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Match Report


Posted Sat 20 Feb 10 at 17:07 PM


Ten-man Wycombe held on for a massive three points against promotion hopefuls Millwall in an incident-packed afternoon at Adams Park.

Debutant full-back Julian Kelly scored the only goal of the game when his cross evaded everyone and found the back of the net in first half stoppage time, and Blues defied the odds with a resilient and dogged second half display to keep the Lions at bay.

Keeper Tom Heaton became an instant hit with Wanderers' fans on his home debut with a fine save from Neil Harris' penalty after Craig Woodman had fouled Shaun Batt inside the box on 68 minutes.

Then substitute Gareth Ainsworth was sent off just six minutes into his second debut for the home side, when the referee harshly adjudged his raised arm on Tony Craig to be worthy of a red card, sparking a 22-man confrontation in the middle of the pitch.

Lions striker Neil Harris was booked for pushing a ballboy as the tension grew towards the final whistle, but Wycombe held on and are now five points from safety with 14 games remaining.

Blues boss Gary Waddock made two changes from Saturday's 1-1 draw at Brentford - new signings Alan Bennett and Julian Kelly replacing Luke Oliver and Lewis Hunt in defence.

Kevin McLeod impressed on his debut at Griffin Park and the winger looked dangerous once again in the early stages against the Lions.

As Wycombe pressed, Kenny Jackett's men showed their class on the counter. Chris Hackett beat Dean Keates before playing in Shaun Batt down the right-hand side whose cross had to be turned behind by debutant Kelly.

Strike pairing Alex Revell and Matt Harrold continued from where they left off in west London, harrying Millwall's back four but, in truth, the opening exchanges were contested largely in the middle of the park as the game turned scrappy.

And it wasn't until the 20 minute mark that either keeper was called into any real action. Hackett picked up the ball in midfield for the visitors and drove a stinging shot goalwards which Manchester United loanee Heaton parried comfortably.

The next opportunity fell to Wycombe when Kevin Betsy latched onto a lucky break down the right-hand side and crossed for Harrold who fell as he tried to steer the ball past Forde from six yards.

On-loan Peterborough striker Shaun Batt was then presented with a golden opportunity to open the scoring on the half hour mark. Hackett's cross from the right was met well by Batt but he guided his header wide of Heaton's goal from only eight yards out.

Five minutes before the break and a Craig Woodman cross caused mayhem in the Millwall box, with ex-Wycombe defender Tony Craig forced to head behind for a Wanderers corner.

Gary Waddock's men were due a slice of luck and it arrived in added time when a deep cross from Reading loanee Kelly evaded everyone and nestled in the back of Forde's net.

Sides always seem at their most vulnerable when they score and Wycombe were nearly made to pay for their drop in concentration when Shaun Batt headed against the crossbar after a knock back from strike partner Steve Morison.

Millwall began the second half in positive fashion and a miss-kick from Hackett at the back post let Wycombe off the hook as the visitors pressed.

However, minutes later Wanderers should have been 2-0 up. Keates' corner was headed back across goal by Chris Westwood only for Alan Bennett to get his bearings wrong and head the ball away from goal rather than into the Millwall net.

At the other end, Hackett was continuing to look dangerous and somehow neither Liam Trotter nor Neil Harris could turn in his teasing cross with the goal gaping.

Then a moment of McLeod magic nearly made Millwall pay for their missed opportunities. He flicked up Betsy's cross with his favoured left before sending a ferocious volley inches past Forde's left post from the edge of the 18-yard box.

Just as Millwall looked like they were starting to run out of ideas, they were handed a lifeline on 69 minutes when Batt was upended in the box by skipper Craig Woodman. But Harris saw his spot-kick saved by Heaton in superb style, the Manchester Utd loanee diving to his right to parry away Harris' effort.

Gareth Ainsworth was introduced moments later, replacing Kevin Betsy on the right-hand side of midfield and he was involved straight away, drawing a foul from Tony Craig.

And only five minutes into Ainsworth's second Blues debut the game erupted. Play was initially stopped after he was penalised for a foul on Tony Craig before second half substitute Danny Schofield took matters into his own hands and shoved Ainsworth to the ground.

Schofield's needless involvement sparked a 22-man brawl which eventually left Ainsworth red-carded for an alleged elbow and Schofield only cautioned for his display of severe ill discipline.

Jon-Paul Pittman replaced Harrold up top and Revell was pulled back into midfield as the Blues looked to hold onto their 1-0 lead with only 10 men.

Schofield was involved again on 80 minutes but he sliced his shot horribly wide of the target after a neat touch from Harris.

Lady Luck was again beaming bright on the Blues three minutes later when Alan Dunne's deflected cross hit the crossbar and went behind for a corner.

Tempers looked like spilling over when Neil Harris pushed a Wanderers ballboy for holding onto the ball before an idiotic fan tried to get at the youngster. Bottles and cans were also thrown onto the field by the Millwall fans as the temperature rose considerably inside Adams Park.

Kelly nearly killed off the visitors when he burst into the penalty box and cut back inside but he could only fire straight at Forde.

Wanderers had to endure five minutes of added time and they had Heaton to thank once again in the closing stages after he pulled off a top save to deny substitute Jonathan Obika at his near post.

It was only fitting that man-of-the-match Heaton would have the last say in a game that saw the Blues show all the battling qualities that will be so vital over the next 14 games.

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