MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood Town 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1

Joey Barton
Joey Barton
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Fleetwood Town’s quest for home success goes on as they drew with Wycombe.

Town forward Paddy Madden nodded them ahead but Ade Akinfenwa levelled things up in the second half.

Wycombe had a huge penalty shout waved away and Alex Cairns had to be at his cat-like best.

But after netting his fourth of the campaign Madden will be kicking himself that he did not ensure Fleetwood picked up their second home win of the campaign when his diving header flew off-target as the clock ticked down.

Perhaps a let-off given Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth was left fuming by referee Scott Oldham’s decision not to award a penalty after Ash Eastham was ruled to have fouled Craig Mackail-Smith outside of the box.

But once again after taking the lead at home Fleetwood failed to convert it into three points against a Wycombe side they should be dispatchin.

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton made four changes.

Youngster Nathan Sheron came into central defence make his first league start, with James Wallace back from suspension to also make his first league start for Fleetwood.

Paddy Madden returned after injury, with Ash Hunter also back from suspension as Barton again opted for a 4-3-3

They came in for injured striker Ched Evans (shoulder) and centre-half Tommy Spurr (groin) with Jason Holt and Harrison Biggins moving to the bench.

There has been much made on social media of the omission of Bobby Grant and the selection of Sheron ahead of Cian Bolger.

The harsh truth is that when Grant has been given an opportunity this season, aside from the Oxford game, he has not lit the pitch up and there is a stronger argument for Kyle Dempsey to be recalled.

Grant has fallen back in the pecking order, while Bolger had made mistakes which led to goals in the previous two defeats.

It was a simple case of strong management by Barton, and although it was a risk to start Sheron, the simple truth is that Bolger has not been up to the standards of two seasons ago, so why not give youth a chance?

Defensive errors had been Town’s downfall in their back-to-back defeats but this time their opposition failed to punish an early error.

Lewie Coyle’s tame header back to Alex Cairns fell sweetly for Randell Williams but he could only fire straight at Cairns.

Fleetwood woke up, and after Hunter had blasted over from an angle on the right Town had three golden opportunities to open the scoring in a matter of seconds.

It was Hunter in the thick of the action again as the ball fell to Wes Burns on the edge of the box. His strike cannoned into Madden just outside the six-yard box but the normally clinical forward could only blast straight at keeper Ryan Allsop.

It was no surprise that Hunter did the damage, the attacker released on the right by his fellow wing wizard Burns and whipping in a delightful cross that was nodded home by Madden in the 37th minute.

It was Hunter’s eighth assist of the term and Madden’s fourth goal, Town proving that they have forwards still capable of getting the goals.

Wycombe started the second half the brighter but Fleetwood went closer, Coyle volleying over a Madden centre.

But once again without skipper Craig Morgan in defence Town conceded. Hesitant defending at the top of the box saw Akinfenwa pounce. Renowned for his strength, the burly forward fizzed the ball past Cairns.

The keeper was again Fleetwood’s hero as he tipped Dominic Gape’s long-range rocket on to the bar and over after Town failed to clear a long throw.

Opposition boss Ainsworth was left fuming after what he felt was a penalty was waved away by Scott Oldham.

The referee ruled that Town defender Eastham had fouled Mackail-Smith outside the box and pulled out a yellow card for the Town man. Ainsworth felt it was a penalty and red card.

Town regained a foothold in the game and managed to get their dangermen Burns, Hunter and Ross Wallace on the ball as the half progressed.

And they should have regained the lead as the clock ticked down, James Wallace’s cross from the right nodded off-target by an airborne Madden, who really should have made it 2-1.

Wycombe asked questions of Town that they answered in the dying stages, but despite bringing in two dead-ball specialists in Wallace and Ryan Taylor, Town were guilty of wasting a number of set-piece situations.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Sheron, Eastham, Husband, R Wallace, Taylor, J Wallace (Biggins, 82), Burns, Madden, Hunter. Subs: Crellin, Clarke, Dempsey, Bolger, Long.

Wycombe: Allsop, Jombati, Gape, Mackail-Smith, Bloomfield, Harriman, Morris (Thompson, 81), Akinfenwa, Charles, Williams (Cowan-Hall, 78), McCarthy. Subs: Ma-Kalambay, Jacobson, Kashket, Thompson, Onyedinma, Samuel.

Referee: S Oldham.

Attedance: 2,304