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Match Report


Posted Sat 23 Jan 10 at 16:58 PM


A superb equaliser from debutant midfielder Josh Payne handed Wanderers a 1-1 draw at Southend United, just four minutes after the visitors fell behind to Alan McCormack's opener for the home side.

McCormack finished smartly from an Osei Sankofa cross on the hour-mark but Payne, starting in midfield alongside fellow new arrival Dean Keates, fired home in style from a poor clearance to level matters in Essex.

Gary Waddock's men had a number of chances to win the game but without striker Jon-Paul Pittman, who missed the game courtesy of a groin injury, they were unable to find the winner.

The Blues boss included new signings Josh Payne and Dean Keates in his starting line-up, and there was also a place for Kevin Betsy, who replaced the injured Pittman in attack.

Former Southend frontman Matt Harrold had the first opportunity of the game, but he headed Stuart Beavon's cross over the bar on 12 minutes.

The hosts responded and had Francis Laurent got a better connection to Scott Malone's teasing cross the Blues would have been 1-0 down.

Malone was looking dangerous down the left and he forced Blues keeper Scott Shearer into a decent save away to his right as Steve Tilson's men began to stamp their authority on proceedings.

However, Wycombe soon got a foothold in the game and created a string of good openings.

Firstly, Keates glanced a header just wide of Steve Mildenhall's goal after nice work from the impressive Kevin Betsy on the edge of Southend's 18-yard box.

Betsy again served up another good chance moments later, this time for Stuart Beavon, but the Blues striker scuffed his effort wide of the target.

Wycombe continued to press forward and Beavon drew a fine save from the legs of Mildenhall before the Blues were denied what looked to be a stone wall penalty when Betsy was pushed in the area by left-back Scott Malone.

Ex-Wanderer Franck Moussa fired a warning shot five minutes before the break when he tested Shearer from 25 yards. And on the stroke of half-time he went even closer, forcing the Glaswegian into a fingertip save round the post to keep the scores level at the interval.

The second period began relatively quietly but the home side should have taken the lead on 57 minutes.

Damian Scannell created the opening down the left but when Shearer pushed the ball out, Laurent, standing only six yards out and with an open goal in front of him, somehow skied the ball over the bar. A candidate for miss of the season.

However, two minutes later Southend did take the lead when Alan McCormack powerfully headed an Osei Sankofa cross past Shearer.

New recruit Matt Paterson should have made it 2-0 a minute later but he flashed his shot wide after being put through down the left channel.

And Paterson was made to pay on 64 minutes for his miss when West Ham loanee Josh Payne rifled home a stinging 25-yard drive to level the scores.

Now Waddock's men had restored parity, there only looked one team who was going to win it. Lewis Hunt brought a fine save from Mildenhall following a surging run from right-back before Harrold wasted a golden opportunity to hand the Blues the advantage, heading Keates' corner inches wide from only six yards out.

The busy Stuart Beavon then whistled a 20-yard drive past Southend's right post as the Wanderers began to turn the screw.

Southend themselves were also pushing forward for the winner as the game became very stretched, but it Wycombe's substitute Matt Phillips who was next to be denied. The 18-year-olds close-range header was kept out by a wonderful goal-line save before Simon Francis' attempted clearance was nearly diverted into his own goal by the legs of Matt Harrold.

The last chance of a pulsating 95 minutes at Roots Hall fell to Betsy, but his shot was weak and straight into the arms of a grateful Mildenhall.

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