Prior to the weekend’s trip to the Crown Ground, Gary Waddock believed that Accrington Stanley would test Wycombe Wanderers’ promotion credentials.
He professed: “These are the places where, if you are going to do anything in the league, then you need to pick up points. But it is very difficult to do that.” And he wasn’t wrong.
Waddock’s team went into the game undefeated; despite losing their 100 per cent clean sheet record to a late penalty in their last outing. They were also looking to turn a string of three draws into victory, in this tough match against a Stanley side that were now the only Football League side yet to concede a goal.
The Wanderers boss named an unchanged side for the first time this season, acknowledging the challenge and keeping faith in those who disappointed in the late stages last week.
Despite the recent loss of experienced defender Alan Bennett, Wanderers have remained sound in defence, with goal scoring being the surprising weak spot thus far. Wycombe have scored just three goals in four outings, but with proven strikers at this level prevalent in the side, it is only a matter of time before the floodgates open.
It was not to be in this match though, as Wanderers came away with one point and one goal in a 1-1 draw both sides looked to avoid. However, it was Wycombe who came away the more disappointed after conceding their first goal in open play in injury time at the end of ninety minutes.
Matt Bloomfield had given the Chairboys the lead against the run of play in the second half after Stanley keeper Ian Dunbavin got down well to parry Kevin Betsy’s low shot. The ball fell kindly for Bloomfield, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net, ensuring Stanley lost their eight-hour sequence without conceding.
Both sides had hit the woodwork in the first half, and Stanley came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half, before the opening goal, with a 30 yard free kick forcing Nikki Bull into a fine low save.
Yet, Wanderers could have sealed the win late in the game when the ball fell kindly to Bloomfield again, two yards out, but he scuffed his shot wide. They were made to pay for the glaring miss when Stanley substitute Rory Boulding bundled the ball home deep into injury time, after Wycombe’s Lewis Montrose inadvertently headed a Chris Turner cross into his own six yard box where Boulding was waiting to pounce.
The result left manager Gary Waddock with a sense of déjà vu as, in consecutive weeks, he had seen his side throw away vital points at the death: "We have got ourselves into the position to pick up three points and have been unable to do that for the second week. It wasn't professional enough, totally unprofessional and it has resulted in us just picking up a point.”
The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.