Wycombe Wanderers 2, Morecambe 2.
JACK Redshaw’s last minute eqauliser broke ten man Wycombe’s hearts as they were denied at the death in a bad tempered match against Morecambe.
Top scorer Joel Grant was controversially dismissed by referee Andy D’Urso as half time approached, with Blues a goal ahead thanks to Dean Morgan’s calm one-on-one finish.
The striker looked as if he had sealed it with another coolly taken finish after the break, before the visitors took full advantage of their extra man as they came back to level.
Tempers threatened to boil over on several occasions, with Wycombe’s players surrounding the referee at the end of the game to make their displeasure known in no uncertain terms.
They had reason to be aggrieved, with the result rough justice on a Wanderers side who had looked set to win for a fourth time in a row in League Two.
Until Grant’s dismissal it looked as if the game was going to be a formality as Wanderers dominated the first half. Fine work from Matt McClure, who took the ball on his chest before going past the slipping Will Haining, presented Stuart Lewis with an opening but the midfielder saw his effort hit the post.
The ball rebounded back to him but his luck was out once again as visiting keeper Barry Roche managed to scramble to his feet to turn the ball away for a corner.
Morecambe struggled to get to grips with Wanderers’ two wide men Grant and Bruno Andrade and it was Blues’ top scorer who should have opened the scoring when he scuffed a shot wide after the visitors had failed dismally to deal with McClure’s pass.
Ironically Wanderers broke away and took the lead from Morecambe’s most threatening position with a quarter of the game gone. Blues successfully defended a free-kick into the box and Josh Scowen sent the ball downfield, with Haining making a total hash of his defensive header.
He inadvertently sent the ball into Morgan’s path, and the striker was sent clean through before coolly slotting past Roche, having had plenty to time to think about where to pick his spot.
It was only Morgan’s second league goal of the season for Wycombe and boosted by that he tried his luck again after fine work from Grant, Lewis and Sam Wood, but, leaning back, his shot fizzed just over the bar.
Blues were in control as Morecambe struggled to get out of their own half and it looked to be a question of how many chances the home side would create.
Things turned on their head when Grant was harshly dismissed for going for a 50-50 challenge with Andrew Wright, with D’Urso electing to show a straight red for nothing more than a committed challenge.
D’Urso had already riled home supporters with his leniency towards the Shrimps’ frontmen of Brodie and Kevin Ellison, who did their best to rough up Wanderers’ debutant defender Kortney Hause.
Ellison was eventually booked for dissent, to great cheers from the Blues supporters, and a hint of what could possibly come in the second half came when Morecambe broke forward for the first time all game and Dave Winfield threw himself at a well-struck shot from Gary McDonald.
But the nerves were settled shortly after the break as Morgan netted his second quality goal of the game. Again Scowen set him up as he dinked it through for the striker, who took a touch before making a beeline for goal.
There didn’t look like there was much on but Morgan burst past Chris McCready before again keeping his head as he placed it into the net past substitute keeper Andreas Arestidou.
Morecambe had at least started to punch the occasional hole in the Blues backline courtesy of the numerical advantage, with Jordan Archer clutching Ellison’s rising drive, and Shrimps boss Jim Bentley hauled off the wretched Haining to bring on another striker as Lewis Alessandra was introduced from the bench in a bid for goals.
And the visitors managed to get a foothold in the game when Brodie get in front of his marker to head Izak Reid’s near post corner into the roof of the net to halve the deficit with half an hour still to go.
They almost drew level again from their next corner as the ball broke to Allessandra on the edge of the box, but the substitute lashed it just wide as Wanderers started to rock for the first time in the game.
Tempers were starting to flare amongst both sets of players with Ellison taking the role of chief pantomime villain, although the striker clipped the outside of the post from a wide angle after being played in by Nick Fenton.
Morecambe, and Brodie, then had the ball in the net again but a linesman’s flag came to Wycombe’s rescue as the strike was chalked off for offside.
The momentum in the game had shifted from all Wycombe to all Morecambe as McDonald headed wide and Archer made an outstanding low fingertip save to turn away Redshaw’s shot, which had appeared destined for the bottom corner.
Wanderers had a late chance to seal things as Arestidou unconvincingly kept out Andrade’s shot from out wide before Morecambe levelled just as the game was about to enter stoppage time.
Blues failed to deal with a corner as Ellison rose at the far post to nod the ball into Redshaw’s path, and the diminutive striker rammed home from close range to equalise.
There was more late drama as an Andrade goal was disallowed for offside, with Wanderers incensed no free-kick had been given for what they felt was a clear foul on Scowen, who in the process of going over had played the ball on for the QPR loanee to tap home.
Wanderers: Archer, Dunne, Hause, Winfield, Wood, Andrade, Lewis, Scowen, Grant, Morgan (sub Kewley-Graham), McClure (sub McCoy). Substitutes not used: Harrison, Ainsworth, Oli, Morias, Ehui.