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Posted Sat 19 Dec 09 at 18:02 PM

REPORT: BLUES BATTLE BACK

Matt Harrold's 87th minute penalty salvaged a point for the Wanderers in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Oldham Athletic on a day where the Blues faced battles on and off the pitch.

A mammoth effort from staff and supporters to clear the pitch and surrounding areas of snow was rewarded as the game was given the go ahead at 11am, and the drama didn't end there as the game started and ended with a bang.

Scott Shearer saved Paul Heffernan's 6th minute spot-kick after the Wanderers defence was harshly penalised by referee Danny McDermid - the first of many baffling decisions from the official - and it clearly gave the Blues a lift as they took the lead on 10 minutes.

John Akinde slotted home a rebound after Kevin Betsy's effort had been blocked but the on-loan striker turned from hero to villain on 23 minutes, earning a straight red card for lashing out at Sean Gregan on 23 minutes.

Oldham levelled on the stroke of half-time through Danny Whitaker's stunning 30-yard drive, and took the lead six minutes after the break when Reuben Hazell's header squeezed past Tommy Doherty on the line.

However, the Blues' never-say-die attitude paid dividends when John Mousinho won a penalty with the clock ticking down and Matt Harrold coolly dispatched the spot-kick to earn a point.

Club staff arrived at Adams Park at dawn to begin the tireless task of ensuring the playing surface and access roads were safe for players and supporters, with several fans responding to a plea for help to assist with the work.

Once officials had deemed the pitch playable, Gary Waddock named a side with one change from the XI that lost at Carlisle last week, with Tommy Doherty coming in for Matt Harrold.

Within four minutes, Matt Phillips burst into the box and once the ball was cleared to the edge of the box, Scott Davies fired wide as the Blues looked to take an early lead.

However, Oldham thought they were destined to take the lead when they were awarded a soft penalty two minutes later, with referee McDermid over-ruling his linesman's offside flag and pointing to the spot. Paul Heffernan fired the ball with venom, but Shearer stood firm to beat the ball away superbly.

Four minutes later, the pendulum swung back in Wycombe's favour as John Akinde fired home his first goal since returning to Adams Park on loan from Bristol City, tapping home after Kevin Betsy's effort had been denied by keeper Darryl Flahavan.

Dale Stephens was then booked for a foul on Tommy Doherty as the Latics expressed their frustation at falling behind, but they could have been level when a superb free-kick evaded everyone in the box and was fired over at the back post by the sliding Alex Marrow.

Lewis Hunt needed to be alert to deny Paul Heffernan inside the box when the striker burst through on 22 minutes but the action reverted to the other end when John Akinde saw red for a moment of madness only seconds later.

The striker exchanged words with Athletic skipper Sean Gregan and struck the former Preston defender in the face, earning a straight red card and forcing the Blues to play the remainder of the game with only ten men.

Scott Davies was moved into an unfamiliar forward role and almost doubled the lead when his free-kick went over the bar on 27 minutes, while at the other end, Danny Whitaker should have done better when Scott Shearer's save rebounded to him six yards out, but the midfielder fired high over the top.

Deane Smalley went into the book for a foul on Chris Westwood on 34 minutes and both Whitaker and Colbeck had long range efforts which missed the target before Whitaker levelled the scores with a stunner from 30 yards with just a minute of the half remaining.

Scott Davies attempted an audacious lob from the halfway line straight from the kick-off, with the ball flying just a foot over the top, and it was the last significant event of an action-packed first half before the interval.

Five minutes into the second period, Tommy Doherty saw yellow for an act of dissent before the Latics took the lead courtesy of Reuben Hazell's far post header. A corner from the left was met by Hazell and his downward header crept past Doherty on the line, prompting Gary Waddock to make a bold move, bringing Matt Harrold and JP Pittman on for Matt Phillips and Kevin Betsy.

Davies saw an effort tipped just wide on 57 minutes while Paul Heffernan came so close to stretching the visitors' lead with a powerful drive which struck both posts and the crossbar before bouncing to safety.

Ryan Brooke then went through one-on-one with Scott Shearer but was denied by a strong save from the Glaswegian, while Kieran Lee and Reuben Hazell both saw yellow cards either before Jon-Paul Pittman missed the target with a header from six yards on 83 minutes.

It looked as though it wouldn't be Wycombe's day, but they were handed a lifeline when Mousinho was felled in the box and Matt Harrold - who missed his previous spot-kick at the Park - stepped up to level the scores and send the home fans away content.

Wanderers can now look ahead to the Boxing Day trip to fellow strugglers Yeovil Town before welcoming Brighton to HP12 next Monday.

Reaction from Gary Waddock, Scott Shearer and Matt Harrold to follow.

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