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Own goal and missed penalty cost Blues against ten man City
Wycombe Wanderers 0, Exeter City 1.
AN OWN goal from Kortney Hause meant Wanderers started 2013 with a defeat against ten men after Joel Grant missed a penalty.
Jamie Cureton’s red card for kicking out at Anthony Stewart just before the break looked to have handed Wanderers an advantage in a match of few chances at either end, but a stubborn Exeter resistance kept Blues at bay.
Not even the added lifeline of a penalty could help Wanderers over the line as what in truth was a poor penalty was easily kept out.
Just when it looked like the game was destined to end goalless the unfortunate Hause put through his own goal as a cross-shot was deflected onto him and he could do nothing to prevent the ball crawling over the line.
It was a fitting way for a game low on chances and quality to end. A dour first half where the main talking point was Exeter manager Paul Tisdale’s purple trousers failed to spark into life as Stuart Lewis blasted way off target and Matt Spring found visiting keeper Artur Krysiak’s midriff from distance in early half chances for the home side.
Accomplished rather than outstanding defending from Wanderers kept Exeter at bay as the freefalling Grecians – who had won just once in five games leading up to this one – failed to muster a chance to seriously worry goalkeeper Jordan Archer.
At last an opening came as Grant, on his return to the side after suspension, wriggled his way to the byline before cutting the ball back for Matt McClure who, under pressure and having to dig the ball out from under his feet, fired over the top.
That, aside from a pair of fluffed Alan Gow free-kicks that missed the target, was all there was to write home about until a flashpoint five minutes from the interval. Stewart blocked Cureton’s path to a hopeful ball forward that rolled through to Archer and the frustrated frontman kicked out at the Blues defender.
The incident was missed by the referee but spotted by the linesman and after the officials consulted with each other a red card was shown to Cureton – his first dismissal in eight years.
Exeter were able to see out the rest of the half without too much trouble but knew they had to survive for the entire second half a man down.
Wanderers looked to capitalise on their man advantage with Gareth Ainsworth electing to replace Jo Kuffour with fit-again Dean Morgan at the break.
A powerful run from Lewis split the backpedalling defence before the ball was fed wide to Bruno Andrade, but McClure could only head straight at Krysiak when the cross came in.
Blues were given another helping hand by Exeter when Pat Baldwin clumsily brought down Grant inside the area and a penalty was promptly awarded. Grant himself stepped up to take it but his weak spot kick was easily kept out by Krysiak and the linesman flagged for an infringement as the winger desperately bundled the ball over the line in the melee that followed.
That failed to galvanise Blues into action and chances continued to remain at a premium despite a second substitution as Ade Azeez entered the fray in place of McClure.
And Exeter nearly punished Wanderers for failing to create much as Gow’s dipping flick up and volley from a corner drifted only just wide of the upright.
By now it was clear from their stubborn defensive resistance that City had settled for taking a welcome point in the face of adversity as the erratic looking Krysiak, whose clearances more often than not found touch, was left untested by Andrade’s off target effort – one of the few Wanderers managed to carve out.
Then a huge slice of fortune led to an unlikely Exeter goal ten minutes from time. Gow freed O’Flynn, whose cross-shot from the left was pawed out by Archer but against the backtracking Hause, who was desperately unlucky to see the ball bounce off him and into the net.
It could have been even worse as Archer’s clearance fell to O’Flynn, but Spring got back to deny him with a great tackle with the Blues goalkeeper struggling to get back into goal.
Only then were Blues sparked into action as Stewart’s shot from a corner was superbly tipped away by a flying Krysiak save, with Grant then curling narrowly off target from the corner that followed.
Wanderers: Archer, McCoy (sub Harriman), Hause, Stewart, Wood, Andrade, Lewis, Spring, Grant, McClure (sub Azeez), Kuffour (sub Morgan). Substitutes not used: Harrison, Winfield, Dunne, Morias.
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