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Match Report


Posted Sat 21 Aug 10 at 16:54 PM


Wanderers drew 0-0 with local rivals Oxford United on Saturday afternoon as neither side were able to break the deadlock at Adams Park.

Wycombe had the better of the first half and should have taken an early lead when Matt Phillips skewed wide at the far post, although the game came to life after the break with a host of chances for both sides.

Kevin Betsy chipped over for the home side and Nikki Bull denied the visitors with two fine saves, with a draw probably being the fair reflection of an entertaining encounter between two likely promotion candidates.

The game was preceded by an impeccably observed minute's silence for former club secretary, who died last week at the age of 90, and the burst of noise which followed was symbolic of a good old-fashioned derby clash with almost 7,000 supporters in attendance.

And the match itself began at high tempo, with Andy Sandell clearing inside the box after Matt Green had escaped the attention of keeper Nikki Bull with just three minutes on the clock.

Moments later, Wycombe produced a fine move which deserved better than the end product, with Matt Phillips firing wastefully wide from ten yards after Matt Bloomfield had dummied Jon-Paul Pittman's dangerous low cross.

Early injuries to Alan Bennett and Damian Batt disrupted both sides' organisation but Wanderers looked the better side, with Pittman linking up superbly with Ben Strevens up front, but the first goal almost came from an unlikely source when Dave Winfield toe-poked Andy Sandell's deep cross into the side-netting.

Oxford looked rattled as the Blues stroked the ball around with confidence, and their only response was a wasteful effort from Asa Hall which sailed high over the stand. They came closer moments later, when Simon Heslop curled a free-kick just past Nikki Bull's right-hand post, but Wycombe remained the greater threat.

The deadlock was almost broken seven minutes before half-time when Pittman surged forward with some neat footwork before laying the ball off to Kevin Betsy, but the winger could only send his left-footed drive over the bar.

Then Andy Sandell saw a low curling effort pushed behind for a corner by keeper Ryan Clarke, but the game had lost some of its early spark and neither side would have been disappointed to hear the half-time whistle.

Wycombe were caught cold right at the start of the second period when a routine through-ball set Matt Green through on goal, but with Andy Sandell in close attention, the striker could only power his effort off the crossbar before Simon Heslop's follow-up was deflected wide.

The visitors were beginning to impose themselves, and only a great point-blank save from Nikki Bull kept the scores level when Constable fired goalwards from eight yards with 50 minutes on the clock.

But at the other end, Kevin Betsy had a glorious chance to score when he robbed Jake Wright and raced goalwards, only to see his chipped effort land in the stand behind the goal when through one-on-one.

The stage was then set for Gareth Ainsworth to make his mark on the game - his 500th in professional football - when he replaced Lewis Montrose on 57 minutes, taking up his usual position on the right flank with Kevin Betsy moving inside.

Two minutes later Wanderers were indebted to Nikki Bull for a stunning save from James Constable, tipping the striker's fierce drive onto the crossbar, and he was at it again to deny Matt Green with another fine piece of goalkeeping just past the hour-mark.

The game was well and truly alive, and Ryan Clarke had to atone for his poor punch to keep out Matt Phillips' shot at the near post on 66 minutes, while at the other end, Asa Hall headed wide from close range after another tantalising cross.

Gary Waddock may have feared that the momentum was tipping in Oxford's favour and the introduction of Scott Rendell for Jon-Paul Pittman enabled the Blues to hold the ball up more in attacking positions.

Yet as the game ticked towards full-time, there were still chances for a winner, with Jack Midson coming close for the visitors with a header from six yards, and the same player almost snatched it at the death with another header across goal.

The breakthrough never came though, and the M40 derby ended 0-0 - a result neither side can have too many complaints with.

Wycombe: Bull; Foster, Sandell, Winfield, Bennett (Johnson 6); Phillips, Montrose (Ainsworth 56), Bloomfield, Betsy (c); Strevens, Pittman (Rendell 73).

Subs: Arnold (GK), Westwood, Murtagh, Beavon.

Bookings: Winfield, Bloomfield

Oxford: Clarke; Batt (Purkiss 11), Tonkin, Wright, Worley; Hall,, Heslop, Bulman (Baker 65); Midson, Constable, Green.

Subs: Silver (GK), Creighton, Clist, Potter, Cole.

Bookings: Tonkin, Bulman


14.59:A minute's silence is impeccably observed inside Adams Park as supporters remember the life of former secretary John Goldsworthy, who passed away last Sunday at the age of 90.

6mins: SUB - The injured Alan Bennett is replaced by Leon Johnson.

9mins: CHANCE - Matt Phillips blazes wide after a great move started by Kevin Betsy, which resulted in Matt Bloomfield dummying Jon-Paul Pittman's cross and Phillips shooting wide from ten yards.

11mins: SUB - Damian Batt goes down injured for the visitors and is replaced by Ben Purkiss.

18mins: CHANCE - Dave Winfield gets a toe to Andy Sandell's deep cross but diverts it into the side netting.

26mins: CHANCE - Simon Heslop curls a fine free-kick just past the post for the U's.

35mins: CHANCE - James Constable glances a header wide, although Nikki Bull had it covered.

39mins: CHANCE - Jon-Paul Pittman does superbly to carry the ball forward despite a couple of strong challenges and the ball breaks to Kevin Betsy, who fires over the bar.

44mins: SAVE - Andy Sandell's low curling effort is clawed behind for a corner by Ryan Clarke.

46mins: CHANCE - Matt Green hammers an effort off the underside of the crossbar and then Simon Heslop's drive is deflected behind.

52mins: CHANCE - Kevin Betsy chips over the bar from the edge of the box when through one-on-one with the keeper.

57mins: SUB - Gareth Ainsworth comes on for Lewis Montrose, making his 500th professional appearance.

59mins: SAVE - Stunning save from Nikki Bull to deny James Constable, diverting the ball onto the bar.

62mins: SAVE - Bull to the rescue again, this time denying Matt Green.

66mins: SAVE - Phillips' shot is saved by Clarke.

68mins: CHANCE - Asa Hall nods just wide from a teasing cross.

73mins: SUB - Scott Rendell replaces Jon-Paul Pittman.

80mins: SUB - Alfie Potter comes on for Matt Green.

90mins: CHANCE - Jack Midson has two efforts to be the hero for the visitors, but sends his headers wide.

FT: Wycombe Wanderers 0-0 Oxford United.

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