The Imps moved back into the League 2 playoff spots after an enthralling game against Wycombe Wanderers. Despite a lack of goals there was no lack of action, intrigue and desire from both sides.
City started the game very brightly and thought they’d opened the scoring within a couple of minutes of kick off. Matt Rhead won a header on the edge of the box which Lee Frecklington swept home in front of the travelling Wycombe supporters, but the assistant’s flag was raised for offside. The near miss only added to the atmosphere coming from the home supporters who were deafening.
Wycombe were undaunted by the noise, Joe Jacobson whipped in a corner from the right which curled wickedly into the penalty area but it flew right across the face of the goal. The action was all happening in the middle of the pitch as the quarter hour mark approached, with both sides doing the upmost to gain that one crucial chance in front of goal.
The Imps were to get the first sniff of that opportunity, a ball up to Rhead from Scott Wharton was almost inch perfect and the striker flicked to Harry Anderson who had space to shoot, but winger pulled his shot wide of the far post.
Rhead was causing all sorts of problems for the Chairboys defence, his flick on set Matt Green away between Adam El-Habd and Nathan McGinley with the outstretched leg of the latter just turning it over his own crossbar. The corner came in and a header at the back post from Matt Rhead caused havoc in the box, Green helped the towards goal but somehow again, it was turned just off target, this time hitting the top of the crossbar.
The threat from Wycombe came from Adebayo Akinfenwa, the striker managed to fend off the attentions of Luke Waterfall before heading a cross from the right over the top, the striker looked to the skies thinking he maybe should have forced a save from Ryan Allsop. Matthew Bloomfield did test the reactions of The Imps’ ‘keeper moments later, a determined run and cut in from the left gave him the space to fire a low effort at goal which Allsop was equal to. The game was full of incident and disrupted by stoppages in play, but it didn’t detract from what was an intriguing encounter with battles all over the pitch.
The visitors almost got themselves into the lead when a low cross from Nathan Tyson skimmed into the area, Waterfall got there ahead of everyone but his touch diverted it goalwards but there was Allsop with a fine reaction stop right on the goalline.
As half time approached it was The Imps’ supporters who were almost celebrating, a Neal Eardley free kick went into the heart of the Chairboys penalty area, Waterfall raced in at the back post to volley but it flew over the top of the goal. In injury time at the end of the first half City had the ball in the net again, a typical show of determination from Michael Bostwick won possession, he fed Green who took the ball forward before releasing Habergham, his cross was met by Rhead who headed home but the referee blew for an infringement. Within seconds of that disappointment a fantastic move through the middle of the pitch found Lee Frecklington racing into the area but with Scott Brown racing from his goal, the midfielder couldn’t get it over the ‘keeper and keep it under the bar. It was a pulsating end to the half.
The Imps 0 Wycombe Wanderers 0
Almost immediately from the restart City were in the Wycombe area, a dangerous cross whipped in from the right bobbled right across the area and was hurriedly cleared by the visitors. Then a trademark set piece slid down the left channel into the box found Green but his turn and shot just looped over the top.
City were piling on the pressure, that final touch just eluding them in the box. But the danger came at the other end as Wycombe broke at some speed, Michael Harriman hitting a low effort that took a deflection and somehow Allsop was able to throw out a huge left hand to palm the ball away.
The Imps were dominating possession and territorially on the field, with Wycombe only looking dangerous on the break, Green set Frecklington up for a measured effort on target but Brown was in the right place to gather. Randall Williams couldn’t keep his effort down as the Chairboys tried to break the City stranglehold on proceedings, but it was only momentary as the ball was quickly back in the Wycombe half. City continued to probe; Alex Woodyard driving through midfield, with Bostwick there to regain possession when the visitors cleared.
Tyson went close for Wycombe as he hit a vicious drive that Allsop did well to save, City quickly broke at speed through Anderson who ran half the length of the pitch with the ball but he couldn’t get a shot away as the game really opened up for the first time. Wycombe had a small spell of pressure, winning a corner then forcing City to block as Harriman tried a drive from the edge of the box.
Ollie Palmer raced into the final third, trying to make an impact after coming onto the field, but Marcus Bean halted his path to goal with The Imps once again forcing the visitors onto their heels.
There was almost a sting in the tail from the visitors when a corner from Sam Saunders was swung into the box, Williams tried to force it home but it deflected to Tyson six yards out, the home fans held their breath but Allsop was there to save with his legs, bringing an almost standing ovation for the ‘keeper.
It was to prove crucial as it was the final real goalmouth action of the night, the save ensured the spoils were shared and the point moved City back into the SkyBet League Two playoff spots.
The Imps 0 Wycombe Wanderers 0
22 Ryan ALLSOP
3 Sam HABERGHAM
5 Luke WATERFALL
6 Scott WHARTON
9 Matt RHEAD
10 Matt GREEN
16 Michael BOSTWICK
19 Lee FRECKLINGTON
23 Neal EARDLEY
26 Harry ANDERSON
30 Alex WOODYARD
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Sean LONG
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE (84’ for Frecklington)
7 Tom PETT
8 Ollie PALMER (72’ for Rhead)
14 Jordan WILLIAMS
15 James WILSON
1 Scott BROWN
3 Joe JACOBSON
6 Adam EL-ABD
7 Sam SAUNDERS
8 Marcus BEAN
10 Matthew BLOOMFIELD
15 Nathan McGINLEY
16 Michael HARRIMAN
20 Adebayo AKINFENWA
23 Nathan TYSON
25 Craig MACKAIL-SMITH
30 Yves MA-KALAMBAY
11 Scott KASHKET
12 Paris COWAN-HALL (65’ for Mackail-Smith)
19 Will DE-HAVILLAND
22 Nick FREEMAN
24 Randell WILLIAMS (36’ for Akinfenwa)
29 Curtis THOMPSON (90’ for Saunders)
Booked: Tyson 19’ El Abd 47’ Bean 76’
Referee: John Brooks
Assistants: Mark Griffiths & Abbas Khan
Attendance: 8,948 (393 Wycombe supporters)