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Match Reports

Report: Wycombe 0-0 Blackpool

All-square on day one.

4 August 2018

Wanderers kicked off life in League 1 with a 0-0 draw with Blackpool at Adams Park - the third consecutive goalless stalemate between the two sides in league meetings.

Wycombe had the greater chances over the 90 minutes but couldn't discover their clinical streak of last season to force the ball beyond Mark Howard, though the visitors did threaten on occasions with Chris Taylor going closest from a free-kick.

Michael Harriman was sent off in the closing stages for a second yellow card but a draw was the least the the Chairboys deserved ahead of a trip to Doncaster Rovers next week.

The two starting XIs could barely have been more contrasting in terms of experience within their club, as Wanderers fielded 10 of the side that finished last season with Ryan Allsop making a second debut in goal, while Blackpool handed debuts to eight of their summer signings.

And it was Wycombe who started strongest, with Paris Cowan-Hall’s pace causing problems in behind the Tangerines’ backline. Firstly he shot straight at the keeper whilst trying to catch him off-guard with an early shot, and then lashed wide with his left foot after beating the offside trap in the box.

Chris Taylor talked his way into the book as the visitors appealed for an alleged elbow on 7 minutes, but referee Nicholas Kinseley waved away their protests and dished out the first yellow card of the new season to the former Oldham man.

A stop-start then ensued, but the hosts remained on top and a delicious cross from deep from Sam Saunders gave Adebayo Akinfenwa his first half-chance, holding off his man but sending his stooping header wide.

Blackpool’s attempts to play the ball out from the back at times were hampered by boundless energy from Wanderers, closing them down, winning it back and attacking at speed, showing no signs of any summer hangover. Akinfenwa again went close, glancing a deep free-kick into the side netting, before the referee called a drinks break, allowing for both sides to regroup on a sweltering afternoon.

The interruption didn’t dent Wycombe’s swagger, though. Moments after the restart, Akinfenwa connected well with a low volley which was deflected behind by the legs of keeper Mark Howard.

It took until the 34th minute for the Tangerines to register a shot and it was a harmless header from Nathan Delfouneso which sailed wide, before Randell Williams miscued a difficult chance off-target after Anthony Stewart returned Joe Jacobson’s deep free-kick into danger.

Adam El-Abd was booked for a foul on Joe Dodoo as the striker looked to break away, and Chris Taylor’s free-kick put hearts in mouths as it curled exquisitely towards the top corner, missing by inches as it bounced clear off the angle of bar and post.

Akinfenwa headed a Jacobson free-kick wide and Marcus Bean saw a shot blocked with the final chance of the half – one in which the Blues had impressed, and displayed a typically gritty work ethic, without really finding the cutting edge to trouble Howard.

Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer swapped Michael Nottingham for John O’Sullivan at the break, but he was fortunate not to see his side fall behind as Akinfenwa planted a free header wide from Jacobson’s superb corner from the right.

Chris Taylor’s low shot from distance was well held by Ryan Allsop, and the keeper safely gathered Delfouneso’s glancing header as the visitors upped their game, but Wycombe roared back, seeing Matt Bloomfield’s shot blocked before Michael Harriman’s fantastic shot from distance was tipped behind.

Chris Taylor made way for Jordan Thompson on 63 minutes before Cowan-Hall headed Bloomfield’s cross wide, and then Joe Jacobson’s excellent through-ball gave Randell Williams a shooting chance in the box, but Howard diverted it behind with an outstretched boot.

From the corner, Akinfenwa’s diving header was blocked, ahead of a second drinks break of the match, with an intriguing quarter of the match still to play with deadlock intact.

Two more changes ensued; one for each side – Armand Gnanduillet for Joe Dodoo and Nick Freeman for Cowan-Hall – before Harry Pritchard’s well-hit volley was thankfully too close to Allsop, and the keeper held.

Then on came Craig Mackail-Smith, replacing Adebayo Akinfenwa in attack, before Nick Freeman’s cross almost dipped beneath the crossbar, needing a touch from Howard to keep it out.

Ben Heneghan headed over at the other end as the clock ticked towards 90, before referee Kinseley awarded a second yellow to Blues’ right-back Michael Harriman for a push on Delfouneso, prompting Wanderers’ third change with Sido Jombati replacing Randell Williams.

Four minutes of added time gave the visitors hope of finding a late winner, particularly with the help of a soft free-kick awarded in their favour late on, but Adam El-Abd made a fine diving block to keep out Jordan Thompson’s low shot to secure the draw.

Attendance: 5,115 (459 away)

Winning 50/50 Draw Numbers
Blue £1 – 00808 (£699.50 prize money)
Orange £2 – 2512 (£97.00 prize money)


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