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Blues and Bees battle to bore draw
Wycombe Wanderers 0, Barnet 0.
EDGAR Davids failed to light up Adams Park as Wanderers and Barnet had to settle for a point apiece in a bottom of the table clash.
Having guided the Bees to their first victory of the season on his debut, fans were keen to see what the former Barcelona man was capable of in a clash of the oldies, as Davids faced Blues’ caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth.
But nobody, not even someone of Davids’ class, was able to stamp their authority in a bore draw that never managed to get going.
At least Wanderers recovered from their 4-1 loss at Port Vale on Saturday as they recorded a second clean sheet in three matches, but as an attacking force they failed to seriously worry a previously porous defence.
The ball spent far too much time in the air during a scrappy game as Davids, playing in the hole behind striker Jake Hyde, was unable to make much of an impression.
The first time anyone noticed Davids was when he cynically bodychecked Josh Scowen, leading to a stern lecture from referee Iain Williamson.
A header from Dave Winfield – one of four players brought into the starting line-up as injuries and suspension took their toll on Wanderers – that flew over and a miscued Scowen shot that was closer to worrying the birds nesting in the trees behind the terrace than it was goalkeeper Graham Stack was the sum total of the goalmouth action in a turgid first quarter.
Having picked up their first win at the 13th attempt on Friday night, Barnet scrapped for everything and seemed content to boot the ball as high and as far as possible in a bid to inch closer to the safety line.
In fairness they managed a sweeping move which resulted in a corner, with Nikki Bull punching away as far as Davids, but from just outside the box the Dutchman dismally failed to find the target and ballooned his shot wildly off target.
Gone was the power and pace that had been a feature of Blues’ attacking play away from home in recent weeks, although their reshuffled back four at least looked solid enough to deal with the few problems Barnet managed to cause them.
Things got worse for Wanderers as Dean Morgan – a star in recent weeks but left to feed off scraps here – was forced off through injury before half time came, although that at least allowed the welcome return of Sam Wood on the wing after two months out.
Blues at least registered a shot on target before the half closed as Ainsworth and Matt McClure combined to fashion an opening for the caretaker boss, but his low shot was easily gathered in by Stack at his near post.
The last action of the half saw Bull pull off a tremendous save from Hyde’s fiercely-struck shot, although with the Bees striker being flagged offside anyway it would have been irrelevant if the Wanderers’ goalkeeper’s reactions hadn’t been so sharp.
McClure had a header deflected wide as the second period opened but the general stop-start pattern of play continued as the game failed to spark into life.
It took another Davids foul, which saw him receive a yellow card, before the Wanderers fans were woken from their slumber as they booed the Bees’ player-coach for clattering horribly into Winfield.
Bull was then called into action as he dived to his left to keep out John Oster’s piledriver from 30 yards out to keep the scoresheet blank with an excellent save.
Down the other end Ainsworth blazed a shot from the edge of the box into the side netting and Joel Grant volleyed narrowly off target after latching onto Gary Doherty’s cushioned header from a free-kick.
Blues made a double substitution as Junior Morias and Richard Logan entered the fray in place of Ainsworth and McClure, and Morias was desperately unlucky not to find the net within seconds of his introduction as he curled inches wide after collecting Anthony Stewart’s pass.
But the evening was summed up with five minutes remaining as Logan’s on-target shot from the edge of the box hit team-mate Wood and went behind.
Wanderers: Bull, Stewart, Winfield, Doherty, Dunne, Ainsworth (sub Morias), Lewis, Scowen, Grant, Morgan (sub Wood), McClure (sub Logan). Substitutes not used: Ingram, Spring, Kewley-Graham, Hause.
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