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Report: Points shared against Wycombe at Highbury

Madden's fourth of the season only earns Town a point

2 October 2018

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An injury-hit Fleetwood Town dominated Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday night, but were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Highbury.

Despite dominating large periods of an entertaining game, Fleetwood could only convert one of their chances. Paddy Madden gave his side the lead after 36 minutes but Wycombe Wanderers rallied after the break and scored through experienced striker Abedayo Akinfenwa. 

Joey Barton’s side were missing Ched Evans, Tommy Spurr, Craig Morgan, Conor McAleny and Dean Marney, but welcomed back Ash Hunter and James Wallace to the side after serving suspensions.

There was an early scare for Fleetwood. Randell Williams nearly stole in after two minutes but an alert Alex Cairns came out to stifle the threat. Fleetwood took the game to Wycombe, attacking with pace, and a slick move down the right after nine minutes set up Hunter from a narrow angle but his shot missed the target. There were further chances as the Wycombe defence came under intense pressure three minutes later. In a matter of seconds came opportunities for Hunter, Wes Burns and Madden. The Irishman forced a fine reflex save from Ryan Allsop, the keeper diving to his left. 

Fleetwood maintained the pressure with an expansive, fluid style of play which stretched the visitors. Hunter was outstanding on his return while Ross Wallace was busy and influential in midfield. At the back, Sheron was a calm figure, albeit with little pressure to absorb.

Fleetwood pressure finally paid dividends after 36 minutes. Ryan Taylor found Hunter, his cross from the right was met by Madden, whose glancing header past Allsop was his fourth EFL goal of the season. 

Wycombe started the second half brightly. Ash Eastham was booked for felling Craig Mackail-Smith on the edge of the penalty area as the Chairboys enjoyed their best spell of the game. Fleetwood responded, Lewie Coyle firing a left foot shot too high from Madden's pass. The next move saw Wycombe draw level. Hesitancy in defence allowed Akinfenwa to score past Cairns from sixteen yards in the 55th minute.

Coyle came forward immediately after, his shot taking a slight deflection and stretching Allsop into a fingertip save low to his right.  In a see-saw few minutes, Wycombe then came close again with Akinfenwa on hand. They had upped their game significantly from their first half performance.

It was entertaining fare for the crowd of 2,304. There was a heart-stopping moment for the Cod Army in the 65th minute. Dominic Gape struck a sumptuous shot from outside the area. Cairns got a hand to it and it ricocheted off the crossbar.

Then it was Fleetwood's turn to apply pressure again and minute by minute they regained the ground they had dominated in the first half. In the 77th minute a wonderful low cross from the right wing by Ross Wallace found a stooping Madden, whose header whistled past the upright in front of the Memorial Stand. The effervescent Hunter covered every blade as Fleetwood strived for the winner but it was not to be and both sides shared the spoils.

Fleetwood: Alex Cairns, Lewie Coyle, Ash Eastham, Nathan Sheron, James Husband, Wes Burns, Ryan Taylor, James Wallace (Harrison Biggins, 81) Ross Wallace, Ash Hunter, Paddy Madden.

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