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Wycombe Wanderers 1 Aston Villa 1: Controversial penalty keeps pressure on Garde

League Two outfit Wycombe Wanderers earned a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round to increase the pressure on manager Remi Garde.

Micah Richards had given Premier League club Villa a first-half lead at Adams Park on Saturday, but Joe Jacobson levelled with a controversial penalty after the break to earn the fourth-tier side a lucrative replay.

Villa will feel aggrieved by the penalty decision given against them for Ashley Westwood’s aerial challenge after being denied a claim of their own from Richards earlier in the match.

But it could have been worse for the visitors after Jores Okore cleared Sam Wood’s volley off the goal-line.

The result means Villa’s winless run extends to 16 matches in all competitions as their awful season goes on.

The home team made two changes, while Garde switched six of his players, with the ill Jack Grealish missing out and Joleon Lescott dropping to the bench.

Short on confidence, Villa made a nervous start as Garry Thompson stabbed wide from close range when the visitors failed to deal with a corner, before Mark Bunn had to save from Sam Wood, who should have done better with his shot from a decent opening.

But Garde’s men took the lead on 22 minutes with a simple goal. Carles Gil dribbled towards the box from the right, finding Richards with his pass and the defender comfortably beat keeper Alex Lynch with a sweeping finish into the far corner for his second goal of the season.

Wood was off-target after combining with Matt Bloomfield in an impressive Wycombe move and Aaron Pierre headed over from a Jacobson corner as the hosts made a decent response to falling behind.

Referee Michael Oliver rejected a Villa penalty claim just prior to half-time, with Richards feeling he had been tugged back by Anthony Stewart as he attempted to get on the end of Leandro Bacuna’s flick-on.

That decision became even more significant just three minutes into the second half when Wycombe were awarded a penalty. Westwood was adjudged, perhaps harshly, to have fouled Bloomfield as they contested a high ball and Jacobson confidently sent Bunn the wrong way from the spot.

It was almost two just a few moments later when an impressive goal-bound volley from Wood, who latched on to Thompson’s deep cross, was hacked off the line by Okore.

Bacuna’s long-range free-kick was unconvincingly saved by Lynch at the other end and substitute Jordan Ayew shot just wide after a good run.

Villa were even closer to a late winner when Rudy Gestede’s deflected shot rebounded off the angle between post and crossbar, but Wycombe held on.

Sat 9 Jan, 2016
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