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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 18 Aug 09 at 22:37 PM

REPORT: BLUES BAG FIRST POINT

By Ross Jeavons The Wanderers were denied their first victory of the season on Tuesday evening, despite a fairytale strike from Matt Harrold against old paymasters Southend United.

The scriptwriters were certainly hard at work as the former Shrimpers striker nodded home after 41 minutes, banishing memories of a self-confessed torrid time at Roots Hall.

However, Wycombe's hard work was undone seconds before the break, as Jean-Francois Cristophe headed home unmarked to bag a point for the visitors.

Peter Taylor was afforded the luxury of naming an unchanged side from the XI that suffered a narrow defeat to Leeds at the weekend, whilst Southend fielded ex-Wanderers loanees Franck Moussa and Anthony Grant in their starting line-up.

Lewis Montrose was a determined attacking force in the opening stages, firing rasping efforts narrowly over the bar on two occasions as the Blues took the game to their opponents.

Shrimpers 'keeper Steve Mildenhall was forced into a stunning save after 35 minutes, as substitute JP Pittman glided in from the right hand side before sliding in Matt Phillips. The youngster's curling effort looked destined to open the scoring, but was acrobatically tipped around the post by the 31-year-old stopper.

With the visitors on the ropes Peter Taylor's side needed to strike a key blow and that they certainly did, as Harrold came back to haunt the side that allowed him join the Wanderers back in 2008.

The 25-year-old rose well to clip home Matty Phillips' corner, silencing a minority of away supporters who had jeered his name from the off. Unfortunately the goal prompted a spell of sustained Southend pressure, as the Chairboys retreated into their shells ahead of the half-time break.

Scott Shearer had already been forced to rush smartly off his line to deny Matt Heath with a brave diving stop, before Christophe levelled proceedings in the dying seconds of first half stoppage time. The Shrimpers' French midfielder peeled away from his marker to power home Simon Francis' cross, to the obvious frustration of the Wanderers bench.

That may well have prompted a stern half-time team talk and if so it certainly had the desired effect, as the home side came out in style for the second 45.

John Mousinho's cheeky dummy found Matt Phillips in acres of space on the edge of the United area two minutes in, though the Aylesbury boy was only able to fire his shot straight down the throat of Mildenhall.

Franck Moussa saw his Southend career revived after a short loan spell with the Chairboys during their promotion winning season, and he was a shining light throughout the 90 minutes for the visitors as he caused all sorts of problems from the left hand side.

His crisp drive forced Scott Shearer into a smart save after 56 minutes, whilst moments later veteran forward Dougie Freedman somehow headed over the bar from all of six yards.

It was the Chairboys left feeling hard done by after 68 minutes, as Jon Paul Pittman found himself chopped down as he powered through on goal ahead of Matt Heath. Referee Mr Linington adjudged that the ex-Leeds defender had played the ball, but replays appeared to show that the man had been taken first.

Karma arguably came around to bite the Shrimpers minutes later, as Dougie Freeman went down under a Lewis Montrose challenge in the 18-yard box. Penalty appeals were quickly waved away much to the disbelief of the Scottish forward, though it didn't dent the confidence of Steve Tilson's men as they produced a late barrage upon the Wanderers goal.

Alex Revell flashed a shot into the side netting before United squandered the best chance of the evening, surprisingly thanks to a poor piece of finishing from leading scorer Lee Barnard.

The former Tottenham man had the goal at his mercy as he latched on to Anthony Grant's neat flick, but with Shearer stranded could only blast into a delighted Green King Terrace.

Despite the rally the Wanderers held on for their first point of the campaign, thanks to a performance that once again proved the men in the quarters will be more than comfortable at this level.

The glamour doesn't stop in League One and next up is a trip to Carrow Road and Norwich City, a fixture given extra spice by the recent appointment of Paul Lambert.
 

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