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09 September 2017 Venue Rodney Parade Attendance

Kick off 15:00

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REPORT| Exiles and Wycombe Wanderers play out an entertaining draw

9 September 2017

The Exiles and Wycombe Wanderers had to settle for a point apiece, as both teams played out an entertaining 0-0 draw at Rodney Parade.

Both goalkeepers were the stars of the show, pulling off numerous superb saves during the 90 minutes.

Joe Day twice denied Craig Mackail-Smith from point-blank range, with Paris Cowan-Hall also coming close for the Chairboys.

Exiles attackers Frank Nouble and Padraig Amond had the best County opportunities, but away goalkeeper Scott Brown was also in fine form, as both play-off occupying teams before the game secured a well-deserved point.

Mike Flynn elected to make one change to the team that lost to Exeter City last weekend – and the change was enforced through injury.

Mark O’Brien missed out through an unspecified injury, with David Pipe coming back into the starting team. That also brought about a change in the formation of the County side, with what appeared to be a 4-3-3 system implemented.

After naming an unchanged team in their previous two league games, Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth also had to make an enforced change this time out. That saw the ‘Beast’ Adebayo Akinfenwa miss out through injury, with Josh Umerah replacing the front-man.

They did, however, keep to the same formation used previously, matching County with a 4-3-3 line-up.

And it was the visitors who made the livelier start, Paris Cowan-Hall testing the palms of Joe Day within the opening 60 seconds with a shot from just outside the area.

Nouble, winner of the August player of the month competition yesterday, started in his typical fashion, causing havoc to the Wycombe right-back Michael Harriman.

And on six minutes, Nouble expertly got past the full-back and fired a good effort at goal. Chairboys goalkeeper Scott Brown made a decent save, with Padraig Amond failing to capitalise on the rebound whilst under pressure by the centre-halves.

That was all for the entertainment in the opening 10 minutes, County looking to press home on their decisive start, Nouble the architect of all the good things about the County performance in the opening period.

A Joe Jacobson delivery for Wycombe from around 40 yards nearly found striker Craig Mackail-Smith in the area on 12 minutes, with the 33-year old coming inches away from giving the Chairboys the lead.

An injury to County captain Joss Labadie on 15 minutes brought a temporary halt to proceedings, with the midfielder okay to resume after a short break.

Another Jacobson free-kick was deflected behind upon the restart, with County convincingly dealing with the resulting corner.

In fairness to the visitors, they were slowly beginning to get a foothold in the game, although County were looking strong whenever in possession.

Sean Rigg had a header blocked wide on 22 minutes after impeccable work again by Nouble down the left-hand side, Mickey Demetriou blazing over from the corner.  

The game’s first yellow card came in the 24th minute, as Wycombe’s Dominic Gape was booked for a late challenge on Rigg just inside the County half.

On the counter, Mackail-Smith burst away from the County defence, crossing for Cowan-Hall in the area, although the attacker couldn’t direct his header goalward.

Joe Day made a stunning save on 28 minutes to prevent the opening goal of the game, jumping across unsighted to tip a Luke O’Nien shot away from the bottom corner.

He had to deny O’Nien again just a minute later, this time a shot from 30 yards that Day did well to tip over the crossbar.

In County’s next opportunity, they almost took the lead, as Amond headed onto the roof of the net following an inviting Rigg delivery.

A Nouble shot from 40 yards was blocked confidently by Wycombe captain Adam El-Abd moments later, before curling wide with his next chance.

Dan Butler would be next to try his luck for County, his 40-yard effort being blocked, Amond glancing a header straight at Brown after a couple of deliveries into the area.

Another injury scare for Labadie caused another halt to proceedings on 42 minutes, with the County captain having to withdraw this time, Reece Cole replacing him in the midfield.

Three minutes were indicated at the end of the first-half, with Brown producing a finger-tip save to deny Amond at the end of the second minute.

Substitute Cole had his first sighting of goal right at the end of the half, Brown again reading it well to palm away.

That was all for the first-half proceedings, which on reflection was a finely balanced contest, County with the majority of the openings on goal.

Nouble was the brightest spark of the opening half, always looking lively with the ball at his feet and attacking down the County left-hand side.

No substitutions were made at half-time by either side, with County creating the opening opportunity of the second-half. After Reece Cole had played a cross-field ball to Willmott, the winger lopped an inviting delivery into the area which Nouble was unlucky to head narrowly wide from.

Wycombe weren’t far behind in creating their opening chance, Butler doing well to block Umerah’s shot from just inside the area.

On 51 minutes Amond again came close for County, Brown needing to pull off a low save from Amond’s headed attempt.

A stunning double save from Day kept the scores level on 58 minutes. First, he stopped Umerah’s header which Demetriou then cleared off the line, before denying Mackail-Smith at point-blank range around 15 seconds later.

On the hour, a contentious penalty decision prevented County getting a spot-kick, Nouble seemingly pushed over in the area by El-Abd.

On 63 minutes, Mackail-Smith had a glorious opportunity to give the Chairboys the lead, only to somehow tap wide when found by Umerah unmarked just five yards out.

The scare only seemed to reinvigorate County, a Demetriou delivery narrowly evading the head of Ben White just a minute later.

Day made another great save to deny Wycombe substitute Marcus Bean on 70 minutes, before Umerah struck wide moments later.

Ben Tozer came on for County’s second substitution, as Rigg made way, as County looked to regain the ascendency.

David Pipe was required to produce a goal-line clearance on 80 minutes, which also prevented Mackail-Smith tapping home, as in fairness, the away side looked the likelier to break the deadlock.

Matty Dolan curled just over at the other end, as Tom Owen-Evans became the final County substitution, as Robbie Wilmott made way.

Amond again came close with a curling effort as the game approached added-time, with four additional minutes being indicated.

But neither team could force another meaningful opportunity as the referee blew for full-time.

It would have been harsh on either side to lose the game, as both sides were well worthy of a deserved point.

County: Day, Pipe, Demetriou, White, Butler, Rigg (Tozer 72’), Dolan, Labadie (C) (Cole 43’), Willmott (Owen-Evans 84’), Nouble, Amond

Subs not used: Bittner, Bennett, Quigley, Jahraldo

 

Wycombe: Brown, Jacobson, Gape (Bean 65’), Stewart, El-Abd (C), Bloomfield (Eze 79’), Cowan-Hall, Harriman, O’Nien, Mackail-Smith, Umerah

Subs not used: Richardson, Jombati, Southwell, Freeman, Scarr

 

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 3,752 (302 away)

Next up for County: Cheltenham Town (12th September) HOME 

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