An outstanding second half performance from Wycombe Wanderers wasn’t quite enough for their first league win of the season, but it enabled them to gain a useful point away at Plymouth. Matt Bloomfield’s tiny finish after being played through by Adebayo Akinfenwa sealed a share of the spoils for the Chairboys, but Scott Kashket hit the inside of the post and Craig Mackail-Smith had a goal disallowed as Gareth Ainsworth’s side so nearly won it.
Wanderers are still in the relegation zone, but everyone connected with the club will feel that the first win can’t be too far away, especially if they repeat that second half at Home Park. Ainsworth made two changes to the eleven, with Akinfenwa and Curtis Thompson being replaced by Bryn Morris and Anthony Stewart. This raised questions of a possible formation change to a 5-3-2, but the 4-3-3 was employed with Michael Harriman playing as the right forward. Argyle began with two former Chairboys, Tafari Moore and Joel Grant. There were also recalls for David Fox and Antoni Sarcevic.
Despite many fans of both sides still being outside due to ticketing queues, the home side started strongly as Freddie Ladapo headed over after three minutes but immediately made amends when played in by Graham Carey. He outpaced Adam El-Abd before lobbing over Ryan Allsop, who probably could’ve done better. Another early goal conceded for the Blues, but they stemmed the Pilgrims tide Matt Bloomfield forced a good save from Argyle keeper Matt Macey. Conor Grant then allowed Allsop to make a stop and get some much-needed confidence under his belt. Wycombe were gradually growing into the contest, but Michael Harriman’s curling effort was straight down the throat of the ‘keeper.
The 237 travelling fans feared the worst when Ryan Allsop came charging out of his goal again, but this time mopped up admirably with a well-timed sliding tackle. However, there was a big blow for the Chairboys just before the break when Adam El-Abd went off with a thigh injury harshly booed by the home faithful. It was later revealed that the skipper will probably be out for at least a few months. Luckily, it looks like Darius Charles may be edging closer to fitness and could fill the gap left by the Egyptian. Ainsworth may need to dip into the loan market though to get some back-up at centre-back if El-Abd is out for a while. He was replaced by Sido Jombati as the first half ended with Argyle holding a narrow lead.
HALF-TIME: Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Bryn Morris and Graham Carey went close a couple of times early in the second-half and Craig Mackail-Smith hit the outside of the post from the tightest of angles, but the first real chance of the second period came on 63 minutes. The increasingly dangerous Morris but a fantastic teasing ball in and a couple of Wycombe players were inches away from the equaliser. Free flowing football from the Chairboys was causing all kinds of problems for the home defence, and Bryn Morris had a couple more efforts from the edge of the box as his side turned the screw. Saturday’s goalscorer Scott Kashket was introduced on 65 minutes and nearly set up a Matt Bloomfield goal, but it was blocked once more. One of the best team goals you’ll ever likely to see was agonisingly close from coming off as substitute Akinfenwa teed up Morris, whose shot was turned round the post by Macey.
Just as Argyle were starting to get chances to put the game to bed, Matt Bloomfield found the equaliser when Akinfenwa took down a long ball exquisitely and found ‘Mr Wycombe’, who drilled underneath Macey to send the away end crazy. The Chairboys nearly won it when Kashket turned brilliantly and his seemingly-perfect shot was so so close to being the winner, but hit the inside of the post and bounced into the ‘keeper’s hand. Craig Mackail-Smith had a goal disallowed in the final throws of the game, but the game ended with a well-earned point for the Chairboys. Jason McCarthy, Bryn Morris and Mackail-Smith were the stand-out players and it can only be a matter of time until Wanderers’ first three points in League One since March 2012 if they keep producing that.
FULL-TIME: Plymouth Argyle 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Wycombe are still unbeaten at Home Park since 2007, and travel to Bradford on Saturday aiming to get at least another point. Plymouth’s early troubles continued and face the top two in their next two league games, so if he’s not already, Derek Adams could be under some considerable pressure in a couple of weeks. Overall, a fantastic comeback from the Blues and Gareth Ainsworth will have another selection headache at the weekend. Akinfenwa looked fantastic as an impact sub, so the boss may be inclined to stick with the same eleven with Jombati the most likely replacement for the injured El-Abd.