Admittedly my day didn’t start as smoothly as I would have liked. First of all the realisation that my local train service was heavily disrupted due to strikes, meaning I had to drag my better half and my 18 month old daughter out of bed early doors to accompany me to the station. I drove but to save the car being stranded until my return my missus had to come with. The glorious early morning sunshine complete with cold crisp air meant a perfect morning in my eyes. The second thing to go against me was just as me and the missus were swapping seats outside the station, she managed to swill me with coffee meaning I began my journey repping the unmissable aroma of Creed and Cappuccino. Nice one Love!
Anyway, my train journey wasn’t too bad in general. A few changes were required to get to my desired destination, all was in hand, or so I thought. I had to change in Birmingham where I had to walk from New Street to Snow Hill, pretty straightforward given the time I had to burn. You can imagine then, my dismay at reaching Snow Hill to realise it was Moor Street I was after. Cue mild panic in the ranks and a frenzied sprint to the correct station. I made my train with seconds to spare. Thank god.
I don’t think I spotted a single cloud in the sky the whole way to High Wycombe station, I was taking in the view from my seat when a horrific noise resonated from a few seats away. I reared my head over the seat in front like a meerkat to find a woman filing her nails. A disgrace. Those who know me best will understand my horror at this outrage.
Moving on to the positives of the day, and oh how they were endless. Wycombe Wanderers vs Cheltenham Town has set the bar high when it comes to entertainment value. WHAT A GAME! Now, we hear in the media that games have it all, well bollocks to all the cliches this one really did have it all. Goals galore, penalties, yellow cards a plenty, classic No.9 battling the centre half, dodgy officials, 11 minutes added time, a red card, animated Managers stalking the touchline. A truly entertaining, exciting, exhilarating and enthralling experience. Apologies for the excess alliteration there. I’ll get onto the match report in just a minute but first let’s just take a minute to appreciate the idyllic setting of Adams Park, seemingly built into the hills at the end of an industrial estate doesn’t sound the most romantic. However, being seated in the Frank Adams Upper, the backdrop to the stand in front of me was a huge hill covered in green as far as the eye could see. The home standing terrace away to my left, the small but boisterous band of away fans off to my right. What else could you want on a Saturday afternoon?!
The match kicked off with Cheltenham in the ascendancy and pushing hard early on, they won a few free kicks early on for fouls on their men after balls were lifted towards the Wycombe goal. No surprise then that after just 8 minutes Cheltenham made their pressure count, Jamal Blackman in the Wycombe goal spilling a driven Harry Pell free kick into the path of Billy Waters who tapped in comfortably. Danny Wright the big No.9 for the Robins almost doubled the lead moments later after a weaving run lead to a chance. The home side were unable to keep hold of the ball for long and their poor distribution was punished when James Rowe’s low cross from the left was met by Harry Pell who guided the ball home to send the away end into raptures. His celebration in front of the home terrace obviously didn’t go down to well. A critical moment in the match was to follow, with the away side looking to kill the game off they broke away and appeared to have the Wycombe defence outnumbered, Dominic Gape cynically pulled down Kyle Storer just outside the centre circle just as Storer was bursting through to attempt to wrap up proceedings. Naturally, what happened next was Wycombe got back into it. Now I sincerely though it was an own goal from Carl Winchester watching it from where I was sat but it’s since gone down as a Garry Thompson goal, I haven’t seen it again so I won’t argue. Now there is certainly no arguing that The Chairboys second goal belonged to that man again Garry Thompson, take a bow son. As the ball dropped over his shoulder he smashed a thunderous right footed volley back across the keeper and into the top corner. I’d recommend watching it, quality strike. Wedged in between Thompson’s goals was another key moment of the match, A Jordan Cranston Red Card, two quickfire yellows the second of which for a ill timed lunge on Wycombe captain Scott Bloomfield put Cheltenham in real trouble. 2-2 at the break.
A tactical reshuffle from Cheltenham followed with Jack Barthram replacing James Rowe was short lived as early in the 2nd half Barthram attempted to block a Dayle Southwell shot and suffered a serious looking injury. The stretcher was called for, as was the oxygen. Whatever the lads done, I’m sure everybody wishes him a speedy recovery. The ‘beast’, Adebayo Akinfenwa was also introduced at half time, all I can say is I would hate to ever have played against him. There were chances at either end, with both Goalkeepers having to make a few comfortable saves before Wycombe thought they’d taken he lead only for the lineswoman to rule that the initial cross had swung out of play. The general feeling was that it was only a matter of time before Wycombe took the lead and that proved to be correct as Garry Thompson was pushed to the floor by Danny Wright in the aftermath of a corner. Penalty to the Chairboys. Up stepped left back Joe Jacobson who, cool as you like sent the keeper the wrong way to give Wycombe the lead with 10 minutes left. Cheltenham didn’t look like they had much left but big front man Wright clearly keen to atone for his critical mistake bundled his way in between two defenders causing Michael Harriman to bring him down in the area. Penalty to the away side just 2 minutes after they had conceded one. Up stepped Waters, Blackman guessed correctly and got his right hand to the spot kick only for the ball to spill back to Waters who tucked home his second of the afternoon with a neat outside of the boot finish from close range. Wycombe threw the kitchen sink at Cheltenham as 11 minutes additional time was indicated. The best chance of this period however fell to Wright who twisted and turned his way to the byline only to cut back and aiming for the far corner send the ball agonisingly across the face of the goal. Full time 3-3, and breathe. The visitors clearly happier with a share of the spoils in their fight to stay in the Football League. A few of the Wycombe players crumpled to the turf as their playoff hopes were once again dented on home soil.
As I sit on the train approaching home, reflecting on the day and the match, I’m happy. I’m a football fan so a thrilling 3-3 draw that’s perfect for the neutral suits me down to the ground. A great advert for League Two today and both sides should be proud. I’ve never been to a game at this level before and I was delighted at my first time. Thanks for having me Wycombe Wanderers and Adams Park.