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Match Reports

Report: Wycombe 1-1 Accrington

Freeman scores from the spot to maintain Wanderers' unbeaten home record.

17 September 2019

Nick Freeman converted a second-half penalty to secure a point for the Wanderers at home to Accrington Stanley on Tuesday evening.

The forward fired home from the spot following a foul on Scott Kashket, after Dion Charles had planted a header past Ryan Allsop in the first half to open the scoring for the visitors.

Gareth Ainsworth made six changes from the side that started in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Gillingham, handing a first EFL start to Jamie Mascoll at left-back while Giles Phillips, Matt Bloomfield, Scott Kashket, Fred Onyedinma and David Wheeler also came into the team at the expense of Joe Jacobson, Darius Charles, Alex Pattison, Nnamdi Ofoborh, Adebayo Akinfenwa and Alex Samuel.

Wanderers began brightly, seeing Kashket bend an effort just over the bar before David Wheeler capitalised on indecision in defence to win the ball in the area, attempting to feed Bloomfield before Stanley recovered just in time to squeeze it to safety with Kashket also lurking.

The visitors’ first opening came on 13 minutes, with a snapshot from Jordan Clark being well tipped behind by Ryan Allsop, and the same attacker should have done better three minutes later, controlling well and twisting smartly past Anthony Stewart before volleying wide.

Accrington were growing into the game, with Clark at the heart of each attack, while they benefitted from a varied approach, combining Ross Sykes’ long diagonal balls with quick bursts from deep from Jerome Opoku.

Kashket then wriggled free again but missed the target with a low shot towards the near post, and then Dion Charles had an effort deflected wide after Stanley kept a chance alive in the box.

There was a scare when Colby Bishop nodded down expertly for Dion Charles to hammer a chance at goal, and although Stewart made a brave block, the ball stayed in danger as Sam Finley and Clark both attempted without success to get their shot away.

Clark almost had his name on the scoresheet at the wrong end when Phillips returned Mascoll’s deep free-kick into danger and it was flicked across the six-yard line, striking Clark but being cleared in the nick of time.

But when the deadlock was broken, it was no surprise to see Clark at the heart of it, dancing into a crossing position down the right and clipping in a bread-and-butter ball for Charles to nod home ahead of Jack Grimmer.

Wheeler rolled a half-chance wide of the post, deflected by a defender, in first-half stoppage time, but it was the visitors who held the lead at the interval.

The start of the second half saw Scott Kashket and Matt Bloomfield hauled down by two bruising challenges from Mark Hughes and Opoku, earning both a yellow card, but gradually Wanderers were able to gather momentum, with Wheeler sending a tough chance over the bar with his head.

Then Freeman lashed wide from 20 yards though it looked to most eyes in the stadium as though Wanderers should have been awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the box in the build-up following a trip on Onyedinma.

After a couple of promising moves broke down, it was time for the introduction of Adebayo Akinfenwa just after the hour-mark, as Onyedinma made way.

Then controversy struck when Opoku stopped the ball deliberately with his hand and then denied a quick restart of play from the free-kick, but inexplicably avoided a second yellow from referee Brett Huxtable. Wheeler instead was booked for dissent.

But then the referee made amends by awarding Wanderers a penalty moments later for a trip on Kashket, with Clark booked for his protests. Nick Freeman stepped up to the plate, and drilled the ball expertly past Dimitar Evtimov to make it 1-1.

By this stage Stanley needed a change, and it was the injured Bishop who made way for Connor Simpson on 74 minutes, and they should have re-taken the lead when Clark – again – fed McConville, who placed a shot past Allsop but saw it hit the base of the post and go wide.

Kashket then had a chance on the turn but a deflection took the pace off his shot and landed safely for Evtimov, and Akinfenwa planted a header wide as the Chairboys’ pressure grew.

Allsop beat McConville’s straight drive away from goal before Josh Parker came off the bench to replace Kashket on 84 minutes, with the game becoming stretched.

There were eight minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game, in which Stewart’s downward header from Freeman’s free-kick was cleared from under the crossbar, and Akinfenwa’s header from Grimmer’s cross was straight at Evtimov.

But there were no further chances as Wanderers were made to settle for a point, maintaining their unbeaten home record ahead of the visit of Portsmouth on Saturday.

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