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Match Reports

Report: Wycombe 3-3 Cheltenham

28 October 2017

Cheltenham came back from 3-1 down to take a point from Adams Park after a see-saw encounter in Sky Bet League Two.

Brian Graham tapped the Robins into a first-half lead but Wanderers turned the game on its head when Ebere Eze and Adebayo Akinfenwa netted in quick succession at the start of the second period.

Akinfenwa stretched the lead but the Robins salvaged a point when Carl Winchester’s low shot flew into the bottom corner and Graham headed home late on.

Injuries played their part in Gareth Ainsworth’s team selection with Dan Scarr, Anthony Stewart and Sido Jombati all ruled out, so Will De Havilland was thrust straight into the heart of defence after returning early from a loan spell at Aldershot.

Ebere Eze and Craig Mackail-Smith also returned to the starting line-up, and the pair combined early on as Eze worked his way into the box but was caught offside before slipping the ball to Adebayo Akinfenwa to tap home.

At the other end, Will De Havilland dived in bravely to thwart a Mo Eisa effort, before Joe Jacobson went close with a 25-yard curling free-kick, with Scott Flinders palming the ball behind.

Wycombe kept up the pressure and Will Boyle blocked a low goalbound shot from Nick Freeman after Akinfenwa laid the ball into his path, and then roles were reversed when the striker curled a volley over the bar from Freeman’s assist.

But Wanderers then fell behind to a goal which was all too simple for Brian Graham to convert from close range, as Jordan Cranston’s deep free-kick was turned back into danger by Jamie Grimes.

It had come against the run of play and the Blues attempted to remain on the front foot despite their deficit, with Akinfenwa just unable to stretch to meet Jacobson’s curling free-kick at the back post.

Cheltenham’s second effort of the game almost brought about their second goal, when the ball broke kindly for Danny Wright six yards out with just the keeper to beat, but Scott Brown stayed big to block the shot, before Wanderers broke and Craig Mackail-Smith lofted wide from Ebere Eze’s superb cross-field pass.

But whatever Gareth Ainsworth said to his troops at half-time it worked.

Within six minutes they were not only level but leading thanks to quickfire goals from Ebere Eze and Adebayo Akinfenwa.

The first arrived when Eze ran from halfway and fed Sam Saunders on the right-hand side of the box, and he squared for Eze to finish from close range to make it 1-1.

Cheltenham were still stunned when the second goal came, and this time it was Nick Freeman who was the creator, seeing his low shot deflect onto the post before it fell kindly into the path of Akinfenwa, who couldn’t miss from a yard out.

And it wasn’t long until he had his second goal, and ninth of the season. Wanderers broke quickly through Sam Saunders’ long diagonal pass to Freeman, and he and Eze combined smartly to enable Craig Mackail-Smith to cross low into the path of the Beast, whose low shot deflected into the bottom corner.

However, if the three points seemed a formality at this point, then Wycombe were in for a scare.

Firstly Mo Eisa sent a swerving effort goalwards which was held by Brown, before the Robins made a triple substitution in a bid to salvage something from the game.

Within a minute, they’d halved the deficit when ex-Wycombe loanee Jerell Sellars teed up Carl Winchester for a first-time drive from 20 yards, which flew past Brown into the bottom corner.

Paris Cowan-Hall replaced Craig Mackail-Smith straightaway, with the hosts knowing they might need another goal to shore up the points, and Cheltenham kept themselves in with a chance of snatching something as Mo Eisa found himself unable to find the height to beat Brown after pouncing on a loose header.

But Eisa was involved in the equaliser in the 89th minute, though Wycombe appealed in vain for a push before he delivered the cross for Brian Graham to head home at the back post, with the ball rebounding off the woodwork before beating Will De Havilland on the line.

Akinfenwa had a half-chance to win it moments later when Dom Gape found him with a cross, but ultimately the Blues were left to rue two points dropped despite scoring three in a game for the eighth time this season.

Winning 50/50 Draw Numbers
Blue £1 (£622.00): 17069
Orange £2 (91.00): 30378

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