League Two Stopper of the Season: Jamal Blackman

Brilliant Blackman – bucksfreepress.co.uk

Anyone who follows Experimental 361 will know that while Wycombe Wanderers have worked hard to stay in the play-off race, fortune has favoured them at times. They have been projected to concede around 1.4 goals per game based on Expected Goals, but their actual average of 1.2 is partly down to the work of Jamal Blackman.

The goalkeeper has kept 11 clean sheets this term, five of which coming when faced with top eight opposition including two against Blackpool. The Tangerines visited Adams Park earlier this month which saw Blackman save a match-deciding penalty, his late interventions equally impressive at Bloomfield Road in August.

Blackman was central to victory at Cambridge in October, when he kept the Chairboys level at 1-1 long enough for a 95th minute goal to be the winner. Three days later, Wycombe won another away game late on despite having been peppered for long spells, this time at Newport. Had a more limited stopper been between the sticks that week, Gareth Ainsworth’s side might have picked up one or two points rather than six.

Pierre, who scored the winner at Cambridge, has long been recognized as one of the best centre-backs in League Two and he continues his good form alongside Anthony Stewart. At the other end, Adebayo Akinfenwa has used his physical frame to goalscoring effect, whilst providing charisma and leadership in the dressing room.

However, Wycombe’s 23-year-old Chelsea loanee has saved them points in games in which performance levels from outfield players dip. Blackman has been one of the key figures behind the club’s play-off push.