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Match Report


Posted Sat 16 Apr 11 at 16:58 PM


Wanderers battled back from a two-goal deficit for the second week running but had to settle for a point in a thrilling encounter at Adams Park.

The Cobblers looked to be ending their run of 15 games without a win when they went ahead through Shaun Harrad's penalty and Guillem Bauza's simple tap-in before the break.

But Scott Donnelly levelled matters soon after the interval when he latched on to Scott Rendell's flick and finished coolly from close range.

And Leon Johnson completed the turnaround with a bullet header from Donnelly's corner to stretch the Blues' unbeaten run to six matches.

Wycombe had just edged an uninspiring opening 20 minutes but fell behind when Scott Donnelly was adjudged to have pushed Abdul Osman in the box and Shaun Harrad blasted the resulting spot-kick down the middle to give the visitors a surprise lead.

It came just moments after referee Phil Crossley had taken a lenient stance on Guillem Bauza's elbow on Leon Johnson just moments after a similar offence on Dave Winfield, opting to show only a yellow card to the striker.

Wanderers were almost back in the game on 24 minutes when Lewis Montrose chested down a loose ball 30 yards out and volleyed goalwards, but his effort flew just over the bar as the hosts looked to increase the tempo.

Their frustrations grew when Andy Sandell's free header from six yards hit Scott Rendell and bounced to safety, although in truth the ball was probably heading wide.

Matters got worse when Wanderers' defence fell apart on the counter attack and allowed Harrad to play in Bauza, who had should have been off the field for his previous offences but had the freedom of the penalty area to slot home easily.

The Blues looked stunned and were probably relieved to hear the half-time whistle, although there was a further setback before the interval when Dave Winfield received yet another blow to the face and needed to be replaced at half-time by Chris Westwood.

Scott Donnelly came close to halving the deficit just two minutes into the second period when his shot flashed just wide. At the other end, there were hearts in mouths when Nikki Bull's clearance slammed into Shaun Harrad but the keeper just about recovered to steal the ball from the striker.

And from Bull's clearance, the Blues immediately found their way back into the game. Scott Rendell's flick on found Scott Donnelly inside the area and the midfielder made no mistake in tapping home to reignite the hosts' hopes of taking something from the game.

Northampton responded well and also regained their two-goal lead when Nikki Bull saved Michael Jacobs' volley from an angle, but the introduction of Stuart Beavon breathed new life into the game and his shot from 20 yards was parried by Steve Collis before Scott Donnelly's effort from a similar distance was held by the keeper.

Wycombe were then denied a clear penalty when Beavon was bundled over in the box before Kevin Betsy wasted a great chance to level when he took too many touches when simply smashing the ball home would have surely brought about the leveller.

The Cobblers' intentions were clear, bringing on defender Ben Tozer for striker Guillem Bauza in an attempt to 'park the bus' in front of goal, while Danny Foster tried his luck with a left-footed drive which flew straight at the keeper from 20 yards.

The pressure was mounting, and Steve Collis then had to make a fine save to divert Stuart Lewis' deflected effort around the post, before the leveller came from the resulting corner.

It was routine stuff, with Scott Donnelly's corner being met by a towering header from Leon Johnson to cap the defender's first goal of the season - and perhaps the most important of Wycombe's campaign.

Andy Sandell then sent a free-kick inches past the post with a free-kick from 20 yards as the Blues pushed for the winner, but the visitors just about held on for a point which does neither side too many favours in their respective pursuits of end of season success.

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