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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 09 Jan 10 at 19:55 PM

REPORT: BLUES PROVE THEIR POINT

A magnificent performance by the Wanderers earned a 1-1 draw with league leaders Leeds United on Saturday, as Jon-Paul Pittman struck in the second-half to upset the form guide.

Blues' first ever visit to Elland Road was shaping up to be a disappointing one when Jonny Howson struck from 25 yards inside three minutes to give the Whites the lead, but after Wycombe created a host of chances, Pittman fired home in style to win a point.

And while the fantastic travelling support of 666 will return home through the hazardous weather conditions satisfied with a draw against a side which defeated Manchester United last weekend, there may even be tinges of disappointment that the Blues didn't win the game.

Pittman had earlier hit the post and spurned two good chances inside the box, while Stuart Beavon, John Mousinho and Scott Davies also came close to finding the net in a gripping encounter.

Gary Waddock's team selection was bold to say the least - experimenting with a new 4-3-1-2 formation, Matt Harrold and Stuart Beavon came into the side in place of Matt Phillips and Kevin Betsy, while Adam Hinshelwood recovered from injury in time to line up in defence.

Leeds showed no signs of complacency in their starting XI, selecting Jermaine Beckford up front despite the striker handing in a transfer request, whilst Robert Snodgrass returned in midfield in place of the injured Andy Hughes.

Wanderers needed a good start, and it didn't come. It took just three minutes for Leeds to open the scoring, and after a sustained spell of pressure in the Wycombe half, Jonny Howson fired a low shot into the bottom corner, with the ball bouncing just in front of Scott Shearer's outstretched arm to give the hosts the lead.

It could have been the same old story for the Blues, but there was a newfound resilience and determination which put up a fight. Four minutes after the goal, Jon-Paul Pittman crashed an excellent effort against the post after good work by the impressive Stuart Beavon, and moments later, John Mousinho fired over the bar following Beavon's lay-off.

The home side weren't comfortable, and the crowd's groans of displeasure at Wycombe's continued presence in the Leeds half proved that a home win was by no means a certainty, despite their lead.

Jermaine Beckford hit the headlines with his winner against Manchester United last weekend but he was thwarted in the six-yard box by Craig Woodman, who applied enough pressure to force the striker to shoot over the bar following Snodgrass' cross.

But it was a rare foray into the Wycombe box for the hosts, and an equaliser almost came about in the strangest of circumstances, as Scott Davies' corner struck the inside of the far post before being cleared from the goal-line by Jason Crowe on 12 minutes.

Moments later, JP Pittman was sent through one-on-one with defender Richard Naylor but miscued his effort wide of the near post, and fellow attacker Stuart Beavon was denied by the legs of keeper Casper Ankergren with a low drive after a fine through-ball from Davies.

A second goal for the hosts could have been a killer, and Robert Snodgrass wasn't too far away with a free-kick from 25 yards after Lewis Hunt had been booked for allegedly bringing down Beckford.

Soon after, a threaded pass from the imperious Tommy Doherty released Pittman inside the area, but the striker could only get a toe to the ball and guided it into the keeper's arms rather than the back of the net.

Scott Davies then fired over the bar on the half-volley from 18 yards before a spin and volley from Beckford produced a comfortable save from Shearer as the home side attempted to relieve some of the pressure on their own defence.

Neil Kilkenny tested the handling of Shearer with a low stinging drive before the keeper kept out Bradley Johnson's close range ahead of the break, although there could have been an equaliser on the stroke of half-time when John Mousinho fired over the bar following a poor clearance from Patrick Kisnorbo.

After an encouraging first 45 minutes from the Blues, there was no need for change at the break, but the hosts started strongly, presumably after a few strong words from manager Simon Grayson at half-time.

Jermaine Beckford fired widely wide before attempting an audacious chip which Shearer claimed easily, but Mousinho produced a save from Ankergren at the other end to ensure that the match was a two-sided affair.

And the Blues were on level terms on 62 minutes as two flashes of quality combined to bring about the equaliser. An inch-perfect cross-field pass from Scott Davies was beautifully controlled by Pittman on the corner of the box before the striker arrowed an excellent low drive into the far corner, sparking jubilant scenes from the excellent visiting support in that part of the ground.

Wycombe felt they could win the game, and Waddock's reluctance to settle for a point resulted in a tense finale which could have gone either way. In truth, goalscoring chances after the equaliser were hard to come by, with both defences on top, but Beavon and Pittman continued to cause endless problems for the hosts in a very open affair.

Leeds boss Simon Grayson responded by making three substitutions as the game drew to a close, and Beckford almost stole the limelight once again with a fierce shot which was well held by Shearer on 90 minutes, but as the final whistle sounded, there were more sighs of relief in the home end than the away end that they had survived with a point.

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