Wycombe Win Again to Close Gap on Brentford
Wycombe Wanderers made it two wins in a row when they beat Gillingham 1-0 at Adams Park this afternoon to bank what could prove to be a vital 3 points in their quest for promotion to League One.
The Chairboys' two loan signings, Lee Sawyer and John Akinde combined for the winning goal which took Wycombe back to 2nd place in the table only 2 points behind league-leaders Brentford who drew at home to Exeter City this afternoon.
Manager Peter Taylor made two changes to the team that beat Darlington on Tuesday, with Tommy Doherty returning in place of Gary Holt and Matt Harrold coming in for Jon-Paul Pittman.
The Chairboys lined up in a 4-3-3 formation as follows:
Hunt McCracken Sinclair Woodman
Sawyer(83) Doherty(89) Bloomfield
Zebroski Harrold(43) Akinde
Subs: Jones Oliver(89) Mousinho(83) Phillips(43) Beavon
The home fans were treated to an excellent display from the Chairboys in the first half and then made to suffer after the break when their side retreated back into their shell and invited the visitors to pile on the pressure.
Chris Zebroski had one of his best matches in the famous blue-quarters this afternoon and only the woodwork prevented him from scoring the opening goal in the 4th minute. Latching onto a pass from Matt Bloomfield, Zebroski turned on a sixpence and fired in a low shot which had Gills keeper Simon Royce beaten before cannoning back off the foot of the post.
Wycombe were camped in the Gillingham half at this point and the energetic Lee Sawyer was at the centre of things as they continued to take the game to the visitors.
A head injury to defender Simon King saw the Gills down to ten men for a while, but despite enjoying a numerical advantage, the Chairboys were unable to make the vital breakthrough. Matt Harrold's 17th minute header was the closest they came although it didn't really trouble Royce who saved comfortably
King had obviously gone off for treatment on an open-wound and after 23 minutes, Wycombe skipper David McCracken suffered the same fate and returned to the pitch with his head heavily bandaged.
Gillingham's only real chance in the first half fell to Simeon Jackson after 40 minutes and the prolific marksman will be disappointed that his shot from inside the area totally missed the target.
Having enjoyed so much of the play but with nothing to show for it, John Akinde's opening goal after 41 minutes brought a huge cheer from the crowd and was no more than Wycombe deserved.
The lively Lee Sawyer picked the ball up in midfield and threaded a beautifully weighted pass through the Gills defence for Akinde to run onto. Royce came out to narrow the angle but the big striker was coolness personified as he slotted the ball under the keeper and into the back of the net.
An injury to Matt Harrold forced Blues' manager Peter Taylor into a substitution just before half-time and Matt Phillips joined the fray.
Having played their best football for weeks in the first-half, Wycombe were frustratingly poor after the interval. They had looked by far the better side. The full backs had pushed forward at will, the midfield at last had an attacking threat in Sawyer and the whole team had closed the Gills down quickly, never allowing them any time on the ball.
Then it all changed. The Chairboys sat back in their own half and invited Gillingham to attack them. The visitors couldn't believe their luck. After seeing little of the ball in the first half they were now allowed time and space to set about levelling the game.
In the first of a series of Gillingham attacks, Jamie Young saved from Jackson after 50 minutes, but the respite was short-lived and the visitors were awarded a penalty 2 minutes later.
Some poor defending by Wycombe had allowed Jackson to break into the box and when he went down under what looked an innocuous challenge, the referee waved play on, only to change his mind when he spotted his linesman signalling for a spot-kick. It was a strange change of heart from referee Mason, given his own close proximity to the incident.
After the usual lengthy protest, Jackson stepped up to take the kick and promptly ballooned it over the bar to the delight of the Chairboys' biggest home crown of the season.
Still the home side sat back and five minutes later a goalmouth scramble seemed to go on forever before the ball luckily deflected straight into keeper Jamie Young's arms.
Curtis Weston was next to try his luck for the visitors but his header after 63 minutes sailed over the bar when he should have scored.
And so it went on. Wycombe didn't have a shot at goal in the whole of the second half as the visitors piled forward.
Some heroic defending saw Tommy Doherty throw himself in front of Barcham's shot to deflect what looked a certain goal wide of the post. It may be costly though, as Doherty landed awkwardly and although he played on, he was clearly struggling and was eventually replaced by Luke Oliver towards the end of the match.
Lee Sawyer had worked hard and shown his class today, so it was no surprise when he was applauded off the field when replaced by John Mousinho.
Lewis Hunt was next to save the day, throwing himself into a 88th minute block-tackle which again thwarted the luckless Simeon Jackson.
When the final whistle went a huge roar of relief echoed round Adams Park.
To take all three points in a match against one of your promotion rivals at this stage of the season is a superb result. It was a very risky strategy in the second-half and ugly to watch, but no doubt Peter Taylor will say the end justifies the means.
The type of midfielder we've been crying out for all season.
Wycombe Man Of The Match
Hard working and effective all over the pitch
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