Stevenage picked up an excellent point at Wycombe this afternoon after an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Tom Pett and Dean Parrett both scored as Stevenage recovered from a 10th minute Fred Onyedinma goal to turn the game on its head in the first half. Onyedinma’s second with 20 minutes remaining and a Chris Beardsley red card five minutes later threatened to derail Boro, but they stood firm and could have even won it deep into injury time but Dean Parrett saw a late penalty saved.
Graham Westley made two changes from the side that won against Southend last weekend with Ronnie Henry and Tom Pett returning to the starting eleven.
With two home defeats in recent weeks Wycombe came out looking for a fast start and soon enough Fred Onyedinma was testing Day with an effort from the edge of the box which was comfortable for Boro’s keeper.
Another Wycombe shot was deflected behind and Boro had to deal with a couple of corners but failed to heed the early warning signs as they fell behind on 10 minutes. A ball behind the visiting defence saw the lively Onyedinma run through, beat the advancing Day with a touch and calmly slot the ball home.
It looked all too easy for the hosts who continued to apply pressure and forced a couple of corners but this time the Stevenage defence stood strong and there remained just the single advantage.
It took until the 20 minute mark for Boro to really get near the Wycombe goal with Beardsley winning a corner. Whilst Martin’s delivery was cleared it signalled the start of a comeback by Graham Westley’s men as they finally got themselves into the game and caused their hosts problems.
Initially up top with Beardsley, Whelpdale was shifted out to the right which gave Pett a more central role. And it was the former Wealdstone man who pulled Stevenage level in style with 27 minutes on the clock. With a Wycombe attack breaking down, Boro countered with Pett finding Whelpdale out wide before continuing his central run to meet Chris’ perfect cross with a cracking header across Ingram and into the back of the net.
Ten minutes later Pett was nearly at it again but could only fire straight at Ingram from the edge of the area after a Wycombe attempted clearance fell kindly to him.
After starting in a central role Chris Whelpdale was having much more joy out wide and won Boro a 40th minute corner from which Wells volleyed straight at Ingram. But just into three minutes of injury time the winger was again at it, racing into the box and setting up Pett for a low shot which deflected wide but it wasn’t long until Boro had the ball in the back of the net again. From that set piece Deacon won a free-kick on the far side and up-stepped Dean Parrett to curl a low effort into the back of the net from a tight angle to turn the game on its head. 2-1 to Stevenage.
The second half was one of sustained pressure by Wycombe but despite racking up the corner count they were left with just a Hayes shot wide and an attempted lob by Bloomfield to show for their efforts, as Boro stood firm.
Whilst under the cosh for large parts of the 45 Stevenage still had the odd half chance, such as a great Deacon cross on 54 minutes which was just taken off Beardsley’s head.
The pressure finally told with 20 minutes remaining when Onyedinma headed home unmarked at the back post from the umpteenth Wycombe corner. With the Chairboys’ tails up you sensed it was going to be a tough last period of the game and that was made even more difficult when Beardsley was dismissed four minutes later for a second yellow.
Despite playing with 10 for the final 15 and having sub Ben Kennedy up top on his own, it was very much ‘as you were’ for the game with Wycombe continuing to push and Boro left to fed on the odd counter. Bira Dembele turned sharply inside the Chairboys box and fired wide on 79 minutes and Whelpdale shot just over with five minutes remaining as Stevenage threatened to steal all three points.
That golden opportunity came deep into six minutes of injury time when fancy footwork from Kennedy saw the youngster hauled down inside the box, handing Stevenage a late, late penalty. With one goal to his name already and regular penalty taker Walton subbed off, up-stepped Dean Parrett but Matt Ingram guessed correctly and saved Wycombe’s blushes.
A point on the road at Wycombe is no disgrace, particularly with 10 men, but for that last-gasp miss it could have been all three. However Stevenage now have a matter of days to prepare themselves for another tough tie as Plymouth visit The Lamex Stadium on Tuesday night. Tickets are available here
Wycombe: Ingram, Jombati, Jacobson, Mawson, Rowe, Saunders, Bloomfield, Yennaris, Wood, Hayes, Onyedinma
Subs not used: Richardson, Craig, Murphy, Fletcher, McClure, Holloway, Ephraim
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Wells, Dembele, Deacon, Pett (Conlon 90), Walton (Kennedy 67), Parrett, Martin (Lee 60), Beardsley, Whelpdale
Subs not used: Beasant, Bond, Andrade, Johnson
Referee: J Simpson
Attendance: 3,664 (416 away)