Wycombe Wanderers came away from the Stadium of Light with a well-deserved point after Fred Onyedinma’s rasping finish was denied by an 84th minute Josh Maja leveller.
The Chairboys have now drawn away at Sunderland and Portsmouth this season and have beaten Peterborough at home. Gareth Ainsworth wanted his side to ‘make a noise’ in League One and they have certainly done that so far with a fantastic performance in the northeast the latest impressive display. They were arguably the better side over the ninety minutes and to be slightly disappointed with a draw away at a team who were in the Premier League 19 months ago says it all.
Wycombe made three changes from their defeat at Luton in the FA Cup. One of them was enforced with the injured Ryan Allsop replaced by emergency loanee Matt Ingram making his second Wanderers debut. Additionally, Bryn Morris returned from being cup-tied to take Marcus Bean’s place, and Randell Williams came in for Paris Cowan-Hall. This meant a start for Alex Samuel the day after he sealed a new contract at Adams Park until 2021.
Jack Ross reverted to the Sunderland side that beat Port Vale in the FA Cup last Sunday with Jerome Sinclair starting ahead of top scorer Maja and former Chairboy Luke O’Nien being left on the bench. Lee Cattermole remained unavailable, so Dylan McGeouch and George Honeyman started in the midfield.
If the 443 formation didn’t work against Luton last weekend, it certainly worked early on for Wycombe against Sunderland. Jason McCarthy and Fred Onyedinma were both looking very dangerous down the Black Cats’ left side, and maybe if they had a tall, powerful striker on the pitch like Akinfenwa, then a few of their many crosses could’ve been converted. Alex Samuel was still working very hard, though, as he always does, chasing down every ball and allowing time on the ball for the likes of Morris and Gape.
When a cross did fall for Wanderers, it was Adam El-Abd with the chance – he could only head wide from a few yards out though. This allowed Sunderland to create a couple of their chances of their own towards the end of the opening period, but Aiden McGeady couldn’t trouble Ingram when finding himself pretty much one-on-one from a long goal-kick. Adam Matthews did manage to force a save out of the QPR loanee, but it was a very comfortable one to ensure the half-time score was goalless.
HALF-TIME: Sunderland 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Jack Ross’ men continued to be the slightly better side in the opening ten minutes or so of the second half. Wycombe managed to see off a succession of corners, however, and they took the lead soon after when Max Power could only head Joe Jacobson’s long free-kick into the feet of Fred Onyedinma, who smashed home emphatically for his third goal of the season and to send the 1,010 travelling Wanderers fans into ecstasy.
Josh Maja was started to cause problems for the Chairboys defence, and when George Honeyman got past a couple of players, it was an easy square ball for the forward to control and slide home past the defenders on the line. A bitter pill to swallow for Gareth Ainsworth, but he had to ensure that his team could still return from the northeast with at least a point.
Substitute Craig Mackail-Smith could’ve had a shooting chance had the ball fell his way on the edge of the area, and Max Power’s powerful drive required a good stop from Ingram, but the game would finish 1-1.
FULL-TIME: Sunderland 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers
A great away point for Wycombe keeps them 15th in League One going into a couple of games next week; Shrewsbury at home followed swiftly by another Tuesday night trip to Accrington.