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Johnson snatches point for ten man Blues
Wycombe Wanderers 1, Scunthorpe United 1.
LEON Johnson scored a dramatic injury time equaliser as ten man Wanderers brought resurgent Scunthorpe's winning run to an end.
The defender proved to be Blues' unlikely goalscoring hero as he powered home a header in the fifth minute of stoppage time to grab a share of the spoils.
It looked as though Blues were going to be left with that losing feeling again as Josh Scowen was sent off for two poorly timed tackles in the space of a few second half minutes.
His side were already facing an uphill task after falling behind minutes after the interval, as Deon Burton took advantage of a lucky ricochet to stroke home what had looked set to be the winning goal.
Until Johnson's late, late intervention Wanderers could at least have argued luck wasn’t on their side as their two biggest attacking threats, Steven Craig and Paris Cowan-Hall, were forced off through injury.
Without them on the pitch a promising start for Blues crumbled away to nothing, and in truth Wanderers failed to pose any serious threat once the duo had been withdrawn until stoppage time.
After Scowen’s dismissal defeat seemed an inevitability and it appeared as though a string of fine saves from goalkeeper Matt Ingram late on would be the only second half bright spot for Blues.
Those saves proved crucial as Johnson scored only his fourth ever goal for Wanderers to ensure parity, and although Blues are still winless in eight his strike will undoubtedly have given them a lift.
Sam Winnall, sliding in at the far post, was just unable to touch home an inviting low cross from Terry Hawkridge in the game’s first opening, while at the other end Scowen used his left foot to dink the ball over an opponent’s head before using his right to loop a volley onto the roof of the net.
Wanderers came even closer to breaking the deadlock as excellent work from Craig saw him hold off a defender and set strike partner Matt McClure free, but the top scorer drilled his effort inches wide of the upright.
Former Scunthorpe man Paris Cowan-Hall, a bright spark for Blues early on, broke into a yawning gap down the right as a visiting attack collapsed before his glorious pass sent Sam Wood free, but he could only fire straight into keeper Sam Slocombe’s midriff for an easy save.
Pressure was starting to build from the hosts as good move out from the back ended with Craig turning his man from Wood’s pass and finding Cowan-Hall, whose shot was blocked by Niall Canavan.
In a rare opening for Scunny Blues keeper Matt Ingram made a good stop low down to keep out an angled shot from midfielder Dave Syers, before Sean McAllister dragged his effort wide from the edge of the box as Wanderers struggled to clear their lines from a free kick.
Just before the break the fulcrum of Blues’ attack, Craig, had to come off with what looked like a thigh injury, with Dean Morgan replacing him.
And further proof Wanderers’ luck wasn’t in came minutes after the restart as Scunthorpe took the lead in freak circumstances. McAllister’s shot from distance hit the unwitting Winnall’s heel but deflected fortuitously into Burton’s path, and left all alone the veteran striker had time to slam past Ingram for the opener.
Syers could have added to that shortly afterwards as his first shot from the left was blocked and his second attempt was an airshot, with Ingram able to gather up the loose ball.
More injury woe came Blues’ way as Cowan-Hall was next to limp off injured, being replaced by Jo Kuffour.
It prompted some tinkering to the Wycombe forward line and Kuffour’s first involvement of note saw him keep the ball in play on the left hand side with skill and grace before pulling it back for McClure, who fired high and wide.
A Scunthorpe break led to Ingram stopping Winnall’s shot with his foot after the striker broke the offside trap and the keeper also reacted well to keep out a Syers header.
By the time he produced his second save Wanderers were down to ten men for the sixth time this season as Scowen picked up two bookings for mistimed tackles in the space of less than five minutes, and he could have few complaints at being shown the first red card of his career.
And Ingram continued to come out on top in his personal duel against Winnall as he made an excellent tip over to foil the striker, although Anthony Stewart had a great chance to snatch an equaliser as six minutes of injury time started as he sent a header from a corner wise at the far post.
In the fifth of those six minutes, Wanderers somehow managed to find an equaliser. Stuart Lewis did not give up as the ball dropped to him on the edge of the box and he stood the ball up despite pressure, and Johnson was in the right place to crash home a header.
Wanderers: Ingram, Arnold, Stewart, Johnson, Hause, Cowan-Hall (sub Kuffour), Lewis, Scowen, Wood, McClure (sub Morias), Craig (sub Morgan). Substitutes not used: Horlock, Bloomfield, Knott, Kretzschmar.
Attendance: 2,882 (273 from Scunthorpe)
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