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Match Report


Posted Sat 19 Mar 11 at 16:59 PM


Wycombe and Shrewsbury shared the points in an exciting 1-1 draw which saw Gareth Ainsworth clinch a controversial equaliser for the visitors.

The Blues bossed the opening 30 minutes but fell behind when a defensive mix-up gave James Collins the simple task of tapping home from six yards, although they were level five minutes after the break.

Lewis Montrose's effort was deflected into the path of Gareth Ainsworth and the winger's header was adjudged to have crossed the line despite appeals from the hosts.

Both sides had chances to fire the winner, with Nikki Bull producing a superb save to deny Jon Taylor, leaving the two teams four points apart with nine games remaining.

Gary Waddock made three changes for the clash in Shropshire, with Leon Johnson, Lewis Montrose and Scott Rendell returning to the starting XI at the expense of Chris Westwood, Stuart Lewis and Ben Strevens.

Wycombe were on the frontfoot from the get-go, dominating possession and creating numerous opportunities early on as they looked to open up a seven-point gap on their promotion rivals.

The lively Kevin Betsy carved out Wycombe's first chance for Lewis Montrose, whose goalbound effort ricocheted back off the midfielder after hitting a Shrewsbury defender and into the grateful arms of Ben Smith.

Betsy himself then drove an effort over the top before Stuart Beavon flashed a shot past the post after being picked out by strike partner Scott Rendell as the Chairboys continued to control proceedings.

But Wycombe's best chance of a hugely impressive first 20 minutes came moments later when a cross to the back post from Beavon found Betsy, who directed a close-range volley just wide of Smith's left-hand post.

The Blues were made to pay for their missed opportunities on the half-hour mark when Aston Villa loanee Sam Collins turned home from six yards after Wanderers had failed to clear their lines following Matt Bloomfield's mis-queued clearance.

Despite going behind, Wycombe's pressure didn't waiver and only a goalline clearance from Dave Raven denied Gareth Ainsworth's cross-cum-shot levelling matters at the break.

Collins thought he had doubled the lead within moments of the restart when he tapped home from close range following Mat Sadler's low cross, but he was denied by an offside flag as the Shrews fans were forced to end their premature celebrations.

And the officials were involved in the next major controversy which saw the Wanderers draw level. Lewis Montrose's powerful drive was deflected into the path of Gareth Ainsworth and the winger nodded it goalwards, with the clambering Ben Smith insisting that he had grabbed it on the line. However, the assistant referee indicated that the goal should stand, and the game was well and truly alive.

Moments later, Nikki Bull produced a fine fingertip to save to push Nicky Wroe's shot over the bar before Matt Harrold spurned a great chance to put his side in front when he lashed wide whilst in space on the edge of the box.

Having seen Ian Sharps escape punishment for a shove in Stuart Beavon's face earlier in the game, the Shrews were lucky to keep 10 men on the field when David Davis stamped on Gareth Ainsworth's face when both players went to ground.

The game was delicately poised although chances weren't too forthcoming for either side, with Nikki Bull making a couple of routines saves for the Blues while Matt Bloomfield saw a shot blocked and Dave Winfield headed over at the other end.

David Davis should have hit the net when he found space from Mark Wright's free-kick but he sent his free header wide of the near post, before Gareth Ainsworth rifled a low drive into Ben Smith's arms as the game entered the closing stages.

There was yet more drama when Dave Winfield was let off the hook after bringing down James Collins 20 yards out, and then a counter-attack from the Shrews resulted in Nikki Bull superbly denying Jon Taylor before the midfielder hit the rebound over the top.

Stuart Beavon then tested the handling of Ben Smith with a near-post drive from 20 yards, but while both sides went in side of a winner, this absorbing game ended in a draw which keeps the promotion chase well and truly alive.

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