Fri 20 Jun 14
at 18:48 PM
Wanderers collected a fourth clean sheet in five games with a point earned against a spirited Mansfield Town.
They were indebted to some fine first-half saves from Matt Ingram as the Stags held the upper hand for large periods of the game, but the result stretches the Chairboys' unbeaten run to 10 matches in Sky Bet League 2.
Gareth Ainsworth was able to name an unchanged side from the XI that drew 1-1 at Bury the previous week, although skipper Paul Hayes stayed at home as he continues his recovery from a calf injury. The Stags, meanwhile, made two changes in a bid to reverse their fortunes following a home defeat to Exeter in their last outing, and their side included just three players who had started in the reverse fixture in September.
On that day the Stags had come flying out the block and raced into an early lead, but the early action on this occasion came in the form of a number of midfield scuffles with the Stags clearly in the mood to rattle the league leaders.
Goalscoring chances were few and far between, with Joe Jacobson registering the first real shot on target, but keeper Adam Smith got two hands behind his firmly-hit free-kick from 25 yards.
The Stags stopper was called upon again two minutes later to dive to his left to keep out Marcus Bean’s low drive, before Peter Murphy went into the book as the referee grew tired of his ongoing battles with Ricky Ravenhill in midfield.
There was a scare on 34 minutes when a bouncing cross from deep found Vadaine Oliver unmarked at the back post but he was unable to find the net, sending a spinning header against the far post before Aaron Pierre hacked it clear.
Mansfield began to get on top and hit the post again when Wycombe failed to clear a corner after Matty Blair’s shot had been deflected behind by Aaron Pierre’s sliding block, and they finished the half strongly with the visitors on the ropes.
Matt Ingram saved from Oliver before Billy Kee saw two chances blocked by Alfie Mawson and Aaron Pierre, and then from the resulting corner, Ingram somehow clawed away Michael Raynes’ header before reacting quickly to keep out Oliver’s effort on the rebound.
Wycombe will have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle, but the second period began with Mansfield sustaining the same pressure, seeing Matty Blair’s shot deflected en route to Ingram following a counter-attack.
A difficult pitch made it tough for both sides to find any fluency to their game but Stags continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock, as niggly tackles and aerial battles became the order of the day.
Alfie Mawson looped a header over the bar and a Jacobson free-kick hit the wall as the Blues struggled to create even half-chances against a resolute Stags defence, but it was their own backline which deserved the plaudits for keeping the hosts at bay in what was an otherwise below-par display compared to the high standards set in the rest of the season so far.