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Notts County 0
Wycombe Wanderers 0
Monday 28th March 2016
Football League Two
Wanderers continued their mean defensive streak with a 0-0 draw at Notts County on Easter Monday but it's the lack of goal that could cost Gareth Ainsworth's a play-off spot. With 34 goals against, Wycombe have the best defensive record in League Two but with just 41 goals in the goals for column, only four teams have scored fewer.
On Saturday at Meadow Lane, against a team that had lost their four previous games, Wycombe's best chance to have won the game was a second-half claim for a penalty following a ball to hand incident in the County penalty area. Referee Carl Boyeson was surrounded by Wycombe players following the incident in the 82nd minute but the officials saw it differently and played on. At the other end, Wanderers were grateful for a stoppage time one handed save from Ryan Allsop - the on loan 'keeper diving to his right to keep out a Haydn Hollis's header from around six yards. Wycombe's hearts had also been in the their mouths on 84 minutes when Izale McLeod chased a loose ball down the left channel but lobbed his effort wide of the right hand post with just Allsop to beat.
Team news for Wanderers had seen two changes from the side that had beaten Mansfield Town on Good Friday - Max Kretzschmar and Gozie Ugwu coming in to replace the injured Sam Wood and Luke O'Nein. Matt Bloomfield remained sidelined with a foot injury, while Marcus Bean's suspension meant that Wycombe had few other options in midfield.
The first half saw County, managed by former Wanderer loanee from 1993, Mark Cooper, almost gifted a goal on 3 minutes when Anthony Stewart left a ball down the home left, assuming Allsop would collect, but Adam Campbell got there first but thankfully Allsop tipped his shot into the side netting. Graham Burke dragged a shot wide of the right hand post for the home side on 23 minutes.
A weak Kretzschmar free-kick almost caught out Scott Loach in the County goal on 32 minutes but was County who went close again on 34 minutes when Campbell saw a shot block by Jason McCarthy, while four minutes later Jon Stead's effort following a County corner was denied by a similar method.
Meanwhile, Wycombe's best spell came around the hour mark but the lack of accuracy or imagination from deadballs continued Wanderers' story of recent weeks. However, the key point at this stage is that Wanderers remain in 7th spot in the table and their destiny remains very much in their own hands, starting with a home game with Wimbledon on Saturday (2nd April).
Full-time - Notts Couty 0 Wycombe 0
Speaking after the game, Wanderers Manager Gareth Ainsworth told the press: "Weíll take a point away from home. They have new manager syndrome with Mark Cooper coming in and a few teams will be getting turned over here believe you me. I can understand that people want to see goals and want to win games, but people donít want to see their team go out of existence. Everyone wants to win 3-0 every week, but that doesnít happen in football. With seven games to go, to be two points either side of Leyton Orient and Portsmouth is a decent position and I am proud today."
The Wycombe boss also talked about the much publicised 'points target', adding: "It is a good point away from home which gives us 61 points, so we have hit our total. I think that should be celebrated. It is what we set out to do in year two of the plan and I remember the Torquay game 20 months ago. To say we have achieved our target from where we were then is commendable. I am really, really pleased with the result and I know Andrew Howard [Wycombe Chairman] will be too. We will sit down in the week and have a message for you."
Commenting on whether the play-offs could now be a 'target', Ainsworth said: "It is not something I want to get involved in and I donít look at other teams around the play-offs. The play-offs are not the aim and they never have been, but I canít think of a better group of boys to have a go at something if we do set a new target between now and the end of the season. We have played with freedom for a while and we have great fans. Every club has fans who want more and the expectation level is always going to be high. I remember a sponsorsí dinner a couple of years ago where the fans were just getting behind us no matter what happened. We still have plenty of that support. We are a country mile away from some of the teams going for the play-offs. I really hope people understand what an achievement this is for such a small club. I know the fans will be realistic about where we can end up. I am just saying enjoy the season now because we have achieved the aim for year two of our plan."
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