Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Ipswich Town- Match Report
Wednesday, 1st Jan 2020 16:57
James Norwood headed his ninth goal of the season but David Wheeler equalised for Wycombe Wanderers as the Blues and the table-topping Chairboys drew 1-1 at Adams Park. Norwood nodded in the opener on 54 but Wheeler looped home the leveller 12 minutes later.
Fresh from signing his new contract, Town boss Paul Lambert made two changes to the team which lost 5-3 at Lincoln on Sunday as his side faced the Chairboys, his first English club.
The Blues started in a 3-5-2 system with James Wilson returning to the backline alongside skipper Luke Chambers and Luke Woolfenden.
With Janoi Donacien dropping out of the 18 having suffered a knee injury against the Imps, Gwion Edwards and Luke Garbutt were the wing-backs.
Emyr Huws came into midfield for Andre Dozzell, who was on the bench, with Flynn Downes and Alan Judge, while James Norwood and Kayden Jackson were up front.
On the bench for the first time since suffering a knee injury in pre-season was midfielder Teddy Bishop. Freddie Sears was left out after playing 59 minutes at Lincoln having only recently returned from his ACL injury
For Wycombe, former Blues midfielder Matt Bloomfield skippered, while man mountain striker Adebayo Akinfenwa was on the bench.
After an uneventful opening at a sell-out Adams Park and on a heavy pitch, the home side should have gone in front via their first serious attack of the game in the sixth minute.
Alex Samuel managed to get on the ball on the right of the box close to the byline as Chambers tried to shield it away from him and out of play and crossed low to the far past from where Paul Smyth somehow put the ball the wrong side of the post with the gaol gaping.
Almost immediately, Town, wearing their Barcelona-style away kit, broke up the other end and Gwion Edwards struck a shot from the right of the area which Darius Charles cleared away from the line.
Smyth tried to make amends for his earlier miss on eight with a shot which was blocked, then two minutes later Joe Jacobson curled a 25-yard freekick wide.
The early stages of the game had quickly developed into an end-to-end affair and soon afterwards Edwards saw a cross from the right blocked, then on 12 Norwood was sent away on the left but shot over when he might feel he could have done better.
Seconds later, Nnamdi Ofoborh similarly went too high with a strike from distance for the Chairboys.
The chances dried up for the following 10 minutes as the two teams battled to get on top with the Blues passing the ball around with perhaps a little more patience than in some recent games and the very direct Wycombe looking to get it forward quickly.
As the game reached the half-hour mark, a long spell of Town possession was ended when Jackson was fouled 30 yards out. Garbutt took the freekick but was unable to repeat Sunday’s strike at Lincoln and the ball looped into the stand behind the goal.
The Blues were beginning to take charge and on 32 Norwood saw a shot blocked following a corner.
Two minutes later, Wilson was shown the game’s first yellow card for halting the breaking Smyth 10 yards outside the area. Jacobson curled the freekick deep into the Town fans massed behind that goal.
Wycombe keeper Ryan Allsop was forced into his first significant save of the game in the 37th minute when Chambers found Garbutt with a cross-field pass, the on-loan Everton man sent in a ball and Judge looped a header which Allsop clawed away for a corner.
The Chairboys’ only threat after the early stages had been set pieces and they were awarded another just outside the area on 40. Jacobson looped to the far post and a Nick Freeman shot was blocked.
As the fourth official raised his board indicated one further minute, Jacobson sent over another freekick, this time form the right. Charles flicked it on and Giles Phillips nodded well over at the far post. Referee Robert Lewis ended the half moments later.
Having been fortunate to escape going behind in the early stages, the Blues had begun to look the better side.
Edwards might have been unlucky with his early chance which was cleared away from the line, Norwood will probably feel he could have done better with his opportunity, while Judge forced a good save from Allsop with his header.
The final minutes of the period were very stop-start with the home side winning a lot of set pieces, from which they looked dangerous.
Town got the second half off to a bright start and might have taken the lead in the 47th minute when Judge was played in on goal between two defenders to the right of the box, however, Allsop quickly came off his line to save and Norwood’s follow-up was blocked.
The Blues came even closer to going in front in the 52nd minute when Judge fed Garbutt in down the left and the wing-back sent over a low cross which Norwood at the far post diverted just wide in front of the Town support.
Two minutes later, the striker did find the net for the ninth time this season. Jackson was fouled on the Town left by Anthony Stewart and Garbutt brilliantly whipped over a quickly-taken freekick immediately after Judge had placed the ball and Norwood headed home from a few feet before celebrating with the ecstatic Blues support behind the goal.
As the match moved into the 65th minute Wycombe introduced talismanic striker Akinfenwa for Smyth.
And a minute later, the Chairboys levelled with another goal the Blues’ backline and keeper Norris will want to forget.
Allsop played a long freekick forward from deep in his half, Akinfenwa flicked on and David Wheeler was somehow allowed to loop it over the unnecessarily advanced Norris and into the net.
The goal gave the home team and fans a boost of energy but the Blues might well have gone back in front in the 71st minute. Norwood crossed low behind Jackson but the ball was stabbed out to Judge, who hit a low shot which Allsop did well to save down to his left.
Akinfenwa continued to prove a danger for the home side, who had largely had the Blues pinned back in their own half since the goal, and on 75 the 37-year-old headed a freekick from deep wide at the far post.
Three minutes later, Woolfenden was booked for a high challenge, then in the 79th minute Town swapped goalscorer Norwood for Will Keane.
Town, who had seen much less of the ball since the equaliser, made a rare break forward in the 81st minute, a clearance eventually cannoning wide off Edwards.
Wycombe came close to going in front in the 84th minute when Samuel hooked an acrobatic effort across the face and wide.
A minute later, after a superb crunching Downes challenge midway inside the Wycombe half, Judge just failed to find Jackson with a deft ball over the top.
On 86 the Chairboys swapped the impressive Samuel for Scott Kashket, then with two minutes left on the clock Bishop made his return for Judge.
Neither side threatened in three minutes of injury time and in the end a draw was probably a fair result, even if Town will feel they should have won once they had got the lead.
The Blues began the half the better side and had been looking the more likely scorers when Norwood headed in the well-worked well-worked opener.
But after they had conceded what was a poor goal from a Town perspective, Wycombe were much the more dangerous side and had the better of the later chances.
A much better display from the Blues than at Lincoln or at home to Gillingham even if the winless League One run has now stretched to eight games - and the live-on-Sky lack of victories has increased to 16 - and Town are without a victory in all competitions over 90 minutes in 11.
The draw sees Wycombe stay top with the Blues down to fifth. Town are next in Leasing.com Trophy action at Exeter City on Saturday afternoon.
Wycombe: Allsop, Phillips, Stewart, Charles, Jacobson, Ofoborh, Bloomfield (c), Freeman, Wheeler, Smyth (Akinfenwa 65), Samuel (Kashket 86). Unused: Yates, Jombati, Pattison, Aarons, Parker.
Ipswich: Norris, Woolfenden, Chambers (c), Wilson, Edwards, Downes, Huws, Garbutt, Judge (Bishop 88), Jackson, Norwood (Keane 79). Unused: Holy, Nsiala, Kenlock, El Mizouni, Dozzell. Referee: Robert Lewis (Shrewsbury).
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