Minstermen punish miserable display
York City 2 Wycombe Wanderers 0
An abject Wycombe performance was duly punished as Ryan Bowman`s penalty and a Josh Carson strike condemned the Blues to a second consecutive defeat which leaves them firmly rooted in a relegation battle. It was a thoroughly disappointing afternoon, and after some progress in recent weeks this was a case of one step forward, two steps back.
There were two changes to the Wanderers side, with new loan signing and local lad Sam Togwell replacing Jesse Kewley-Graham, and Jo Kuffour in for the injured Matt McClure. Jon-Paul Pittman was back in the squad, taking a place on the bench.
Right from the start York were fastest out the traps with Marvin McCoy having to make a goal line clearance within the opening minute.
It didn't take long for the hosts` pressure to be rewarded though. The impressive Michael Coulson was upended in the box by Dean Morgan, and referee Steven Rushton pointed to the spot. Bowman stepped up to give his side the lead.
The visitors almost responded immediately but Morgan couldn't make up for conceding the penalty, as he dragged a shot tamely wide.
After only ten minutes York thought their lead was doubled. Keith Lowe met a Hayhurst corner and headed past Ingram but a foul was given, unnoticed by several York players who continued to celebrate for a good thirty seconds before eventually realising Wycombe were on the attack. However, even with several York defenders celebrating a disallowed goal, the Blues couldn't get out of their own half.
York continued to dominate but Wycombe did try to work their way into the game. Jo Kuffour was probably the only bright spark for Ainsworth's side. Kuffour has scored 108 career goals, which can't all be down to luck. Unfortunately his Wycombe career has never kicked on due to persistent long balls in the direction of a 5`7" striker up against 6` defenders. He needs the ball played into his feet, and on the rare occasions it has been, Kuffour has shown glimpses of what he can do.
However, the most frustrating feature of the afternoon was Ainsworth's persistence in bringing every player back for York corners. The Minstermen, on the other hand, showed exactly how it should be done.
The Blues had a number of corners in the first half, and on every single occasion York left two players forward which meant Wycombe had to leave three back. For virtually all of these corners the ball was looped into the box and easily claimed by 6'3 York keeper Nick Pope. He would immediately release the ball putting Wycombe under pressure, as the home side quickly counter-attacked while the Blues` two centre backs were still up the other end of the pitch.
In the final five minutes of the half Arnold fired a shot over the bar and Togwell was denied a tap-in after some phenomenal defending by Ben Davies. However it was during first half stoppage time that York did double their advantage, and it was comical on all counts and a major lesson for Ainsworth.
A bizarre short corner from Sam Wood, when nobody had come short to meet it, was cleared to one of the York players positioned on the half way line rather than back defending. The ball eventually fell for Carson and he beat Ingram at his near post with a shot that the keeper really should have saved.
Wycombe did improve slightly after the break. Ainsworth made two substitutions as he brought on both Steven Craig and Reece Styche. However, despite being 2-0 down he decided to bring these two strikers on, for two strikers, when it might been more advisable to play three up front in a bid to get back into the game.
York continued to look dangerous themselves and Ingram saved smartly from Hayhurst. Leon Johnson also cleared a shot off the line.
Meanwhile at the other end, Pope saved well after a Wycombe corner wasn't dealt with for a change and Arnold hit a free-kick straight at the keeper. Ainsworth then brought on Anthony Jeffrey for the disappointing Kretzschmar.
The best chance of the half fell for Steven Craig, who after a promising first month to his Wycombe career, has been highly anonymous ever since. He was put through on goal but his first shot hit the post and he couldn't convert the rebound into the empty net.
Things got even worse for the Blues as debutant Togwell was shown a second yellow card in stoppage time leading to the Wanderers` ninth red card of the season.
It was a result you couldn't argue with, and a performance best forgotten. Sam Wood had a torrid afternoon, and in all fairness is having a poor run of form. His head was down for much of the game and when the supporters` coach bumped into the team at a service station on the way home, the whole team looked down, but Wood was particularly dejected and he, along with his team mates need a massive pick me up prior to Tuesday`s trip to Cheltenham.
The importance of this game should be stressed. It`s followed by games against Rochdale, Burton and Scunthorpe who are all in the top five. Fail to win on Tuesday, and the situation could be very messy come the end of the month.
Ingram 5, McCoy 4, Stewart 6, Johnson 6, Wood 3, Arnold 4, Togwell 4, Bloomfield 6, Kretzschmar 4 (Jeffrey 5), Morgan 4 (Craig 4), Kuffour 6* (Styche 5)