Stalemate as Reds stretch unbeaten run to three games
Defences dominated as Reds held early League Two pacesetters Wycombe to a goalless draw at the Checkatrade.com Stadium to stretch their unbeaten run to three games.
Ahead of linking up with the England under-19s next week, goalkeeper Freddie Woodman made two crucial saves either side of the break but Reds had their moments too with Wycombe keeper Matt Ingram making some excellent stops including one with his feet to deny Roarie Deacon two minutes from the end of stoppage time.
Mark Yates made one enforced change to the side that beat Cambridge 3-0 with Jimmy Smith replacing the suspended Liam Donnelly.
Conor Henderson returned to the bench after four games out with an ankle injury. Before kick off Shamir Fenelon joined Whitehawk on a month’s loan and Bryan Van Den Bogaert, who had signed a month-long contract at the start of August, joined the Hawks on a permanent basis.
Wycombe won a couple of early corners but when Reds cleared the second they had a 3 v 3 break, but Lewis Young’s cross, intended for Deacon, was cut out by Ingram, resplendent in all white, in the visitors’ goal.
The visitors nearly scored in the 10th minute. Michael Harriman produced a great ball from the right which Sam Wood, stretching at the far post, steered just wide of the left-hand upright.
There was a lack of tempo and continuity in the first quarter of the contest, during which time referee Lee Swabey awarded 13 free kicks, a tally that had doubled by full-time.
The home crowd began to respond as Reds threatened to get on top and Ingram made a decent save to his right on 29 minutes after Young had skipped inside and let fly from 20 yards.
Edwards then wrapped his left foot around the ball and the cross flashed in front of goal without a team-mate able to get on the end of it before Young outpaced Jacobson and his fiercely-struck cross was deflected over for a corner.
Woodman made a superb double save in the 37th minute, parrying Garry Thompson’s low drive before spreading himself well to block Amadi-Holloway’s follow-up when he seemed certain to open the scoring.
Reds had to make a change on 39 minutes when Joe McNerney limped off and Luke Rooney came on with Jimmy Smith dropping into right back. The midfielder was booked within moments of coming on for a foul on Jason Banton and from the free kick Amadi-Holloway rose highest but directed his header wide.
Wycombe had created the better opportunities in a disappointing first half punctuated by free kicks with little flow to proceedings.
The visitors were denied by Woodman again two minutes into the second half when he blocked a shot from Amadi-Holloway, who had beaten the offside trap.
Reds responded and Smith’s cross was headed goalwards by Edwards but a defender cleared for a corner which fell to Simon Walton on the edge of the box and the midfielder’s volley was pushed around the post by Ingram at full stretch.
Smith became the second Red to be booked for blocking off Jacobson’s run and Marcus Bean followed him moments later for hauling down Deacon.
The home side got some momentum as the home fans in a crowd of 2,466 found their voice and Edwards, who looked the most likely to unlock the Wycombe defence, played a nice ball into the path of Scales on the overlap, but the Crystal Palace loanee’s side-foot was held by Ingham.
Woodman was relieved to see Jacobson’s 35-yard free kick deflected wide for a corner after Jon Ashton became the third Red to be booked for a foul.
The home side gradually began to find some momentum as the contest entered the final quarter and Edwards wriggled his way in from the left, but his shot from a tight angle was blocked by Ingram with 16 minutes remaining.
Ingram saved again after patient build-up by Crawley created space for Young who tried to place his shot inside the post but was thwarted by the goalkeeper’s outstretched right hand.
Wycombe nearly won it with three minutes left when a corner was cleared as far as Thompson whose first time volley flew inches past the post.
Then Reds had a great chance when Deacon burst clear as Wycombe appealed for offside, but Ingram saved with his feet before Edwards on the stretch failed to get a decisive touch to Young’s cross in stoppage time.
So ten out of ten for effort from both sides, but that bit of quality needed in the final third to pierce two well-organised defences was missing.