A BBC Three Counties derby and a very enjoyable match to commentate on. In pretty dreadful conditions, both teams gave their all and at the final whistle I think a point a piece was about right. It would have been cruel for either team to lose the game, especially as both sides were definitely still in the market for the win during the final stages.
Paris Cowan-Hall was deservedly awarded man of the match for an excellent all round performance. His work rate has been excellent all season and he is now being rewarded with a purple patch in front of goal. Five goals in as many games is no mean feat and the Chairboys have now broken their league record by scoring in sixteen consecutive games. Cowan-Hall’s opening goal was backed up by a performance of real maturity, grafting in defence and a constant menace in attack. He was a real rough diamond when he first arrived at Adams Park. Credit must be afforded to Gareth Ainsworth for signing Paris on a free, putting his arm around him and making the wide-man fulfil his potential.
Luton lived up to what I expected from a John Still side and I think they will be challenging at the top in May. I thought The Hatters looked short of a striker but with Paul Benson out injured I reckon Still will get the cheque book out in January. I was looking forward to seeing the gravitationally gifted Steve McNulty play and I was not disappointed by his performance. He may well be on the wrong end of a few chants from the crowds up and down the country but I thought he read the game superbly and was a stubbornly effective rearguard for Luton. Jonathan Smith took his goal very well and it was a good team response from going behind to an early goal which was another defeat for zonal marking.
Matt Bloomfield looked lively in the second half, coming on for an injured Danny Rowe as both sides pursued the points. A tremendous Matt Ingram save from Adam Drury and Mark Tyler making a smart stop at the other end soon after kept things level which is how it ended. This was despite a real cup tie style finish as the rain ramped up towards the whistle.
A valuable point earned for both sides and more importantly for Wycombe Wanderers, a performance to be proud of in front of a bumper crowd. All too often in recent times, the Chairboys have choked when the gates have been big at home, but any lapsed or potential new fans in attendance on Boxing Day would have gone home thoroughly entertained. Before kick off, Wycombe chairman Andrew Howard spoke of the long term plans and these will certainly need to involve more people turning up at Adams Park on a regular basis. it was also announced that Gareth Ainsworth had signed a ‘long term’ deal with the club which was warmly received by the home fans in the Vere Suite. The manager is clearly enjoying working with Howard and the results reflect this. Long may it continue!
Here are the thoughts of Gareth Ainsworth after the game in my interview with him for BBC Three Counties…
Mobile & tablet version here
Here are the commentary highlights from the game, featuring myself, Scotty and Geoff Doyle. Many thanks to Keith Cummings for the audio…
Mobile & tablet version here