Wycombe Wanderers 0, Accrington Stanley 0.
WANDERERS’ search for a win goes on as they failed to break down Accrington Stanley in a dire game.
Only one shot on target was recorded throughout a match that had very little to recommend it, and does absolutely nothing to alleviate the pressure on Blues.
Boos of despair once again rang out at the final whistle despite manager Gareth Ainsworth’s gesture to fans to keep the support going.
He had targeted the last four matches as ones his side could pick up key victories against sides around them – instead they secured just two points and slipped further down the table and into trouble.
This performance was the worst of the lot against an Accrington side who themselves showed no creativity or desire to get forward, with a shot from Reece Styche that brought a top drawer save being all there was to write home about.
Pre-match exultations for a big crowd also fell on deaf ears, with fans now wondering if they will see their team win again - or even score a goal, with this being Blues’ sixth blank in front of goal in their last eight outings.
Ainsworth made three changes in a bid to arrest his side’s alarming run of form and one of the new faces, Dean Morgan – straight back in the side after six weeks out – bought himself some space before lobbing over from 40 yards after catching visiting keeper Marcus Bettinelli off his line.
Matt Bloomfield then stole possession off Dean Winnard and turned past the defender before flighting over a cross that Paris Cowan-Hall was inches away from converting at the far post.
Cowan-Hall forced a mistake from Bettinelli as he chased down a poor backpass from Winnard, which was sliced behind by the Stanley goalkeeper. The resulting corner found skipper Stuart Lewis, whose searing volley was blocked by an unwitting Peter Murphy.
It raised the noise level, which was cranked up further as Bloomfield seized on a woefully directed header from Tom Aldred and passed for Lewis, but the Blues captain got the ball stuck under his feet and the danger was cleared before he could get a shot away.
And that was as good as it got in a dire stop-start first half of football that closed without a shot on target from either side.
Two stoppages due to injuries to Accrington players in the first five minutes didn’t help the rhythm of the game, nor did a fussy referee who didn’t seem willing to allow play to continue for long enough for a chance to be created before he blew for a foul.
But once again the flair from the hosts was missing, with the ball being aimlessly hoisted forward on too many occasions and a Stanley side who never once threatened the Wanderers goal were able to comfortably deal with anything sent in the direction of their defence.
It didn’t improve much after the break as a lazy free kick from Morgan just outside the area was hit straight into the wall.
Finally a shot on target arrived as Styche received the ball from the left and curled it towards the top corner, with a flying Bettinelli producing an excellent one handed save to claw it around the post.
That proved to be Styche’s final act as he was replaced by Steven Craig in attack.
Morgan had a shot deflected wide for a corner before Accrington showed a rare moment of attacking flair to pass their way down the right wing, only for Lee Molyneux – who scored a last minute for Stanley last season – to shank way off target.
Leon Johnson was inches away from diverting a header goalwards, Josh Scowen sent a volley screaming just past the post and Bloomfield headed wide of the far post from a corner as Wanderers started to carve out half chances against a team who had long given up any hope of securing all three points.
Bloomfield, celebrating his 30th birthday, looked to have earned his side a penalty after being taken out as he burst into the area from a raking Wood pass, but the referee was unmoved at Blues’ claims.
And Wanderers had a let-off as James Gray launched a quick counter attack down the left and Piero Mingoia tapped home at the far post, only to be denied by an offside flag.
Then Stanley almost nicked it in stoppage time as Kayode Odejayi headed over from six yards.
Wanderers: Ingram, Arnold, Johnson, Doherty, Wood, Cowan-Hall (sub McClure), Lewis, Scowen, Bloomfield, Morgan, Styche (sub Craig). Substitutes not used: Horlock, Jeffrey, Kretzschmar, Stewart, Kuffour.