Wycombe continue revival with win over Brentford
Wycombe Wanderers gave another battling performance at Adams Park this evening, beating Brentford 1-0 to record their second win in four days and climb further away from the foot of the table.
Wycombe manager Gary Waddock was forced into making two changes to the side that beat Millwall on Saturday with Michael Duberry and Matt Harrold replacing the injured Chris Westwood and Jon-Paul Pittman.
The Chairboys lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation as follows:
Hunt Duberry Oliver Woodman
Ainsworth Mousinho Doherty Betsy
Subs: Young Spence Green Westlake Harris Akinde Beavon (30)
The first ten minutes was mostly played in the Wycombe half as Brentford started the stronger side without creating any clear-cut chances.
The home side's first opportunity fell to Kevin Betsy, but after receiving a slide-rule pass in the Brentford penalty area, the winger hesitated when he should have shot first-time and the chance was gone.
It was however Betsy who started to turn the game in the Chairboys' favour when he ran at the Bees' defence twice in quick succession, rifling in fierce shots on both occasions and forcing the visitors' on-loan Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny into two excellent and acrobatic saves.
You could sense a renewed belief in the home side and they continued to pepper the Brentford goal with John Mousinho seeing a snap-shot deflected past the post and Matt Harrold also trying his luck from distance.
Scott Davies had been instrumental in much of Wycombe's build-up play and his wide variety of corner kicks were also proving troublesome to the Bees, with Gareth Ainsworth getting on the end of one near-post delivery only to direct his header wide of the target.
It was therefore a blow when Davies had to retire injured after just 30 minutes, but Waddock elected to bring Stuart Beavon on in his place and the former Weymouth forward slotted in beautifully, linking-up the play and even taking a few pot-shots at goal himself.
The Chairboys' best chance of the first-half came from a neat interchange of passes between Beavon and Ainsworth which saw the ball fed through to Harrold inside the box, only for the striker to opt for a pass to the offside Kevin Betsy instead of taking the shot himself. It was a wasted opportunity and you felt a more predatory striker than Harrold would given the Blues a well-deserved half-time lead.
The second half was only a few minutes old when a short free-kick was crossed to the back of the penalty area and Michael Duberry rose to head it back across goal only for the ball to strike the arm of Brentford defender Karleigh Osborne. The linesman immediately flagged and the referee duly pointed to the spot.
When the Bees' protests had died down, Matt Harrold stepped up to take the kick, rifling the ball past Szczesny to put the Chairboys one up.
The Blues continued to press forward in search of a second goal and after 65 minutes they won another spot-kick when the tricky Gareth Ainsworth was blatantly cut down as he wriggled free in the box with only the keeper to beat.
Out came the red card for Brentford's James Wilson, but with a great chance to put the game to bed, Harrold couldn't replicate his earlier success and the young keeper saved with his trailing leg.
Ainsworth had been impressive all game. Seemingly as tough as old boots, he almost always emerged from tackles still in possession of the ball and must have won ninety percent of his aerial challenges tonight, the other ten percent being harmlessly headed into touch by his under-pressure opponent.
Another top performer was John Mousinho. He possesses great strength and stamina and as others around him tired, he could still be found running about like a spring chicken, covering at the back and closing people down all over the pitch. He was also unfortunate with a rasping shot which went narrowly over the crossbar.
Stuart Beavon was also having a good game. He's a clever player with good movement off the ball and he quickly seemed to forge an understanding with both Betsy and Ainsworth.
After one clever interchange of passes between Betsy and Beavon, the striker bore down on goal from a narrow angle and tried to slide the ball past Szczesny only for the keeper's legs to come to the Bees' rescue yet again.
Strangely enough, Brentford, who had offered very little going forward all night, actually seemed to improve after they went down to ten men, but there's a new-found determination about the Chairboys at the moment and they held firm until the referee finally blew the full-time whistle after playing almost 7 minutes of added time.
On the balance of play this was another fully deserved victory for Wycombe and if they continue to work as hard as they did tonight they'll give themselves every chance of survival.
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