A STRONG Wanderers side had to settle for a draw against non league Oxford City after a Jon-Paul Pittman equaliser.
Having hammered neighbours Oxford United 5-1 days earlier Blues’ Conference North opponents set about the visitors, keen to prove that result was no fluke.
Albi Skendi deservedly put them in front as City were rewarded for their positive start, but equally deservedly Pittman drew Wanderers level before the game petered out somewhat until a late spell of Blues pressure.
There was more than a hint of good fortune to Wycombe’s equaliser however as the ball slipped through keeper Mark Scott’s grasp to allow Pittman the chance to tap home his second goal of pre season.
With Wanderers having shown good pre season form they might have been expected to start strongly but instead Skendi gave Blues an early warning as he sent a close range header over the bar for the non league side after stealing in ahead of Leon Johnson.
The hosts impressed in the opening stages and at times this friendly had the feel of a competitive match as City put themselves about, chasing lost causes and challenging for everything.
It wasn’t too much of a surprise that they went in front when Charles Dunne coughed up possession to veteran striker Steve Basham inside his own penalty area. Matt Ingram, who starred during a loan spell with City last season, spared Dunne’s blushes with an excellent stop from Basham’s shot but was powerless to prevent Skendi from sweeping home the rebound from inside the six yard box.
An offside Steven Craig was foiled by City keeper Scott, who saved bravely at the Scotsman’s feet, before Ingram was called into action at the other end to clutch a header from Lee Henderson as the hosts look to build on their lead.
Blues improved as Sam Wood had a shot deflected over the bar following a good spell of possession around the City penalty area before Marvin McCoy blazed wide from a good position.
At the other end Adam Maabdi’s shot appeared to be going way off target before it dipped sharply at the last minute and Ingram was relieved to see it drop onto the roof of the net.
But Wanderers levelled as Craig got to the byline from Josh Scowen’s inch-perfect ball and broke into the box before Scott made a total hash of his low cross, with the ball squirming under his body and allowing Pittman to almost apologetically tap home from a matter of feet.
Craig was involved again shortly afterwards as his clever pass presented Wood with a shooting opportunity, with Scott redeeming himself for his earlier blunder by batting away the midfielder’s rising drive.
The second half failed to match the intensity of the first but Scott showed but signs of his game again as he did well to take the ball off Craig’s head from Stuart Lewis’s cross before being slow to react as Pittman’s first time cross crashed off the post and, to the City custodian’s relief, bounced out of play.
Pittman eventually made way for the in-form Dean Morgan but neither side could find a second wind as both goalkeepers were largely untested throughout an uneventful second period, with City substitute Tom Winters summing things up by lashing high and wide from a tight angle.
Blues finished strongly however and created several chances late on. Firstly Wood’s low shot was well saved by replacement keeper Victor Francoz, with the ball eventually finding Matt Spring. The midfielder probably should have taken a shot on himself but instead took an age to offload to Wood to fire low across the face of goal and out.
The winger was left red faced as he blazed over from close range with keeper Francoz out of position, having just made an excellent stop to deny Morgan after the striker had skipped through the home defence.
Then Scowen burst into the box and lashed a shot past the keeper but against the crossbar.
Wanderers: Ingram, McCoy (sub Arnold), Johnson (sub Hause), Stewart (sub Doherty), Dunne, Cowan-Hall (sub Kretzschmar), Scowen, Lewis (sub Spring), Wood, Craig, Pittman (sub Morgan).