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Match Report


Posted Tue 23 Feb 10 at 21:45 PM


Wanderers collected an excellent point and a second consecutive clean sheet against play-off hopefuls Southampton courtesy of a fine all-round performance on Tuesday night.

The home side made a mockery of their underdogs tag with a confident and assured display at Adams Park, and possibly had the better of the opening 45 minutes on a difficult pitch.

Jon-Paul Pittman came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half when the striker - starting in place of the ill Matt Harrold - produced a fine effort which required a terrific save from visiting keeper Kelvin Davis.

Saints' top scorer Rickie Lambert and midfielder Adam Lallana both missed good chances for the visitors, and the point could prove to be valuable for the Blues in their battle against the drop.

Elsewhere in the division, Oldham, Tranmere, Stockport and Southend all lost, while Brighton, Yeovil and Hartlepool recorded victories, leaving Wycombe four points from safety with 13 games remaining.

Gary Waddock was forced into one change from Saturday's 1-0 win over Millwall, with Jon-Paul Pittman replacing Matt Harrold (ill) in attack.

And JP nearly made an immediate impact on his return, however, he could only fire straight at Kelvin Davis after Radhi Jaidi couldn't deal with Craig Woodman's cross.

Buoyed by the weekend win over the Lions, Wycombe dominated the opening exchanges and, in truth, Alan Pardew's Saints were finding it hard to deal with the Blues' intense tempo.

Torrential weather had left the Adams Park pitch slightly cut-up, making it difficult for either side to play their usual passing game and leaving goalkeepers and defences alike with no option but to clear at the earliest opportunity.

After a highly impressive opening 15 minutes from the hosts, Southampton finally worked the Blues defence and Tom Heaton when Dean Hammond's shot was blocked by Chris Westwood and Jason Puncheon fired at the Manchester United loanee.

Wycombe bounced back and Kevin Betsy forced Davis into a good close-range save after Pittman had nodded down Dean Keates' inswinging corner.

The Blues were playing with a real confidence and Alex Revell went close to catching Davis out when his cross went narrowly past the top corner.

Next, it was the turn of Dean Keates to test Davis after he latched onto Craig Woodman's ball over the top. The tenacious midfielder took the ball into his stride but he could only fire a weak shot towards goal which Davis collected at the second attempt.

A neat passing move set up Jason Puncheon on the edge of the box but the Saints midfielder lashed a fierce shot wide of Heaton's goal on 39 minutes. That was the closest the visitors had created and showed well Wycombe had played in the first half.

The second 45 was a more scrappy affair with Wanderers continuing to show the commitment and determination needed against as Saints side struggling to find their feet.

Keates fired into Davis' side-netting after a purposeful run, while at the other end Adam Lallana shot high and wide after Puncheon's cross-field pass was nodded in the winger's path by Lambert.

That seemed to kick-start the Saints and Lambert was presented with a golden chance two minutes later. Puncheon fired in a low cross into the box which the Southampton no.7, uncharacteristically, could only divert into the grateful arms of Heaton from eight yards out.

Moments later and the Blues created the best chance of the game. Keates' defence-splitting pass was met with a stylish volley by JP, forcing Davis into top save to push the striker's effort onto the crossbar and out for a corner. Wonderful football, and something the Blues fans have quickly come accustomed to under the leadership of Waddock.

The unusually quiet Lallana was then gifted a good chance to steal all three points with 15 minutes remaining but, after taking Lambert's ball in his stride, he flashed his shot the wrong side of Heaton's left post.

Wycombe and, in particular, Jon-Paul Pittman responded with a majestic run, picking the ball up on the touchline and charging goalwards but, just as he entered the Saints box, a tired JP dragged his shot wide of the post.

Lambert then tested Heaton with a fiercely struck 35-yard free-kick but the Man Utd loanee was more than up to the challenge.

That proved to be the final action of an exciting stalemate at Adams Park. The 0-0 draw extends the Blues' unbeaten run to three games and moves them to within four points of safety.

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