AT BALL OVER LINE RUMPUS
Murphy almost snatches late win
FOOTBALL is invariably about fine margins and Gareth Ainsworth knows that more than most after his Wycombe team’s goalless draw with Bury.
Peter Murphy’s injury-time headed effort looked to have bounced over the goal line, only for the officials to wave away the home side’s late appeals.
That was the third of Murphy’s giltedged goal-scoring opportunities against a promotion-tipped Bury side – who hit the bar themselves early on through Andrew Tutte.
Steve Craig’s suspected concussion was the only negative for Ainsworth, who knows how far his side have come after only avoiding relegation from League Two on goal difference last season.
“The boys tell me it was across the line, but then again I would have said that as a player,” said boss Ainsworth, who retired in 2013.
“We’ve made huge strides from last season both on and off the pitch. We’ve had a good start but I see these as building blocks.
“We’re still focusing on getting those points to keep us in the league, then see where we can get after that.
“Stevie [Craig] is my main concern at the moment. The reports are it’s a concussion, so he may have to have some time off and I’m not about to risk anyone’s life. He was typical of the performance, putting himself there for the team and I think you saw that from all the players.
“The application and effort I’ve seen this year is brilliant and particularly against possibly the league favourites.
“I think the fans would have left here buzzing after a great point at home.”
It was a bright opening at Adams Park as Tutte struck the Wycombe crossbar from just inside the area in the third minute.
But the hosts grew into the contest, and Sam Wood’s left-footed 20-yard drive was well parried by Rob Lainton soon after.
Murphy should have then given the Chairboys the lead on 14 minutes, but the former Accrington man scuffed his ten-yard effort with the goal at his mercy.Yet it was Bury who produced the move of the half as neat build-up play between the Shakers’ frontline set up Danny Mayor, only to see Matt Ingram save well low to his right.
Bury looked to be in the ascendency after the break too, but a lengthy delay due to an injury to Craig allowed Wycombe to regroup.
Murphy was soon back among the goalmouth action again, but his closerange header was superbly saved by Lainton.
Indeed, Wycombe should have stolen the points at the death but Matt McClure and Murphy again squandered chances inside the six-yard box as Bury desperately held on for a point in 14 minutes of injury time.
Bury boss David Flitcroft was relieved to come away with the point given the late drama and was delighted by a clean sheet against an energised Wycombe side.
“Any point away from home is a point well-earned and I’m happy with that. Wycombe show just what Gaz [Ainsworth] is about and what he was about as a player,” said Flitcroft.
“They’re one of the most hardworking teams in the league – they’re fit and they will press you and keep going.
“They’re a tough team and not many teams will come out of here with many points.
“I was sensing a change in the game up to the injury. I think that lengthy beak refuelled them.
“The plan was to wear them down in midfield because of their high tempo but the break came at just the wrong time for us and gave them another burst.
“They had the chances at the end and it was heart in the mouth stuff for us and whether or not it’s gone over I’m not so sure.
“But still, Pablo Mills’ performance warranted a clean sheet and that’s what I’m most pleased about.”
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STAR MAN SIDO JOMBA