Wycombe 1 City 0

Wycombe boast one of the more unusual nicknames in the league.

You may get plenty of Citys, Uniteds and Towns; not to mention Blues, Reds, Whites and even a couple of Hatters.

But there is only club known as the Chairboys.

It’s a nod to the profession which put High Wycombe on the map. As local boy Paul McLaren remarked, it’s not a great footballing town.

The football they get to see week in, week out is probably not great either.

Like the chairs that made their economy, Wycombe are rock solid; they do an effective job; they are not something you will discuss avidly in the pub.

Valley Parade season-ticket holders may have had plenty to grumble about down the years but at least there is usually something happening.

The Wycombe faithful have yet to view a league defeat – their side remain the last unbeaten club in England and Scotland. But how much do they actually enjoy their trips down Adams Park?

Wycombe have only twice scored more than once in a game this season. Their top league striker has four goals.

If it’s unpredictable free-flowing thrills and spills you’re after, it may not be the obvious location.

But take nothing away from the side Peter Taylor has assembled. They are very good at what they do, hence their lofty position.

The cliche “strong unit” was made for Wycombe.

It would be simpler to chisel into Fort Knox with a tea-spoon than prise apart centre halves Mike Williamson and David McCracken – the task that poor Barry Conlon was presented with on Saturday.

The shattered expression on the Irishman afterwards told the story after 90 minutes of banging his head against the blue-quartered wall.

Conlon, at least, had an occasional flash of a chance; the best in stoppage time when he couldn’t quite get his bonce on the end of Nicky Law’s inviting cross.

But Peter Thorne got absolutely zilch. The division’s top scorer had talked with relish about having a pop at the division’s best defence.

In Thorne’s eyes, that was what football was all about. But on Saturday there was only one winner and he hardly got a sniff of improving his 11-goal tally.

Not that there were many more chances at the other end, where City’s back-line stood up just as well. For long spells, both goalkeepers could have put a comfy armchair to good use.

Stuart McCall had not gone with any negative intentions. There was no return to the one-man up front formation that is yet to deliver an away win.

Michael Boulding made way for Thorne’s return and Tom Clarke was also back in to beef up the midfield. Nicky Law went back on the right but was given a roving role to drift in and support the attack when possible.

With confidence bubbling from the previous week’s FA Cup exploits, it looked like an afternoon set up for Omar Daley’s speed and invention to break open the Wycombe shackles.

The Jamaican had set the tempo at MK Dons with that early goal and he was soon teasing and tormenting again. Right back Lewis Hunt, like Shaun Cummings the Saturday before, was in all sorts of trouble whenever Daley stepped on the accelerator.

City forced three early corners and then McLaren, keen to impress watching friends and family on the eve of his 32nd birthday, picked out Daley with a glorious ball.

The winger took it in his stride, took on and beat Hunt again, before returning the favour to the midfielder, who scuffed his shot from the edge of the box.

Gary Holt, sitting tightly in front of his back four, then nicked the ball off Tom Clarke’s toe in the act of shooting as City started to ask questions.

Wycombe had started with one striker and two widemen but they were getting little out of a City back four who were again responding well to the recent criticism about the amount of goals that had been conceded.

Graeme Lee and Matt Clarke saw to targetman Matt Harrold while the full backs worked tirelessly to shut down Chris Zebroski and Matty Phillips on the flanks.

There were a couple of scares as John Mousinho and Zebroski got behind Luke O’Brien to whip in dangerous crosses but Rhys Evans clung on to one and Harrold missed the other.

It was far from a classic but McCall must have felt his men were on course for at least a hard-gleaned away point.

From a watching point of view, things thankfully opened up after the break. The arrival of teenage striker Angelo Balanta, on loan from QPR, livened up the home side, who started to look like they actually wanted to win the game.

With Wycombe coming out to play, City too sensed the opportunity to make inroads. TJ Moncur began to fly forward from right back and was disappointed not to get a cleaner connection when a chance to have a crack from 25 yards out suddenly beckoned.

O’Brien was also growing more positive and delivered a peach of a cross with his right foot that sailed just beyond Thorne at the far post.

But Wycombe should have grabbed the lead on 53 minutes as Zebroski stretched to send a Phillips cross past Evans. The crowd waited for the net to ruffle but instead the ball hit the inside of the far post, bounced along the line and straight into the arms of the relieved keeper.

After Barnet’s disputed equaliser in the previous league game, the City stopper will feel he was due that change of fortune.

The near-miss stirred up the home support which had been totally outsung by their City counterparts and the excellent drummer. We had a game on our hands.

Wycombe were creating more pressure without too much threat. Zebroski glanced a header over but the City rearguard resisted most that came their way.

A few players kept losing their footing and it looked like the only way of separating the sides would come from a slip or lucky deflection.

With 20 minutes to go and a point firmly in City’s sights, that is exactly what happened.

Mousinho’s through ball was cut out in the box by the sliding Lee. But his clearing tackle struck a Wycombe leg and suddenly fell into the path of Hunt.

The unmarked defender needed no invitation and smacked an angled drive past Evans.

McCall threw on Boulding as time ticked away but Wycombe weren’t going to cough up their precious advantage.

City mounted a late rally which saw Moncur shoot wide and crosses from Law and O’Brien whizz unrewarded across the goalmouth.