1 and Torquay United closed the gap on Wanderers to six points after a 2-1 win over Bury.
Gareth Ainsworth restored Josh Scowen to the line up in place of the suspended Sam Togwell and reshuffled the strikers, as Steven Craig and Matt McClure led the line with Dean Morgan and Jo Kuffour demoted to the bench. Cheltenham manager Mark Yates named an unchanged team from Saturday’s 1-0 success over Torquay with match winner Harrison again named as a substitute.
As early as the 4th minute Wycombe had the ball in the back of the net courtesy of Scotsman Craig but the referee had blown for a foul by the striker on defender Steve Elliott.
Cheltenham soon grew into the game, which was being played at a frantic pace. Elliott flicked on a long ball to Jamie Cureton on 11 minutes and the nippy forward saw his header land straight into the arms of Ingram. Cureton then laid the ball off for makeshift right back Mitch Brundle to fire well over the bar and Cureton`s strike partner Terry Gornell then dragged a shot wide.
McClure and Craig were struggling to make the ball stick effectively but on the half hour the Chairboys had a glorious chance to take the lead. Scowen had typically regained possession in tenacious style, before good vision from McClure saw Kretzschmar released in space, but the youngster was superbly denied by goalkeeper Scott Brown.
There was a let off for Wycombe soon after too, as Deering cut inside Nick Arnold all too easily but saw his dangerous cross evade the head of winger Ashley Vincent with the goal at his mercy. Kretzschmar then fired a low 30 yard free kick which was tipped wide by Brown.
As the first half drew to a close, both Cureton and Gornell had headers saved straightforwardly. The half-time whistle blew with the game still goalless after an even 45 minutes in which Josh Scowen stood out for his skill in both regaining possession and distributing the ball effectively to a team-mate.
The second half began with Wycombe on the front foot as Craig’s effort was deflected behind for a corner by Elliott. Byron Harrison soon replaced the ineffective Gornell for the hosts, and after 56 minutes McClure had to be replaced after he picked up his almost obligatory knock and Dean Morgan entered the fray.
Just after the hour mark Wycombe had another golden opportunity to take the lead. Scowen sent an inch perfect through ball for Craig, who slammed his shot against the post with only Brown to beat. Brian Noble replaced Vincent for the Robins and Jo Kuffour replaced Craig soon after.
It looked like Wycombe would live to regret that missed chance when substitute Harrison glanced home Jermaine McGlashan’s cross on 68 minutes to break the deadlock and give the hosts the lead.
Thankfully though, Wycombe’s substitutions were working tonight and Morgan and Kuffour were both giving the Cheltenham defence more to think about.
After 79 minutes, Bloomfield was flattened in the box and when referee Tony Harrington had initially waved away the appeals, Kuffour was also wiped out by Elliott, who was fortunate to escape at least a booking. Morgan calmly rolled the resulting spot kick into the bottom right corner with Brown diving the wrong way. Bloomfield couldn’t continue and was replaced by Anthony Jeffrey.
There were few chances for either side to win the game as it petered out into a 1-1 draw. That said, only Cureton will know how he screwed his header wide just after Wycombe had equalised when it looked easier to hit the target. Kretzschmar was booked for a foul on half way after 84 minutes before Marvin McCoy blasted a long range effort over the bar two minutes later.
Matt Richards saw his header sail comfortably over the bar as four minutes of stoppage time were announced. One final half chance saw Kuffour break free but his cross was too long for Jeffrey, who took the 242 Wycombe fans to the frayed edge of sanity by inexplicably allowing Jombati to dispossess him.
Referee Harrington then called time on the game which ended in a fair 1-1 scoreline. The result edges Wycombe up to 19th place, above Bristol Rovers and Portsmouth on goal difference ahead of the visit of league leaders Rochdale on Saturday.
Line up and Ratings: Ingram (6), McCoy (6), Stewart (7), Johnson (6), Wood (5), Scowen (8*), Arnold (5), Bloomfield (5) (Jeffrey 81′ (4)), Kretzschmar (6), McClure (6) Morgan (57′ (7)), Craig (6) (Kuffour (67′ (7)).
Unused substitutes: Horlock, Pierre, Pittman, Styche.
Attendance: 2,267 (242 from Wycombe)