More medicine than rubber ball!

Coca-Cola League OneWycombe Wanderers 1 Colchester United 1AIDY Boothroyd called for his side to keep on bouncing ahead of this match - but to follow his metaphor through this was more medicine than rubber ball.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

Coca-Cola League One

Wycombe Wanderers 1 Colchester United 1

AIDY Boothroyd called for his side to keep on bouncing ahead of this match - but to follow his metaphor through this was more medicine than rubber ball.

Colchester never really got out of third gear in the return of this eagerly anticipated 'derby' and a Wycombe side at the other end of the table fully deserved their late equaliser.

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Yet the fact remains that the U's are now unbeaten in eight league games and are continually putting points on the table when not playing particularly well.

Winning at home and drawing away is an almost certain formula for promotion so, in that respect, this was another step forward.

However the highly ambitious Boothroyd will know that performance levels will have to rise if the workings of the aforementioned equation are to add up come the end of a long season.

Former Wycombe boss Martin O'Neill once joked that this fixture is a fiercer derby clash than Celtic versus Rangers.

But with an almost completely new set of players and staff having arrived at both clubs since the last time these two met five years ago the rivalry never really transpired from the stands to the pitch.

The visitors were just about good value for their half-time lead which came with a free delivery charge courtesy of a howler from keeper Scott Shearer.

Following a back-pass from Michael Duberry, the Scottish shot-stopper inexplicably tried to dribble the ball around the on-rushing Kayode Odejayi in the 23rd minute.

However, he only succeeded in getting himself completely tangled up on the edge of his own box and the on-loan Nigerian gleefully took the chance to poke the ball past him before rolling it into the unguarded net for his fifth goal in four games.

Wycombe would have been in front at that point had it not been for the man some unkind fans have dubbed '50p head'. Experienced former Chelsea and Leeds defender allegedly earnt the nickname for his inability to direct any kind of aerial ball and he showed why when heading well wide from a close range, unmarked position following the failure of a U's offside trap at a deep free-kick.

Jon-Joe O'Toole had a cheeky chip well saved before the break, but Colchester failed to kick on after the interval.

Wycombe, constantly committing men forward as promised by new manager Gary Waddock, looked the more likely to get a goal.

Substitute striker Jon-Paul Pittman made a difference when he entered the fray after 56 minutes and John White can count him fortunate not have seen red when hauling the American back by his shirt collar as he looked to race clear.

The former Aston Villa academy player fired widely across the face of goal and out for a throw-in from a glorious position soon afterwards, but was rewarded three minutes from time.

Former Ipswich player Matt Bloomfield - who had come off the bench at the break to make his first appearance since August - weighted a perfect through ball allowing Pittman to slot under the exposed Ben Williams.

Shearer made a good save from Magnus Okuonghae at the end, while John-Joe O'Toole had a reasonable shout for a penalty turned down, but in truth a win would have flattered Colchester and been unfair on a Wycombe side that, despite their point, have slipped to the foot of the table.

If Boothroyd does want his ball to keep on bouncing, then he will need to give it a bit of a gentle downward push this week.

Wycombe: Scott Shearer 5, Lewis Hunt 6, Craig Woodman 6, Leon Johnson 6, Michael Duberry (cpt) 6, Ian Westlake 6 (Jon-Paul Pittman 56 - 7), Matt Phillips 6, Scott Davies 8, Marlon Pack 7 (Matt Bloomfield 46 - 6), Kevin Betsy 6 (Chris Zebroski 78 - 6), Matt Harrold 7.

Unused Subs: Jamie Young, Luke Oliver, Lewis Montrose, Chris Westwood.

Booked: Harold (45+), Woodman (73).

Colchester: Ben Williams 6, John White 7, Marc Tierney 6, Danny Batth 6, Magnus Okuonghae 6, Kevin Lisbie 6 (Phil Ifil 83), Anthony Wordsworth 6, John-Joe O'Toole 6, Kem Izzet 7, Kayode Odejayi 6 (Steven Gillespie 71 - 6), Clive Platt 6.

Unused Subs: Mark Cousins, Matt Heath, Simon Hackney, David Fox, Medy Elito.

Booked: Batth (13), O'Toole (73), Wordsworth (79), White (82).

Man-of-the-Match: Scott Davies

Attendance: 5,394.

Referee: Mr C Sarginson

ADAMS Park was treated to an amusing moment just before half-time of this match when referee Chris Sarginson was forced to substitute himself.

The injured ref, who appeared to pull a leg muscle, spent over five minutes swapping kit and radio equipment with one of his assistants as the two teams stopped for drinks.

The fourth official then jokingly held up a blank substitute board to signal the changeover, before his replacement somehow only found three minutes of first half stoppage time.

COLCHESTER fans harked back to the days of their early rivalry with Wycombe by singing 'There's only one Scott Barrett'.

The goalkeeper had been on loan at Layer Road back in the 1991/92 season when his long punt forward bounced directly into the Wycombe net to seal a dramatic injury time win at Adams Park.

The U's went on to pip the Chairboys to the Conference title that season leading to the 'derby' rivalry that has since developed.

The other highlight from the noisy travelling support - which numbered over 1,000 - was a rousing rendition of 'happy birthday to you' for 31-year-old Kevin Lisbie.

Follow the EADT's Colchester United reporter on twitter at Stuart_Watson

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