The Verdict: Officials grab the headlines in top of the table clash
The Young and Farmer show
Top of the table clash, the main body of this verdict shouldn’t be about the match officials, but unfortunately I can’t start anywhere else. Referee Alan Young and his assistant Aaron Farmer had evenings that will live long in the memory, for all the wrong reasons.
The first questionable decision was the failing to award Town an early penalty for handball. Jon Nolan’s shot appeared to have struck Joe Jacobson’s left arm but the officials were unmoved in the claims.
That decision you could give the officials the benefit of the doubt, however, to disallow the goal, you certainly can’t.
Chambers steered home a Garbutt cross, with the ball appearing to take a touch of a Wycombe defender on the way in. After all the celebrations and with the game set to restart, Young went over and discussed the goal with his assistant Farmer, with the goal then getting chalked off. They seem to have guessed Kayden Jackson, stood in an offside position, to have touched the ball. He didn’t. To rub further salt in the wounds, James Norwood then picked up his fifth booking of the season complaining at Mr Farmer, meaning he will now sit out Coventry (league) Saturday week.
The final bit of action for Young was to award Wycombe Wanderers a penalty, the fact the contact was outside the box and Chambers didn’t even receive a booking just summed up his evening.
In the build up to the penalty, Janoi Donacien (one of eleven booked) absolutely wiped out a Wycombe attacker, how he did not receive a second yellow card is beyond me. New rules state the referee can go back and issue a second yellow card and the resulting red card in the next break of play.
Dropped home points (again)
The goalless draw against Wycombe was the second home draw in the space of four days following Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Blackpool. That is now eleven points dropped at Portman Road so far this campaign after draws with Sunderland, Doncaster, Blackpool and Wycombe alongside the defeat to Rotherham.
All of those teams have sights of being in and around the top six come May so perhaps Lambert and his team need to look at ways to beat the better sides who appear to be settling for a point at Portman Road.
The main news at 18:45 was that James Norwood was back up top with Kayden Jackson and Tomas Holy was preferred to Will Norris in goal.
Without being at his best, Norwood certainly makes a big difference to Town, a vocal point who is sorely missed when not playing.
As for Holy, I have said on a few occasions how harsh I thought it was when he was dropped at Southend. He has done very little wrong since signing for Town and the passion he has for the club is second to none. His reaction to saving the penalty was enough to make me smile on a very frustrating evening.
Zero shots on target
For all our first half dominance last night, and yes we did score a legitimate goal, Town didn’t actually register a shot on target in 100 minutes of football at Portman Road.
The first half Town put Wycombe to the sword, they didn’t look anything like a team at the top of the league. However, after the break Town were a little underwhelming and never really got going. Wycombe could be the more disappointed not to have won the game, with the usually reliable Joe Jacobson missing his 88th minute penalty.
The timing of substitutions appear to be a frustrating theme occurring with Lambert. Just like on Saturday, the game needed freshening up. Lambert waited until the 82nd minute against Wycombe to bring on wide players Danny Rowe and Gwion Edwards and go 4-4-2. Too late.
One player who can probably be justified in his frustration in a lack of action is Alan Judge. The playmaker won the game for Town at Lincoln in the FA Cup a fortnight ago, but has been forced to sit and watch on for both key games, playing under ten minutes of action against Blackpool.
Lead stays at five
At the end of the night the lead could have been cut to two, should have been extended to eight, actually stays as it was at five. Wycombe came to get a point and that’s somehow after 100 minutes of football what they went home with.
Town still have two games in hand on Gareth Ainsworth’s men and win both of them will see Town top. Last night’s draw extended Town’s lead to Peterborough to four, (Town with game in hand) and six ahead of seventh place Fleetwood.