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Wanderers denied at the death by late leveller
Accrington Stanley 1, Wycombe Wanderers 1.
ANTHONY Stewart scored for the second week running but it wasn't enough as Accrington levelled at the death.
The defender latched onto a corner at the far post to net for the second game in succession, and it looked like this time he had the satisfaction of it being the winning goal.
That was until the third minute of injury time when Peter Murphy popped up to grab a share of the spoils for the home side, who extended their unbeaten run to five matches as they try to claw their way away from the bottom.
It was tough to take for Wanderers, who had been the better side in a game that wasn’t pretty at times on a wet and wild afternoon in Lancashire.
Blues boss Gareth Ainsworth made four changes from last week’s loss as Marvin McCoy replaced the injured Nick Arnold and midfielders Billy Knott and Matt Bloomfield missed out through injury and suspension respectively.
That enabled a change back to two in attack and Matt McClure and Dean Morgan were picked to lead the line.
Play swung from end to end in the opening minutes as the rain poured down and it wasn’t until Paris Cowan-Hall took the game by the scruff of the neck and went on a 60 yard burst down the flank that Wanderers opened up their opponents, although Josh Scowen scuffed wide from his team mate’s cross.
Cowan-Hall had the game’s first on-target effort which was spilled by Marcus Bettinelli, and Wanderers players were convinced they should have had a penalty after the Stanley keeper upended Matt McClure trying to reach the loose ball.
Another appeal went up as Morgan appeared to be tugged back trying to get onto the end of McCoy’s low cross, with Scowen being booked for dissent after making his displeasure known a bit too vociferously.
Blues had the better of the game as the lively Cowan-Hall had a shot deflected into the side netting and Sam Wood blazed off target after the home side failed to clear a corner.
They almost took the lead in controversial circumstances as play continued with Stanley defender Murphy down injured in a heap on the halfway line, with furious home players chasing after referee Chris Sarginson after the ball went dead when McClure fired inches over the top.
Good work from Morgan created the space for Stuart Lewis to fire in from the edge of the box, only for the skipper’s shot to be tipped behind by a flying Bettinelli save. Wanderers came even closer to breaking the deadlock from the resulting corner, which Kortney Hause was inches away from burying into the bottom corner but it flashed wide.
The home side rarely threatened and a header from James Gray that was glanced a long way wide of goal was the most they could muster in response.
Their only on target effort of the first half came as Kal Naismith let rip towards the top corner with the referee blowing for time, with Matt Ingram clawing his shot around the post anyway with the kind of great save that has become a feature of the youngster’s play.
Conditions managed to be even worse after the break and Morgan ballooned a shot into the open terrace containing an ever decreasing number of Wanderers fans, as the visitors sought shelter from the pouring rain.
Wycombe’s top scorer came ever closer to opening the scoring as Cowan-Hall’s precise pass sent him clear of the defence, but having taken it around Bettinelli he ran out of room and could only fire into the side netting.
Stanley threatened a comeback as McCoy made a good block to foil Piero Mingoia and Gray seized on a lapse in concentration from Stewart to burst through clean on goal, with Ingram dashing off his line as swiftly as the lightning that was now starting to flash around the Crown Ground to make a smart smothering save.
Ingram’s opposite number Bettinelli was also in top form as he firstly got down low to block McCoy’s drive from the edge of the box before leaping to his feet to touch away McClure’s close range effort from the rebound.
McClure’s next chance was deflected wide but it was from the resultant corner that Wanderers finally made the breakthrough, with Stewart repeating his goalscoring trick from last week against Bury as he slid in at the back post to fire Scowen’s delivery in off the upright.
Wood curled wide of the far post and McClure jabbed the wrong side of the post at the culmination of another incisive Wanderers counter attack, before Ingram had to make another top drawer stop to foil Mongoia as the Blues keeper clawed away his rising effort.
Blues could have extended their lead as Morgan’s shot was deflected inches wide and Hause volleyed just over the top from a corner.
And they were left to rue those missed chances as deep into stoppage time Stanley piled everyone forward and Murphy blasted home from close range to draw level.
Wanderers: Ingram, McCoy, Hause, Stewart, Dunne, Cowan-Hall (sub Kretzschmar), Lewis, Scowen, Wood, Morgan (sub Pittman), McClure (sub Craig). Substitutes not used: Horlock, Cann-Svard, Kuffour, Doherty.
Attendance: 1,268 (156 from Wycombe)
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