It's five undefeated as Blues win at Stanley
Accrington Stanley 0 Wycombe Wanderers 2
Vital Wycombe would like to thank guest writer Adam Clift for the following report.
First half goals from Bruno Andrade and Matt McClure were enough to extend Wycombe's unbeaten run to five matches and help them leapfrog their opponents as they pulled further away from the relegation zone. It was a well earned three points after the Blues had to play with ten men for the third match in a row after McClure received two quick fire yellow cards early in the second half.
Player/Manager Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the side from last week's 2-2 draw with Morecambe as he himself replaced the suspended Joel Grant while Marvin McCoy came in for the injured Dave Winfield. This pushed Charles Dunne to centre-back along with Kortney Hause, making the combined age of the Wanderer's central defenders three years younger than that of their manager.
The first shot of note came after just 10 seconds as Stanley's Bohan Dixon struck wide. But it was a false sense of hope for Accy as Wycombe took control of the game and Matt McClure narrowly missed the target after some neat play from Josh Scowen. Moments later Wycombe were ahead when captain for the day Stuart Lewis saw his effort blocked but the ball fell kindly for Bruno Andrade, who bagged his second goal in Wycombe colours with a tidy finish. The lead was almost doubled shortly afterwards when McClure saw his long range effort fly over the top of Paul Rachubka's crossbar as Wycombe continued to threaten.
At the other end, Jordan Archer was rarely tested as Luke Joyce and Romuald Boco both failed to hit the target from distance while Hause and Dunne made sure that Accrington's chances were few and far between. The dominance of the away side was rewarded when McClure eventually got his goal as he tapped in after Dean Morgan's shot had cannoned back off the post. It was the strikers fifth goal in as many games and he joined Joel Grant on six league goals for the campaign.
The Blues 2 goal cushion at the half-time interval was secured after Lee Molyneux blazed a free-kick over the top and Archer saved brilliantly from Boco.
Wanderers were forced into a change at half-time as Jo Kuffour came on for Dean Morgan who apparently strained a muscle late on in the first period. Gareth Ainsworth will be hoping it isn't too serious as fellow striker Matt McClure will definitely be out of next week's match against Capital One Cup heroes Bradford City. This was after the young striker received his marching orders ten minutes into the second half. First he was late on Michael Liddle with many Accrington players believing he could've seen red for that challenge alone, but they didn't have to wait long, as a needless challenge on Peter Murphy just five minutes later left referee Tony Harrington reaching for his pocket again. This meant the Chairboys had to play with ten men for a third game in a row as the passion Ainsworth has installed in the team has maybe gone one step too far.
However, this didn't seem to affect Wycombe as Bruno Andrade should've doubled his account for the afternoon. The Portuguese winger ran through on goal and after his initial chipped attempt was saved by Rachubka he really should have buried the rebound into an almost empty net.
The 119 strong Wycombe following hoped the miss wouldn't be critical, as from then on, Accrington bombarded Jordan Archer's goal. And for all of Wycombe's flowing football in the first half, the desire and commitment of the second was equally impressive. Firstly, a excellent sliding tackle from Andrade denied a certain goal scoring chance for Padraig Armond before both Hause and Dunne blocked brilliantly after an error from Sam Wood. Peter Murphy and Marcus Carver both missed headed opportunities for Stanley and Jordan Archer was commanding his box and limiting chances superbly.
Dennis Oli came on for the battling Ainsworth after 77 minutes before Archer was booked for time wasting and Josh Scowen received his customary yellow card for a late challenge on Luke Joyce. The Blues continued to stand firm though and Stuart Lewis blocked heroically after Marvin McCoy had carelessly given the ball away in his own area.
Jesse-Kewley Graham got a further few minutes under his belt as he replaced goal scorer Andrade late on as Wycombe held on to a spirited three points.
The passion and commitment was clear to see with Hause and Dunne in particular quashing any fears the Wanderers faithful had that their four main centre-backs were all out injured. And the new found connection between players and fans was clear to see at full-time as the squad celebrated with the fans before heading to Liverpool for their well deserved Christmas Party.
It doesn't seem like just twenty-eight days ago Wycombe went all the way to the bottom of the football league. Having picked up thirteen points from a possible fifteen they now sit eight points above the relegation zone, and just eight points off the play-offs, dare we begin to dream? The turnaround that Ainsworth has brought about, especially with such a young squad is nothing short of remarkable.
Archer 8, McCoy 7, Dunne 9, Hause 9, Wood 8, Ainsworth 7 (Oli 4), Lewis 8, Scowen 8, Andrade 8 (Kewley-Graham n/a), Morgan 7 (Kuffour 6), McClure 7