Familiar story as Fulham oust Blues from Cup
Wycombe Wanderers 0 Fulham 2
The Chairboys bowed out of the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle after an all too familiar League Cup tie at Adams Park.
Just like previous years, Wycombe played some nice football but a moment of class from higher league opposition killed them off. Lucas Piazon hit a wonder strike, before Denis Odoi ensured Fulham were 2-0 victors and advanced to Round Two.
Gareth Ainsworth made seven changes to the side that drew with Lincoln at the weekend. He reverted to a 3-5-2 formation with Joe Jaocbson and Max Muller slotting into the back three alongside captain Adam El-Abd.
There was a professional debut for QPR loanee Jack Williams at left-wing back, Michael Harriman on the right. Marcus Bean, Danny Rowe and Matt Bloomfield came into the midfield three, while Paris Cowan-Hall and Paul Hayes started up front.
Fulham meanwhile made a full eleven changes to the side that played Norwich on the opening day of the season.
The visitors saw the majority of the ball early on, but Wanderers were pressuring their opponents into misplaced passes as they struggled to stamp their authority on the game.
The first chance of note came when Odoi glanced on a Cottagers` corner but Scott Brown was on hand to make a fine reflex save.
There was a break in play as Cowan-Hall went down injured for the hosts, but after a spell of treatment he was OK to carry on.
Wanderer`s first opportunity fell to Max Muller. But he mistimed his header at the back post from another superb Joe Jacobson free-kick delivery.
England u21 international Cauley Woodrow then broke free for Fulham but his shot hit the side netting. And Brown then saved brilliantly from Odoi after he went through, tipping the wingers effort around the post.
Michael Harriman tried his luck on the half volley from 25 yards, but Marek Rodak got his body behind it.
Three minutes of stoppage time passed by and the game remained goalless at the break.
Nathan Tyson was introduced at the interval, replacing Cowan-Hall who`d had a very quiet first half.
The opening chance of the second period fell to Woodrow, but he fluffed his lines at the back post.
Up the other end, Paul Hayes did well to dig out a cross, but Rodak got there just before Tyson.
Marcus Bean let fly but sliced horribly wide when he should`ve done better. And Harriman got agonisingly close to being able to head home after Hayes had flicked on Danny Rowe`s cross. The flag had gone up for offside though.
Tyson was causing all sorts of problems with his pace, he regularly had the beating of his man and a ball over the top was always looking a possibility.
On one occasion when he broke free his cut back was behind Hayes, and didn`t quite have enough on it to reach Matt Bloomfield. And moments later he cut in himself but his shot was blocked from a tight angle.
Then with the game 67 minutes old, the opening goal arrived. Lucas Piazon, who is on the books of Chelsea, found himself in space from distance and sent a screamer into the top corner. Brown had absolutely no chance.
Adebayo Akinfenwa then entered proceedings in place of Hayes. Nick Freeman replaced Jack Williams. This also led to a change of formation to 4-4-2, with Marcus Bean going to right-back, Harriman right midfield and Freeman on the left.
The performance of Freeman was another positive of the evening, as he was direct and regularly beat his man out wide.
However with just under ten minutes remaining the game was over. Brown spilt an Aboubakar Kamara shot, which El-Abd had to turn behind. From the resulting corner Odoi glanced a header into the back of the net.
Wycombe kept pushing. Bloomfield fired over on the half volley, and Tyson saw his header well saved from Rodak. But yet again the Blues were out of the League Cup in the first round, and have still won only one match in the competition since their run to the semi-final in the 2006/07 season.
As in previous seasons there was a fair amount of football on show, and let`s hope that this can continue.
One thing is for sure, Wycombe fans making the trip to Port Vale on Saturday will be hoping to see Nathan Tyson through the middle, rather than wasted out wide as he was against Lincoln.
Brown 6 - Nothing he could do about first goal but spilt a shot ahead of the second.
Harriman 6 - Got forward well from wing back.
Williams 6 - Quite a good debut.
Muller 6 - Good performance, think we`ll see a lot more of him this season.
El-Abd 6 - Looks a good signing. Always wants the ball and wants to play it on the floor.
Jacobson 6 - Slightly different role for him. Did well.
Bean 6 - Standard Marcus Bean performance.
Rowe 7 - Yet another very good Danny Rowe performance.
Bloomfield 6 - Put himself about, but lacked quality when he had the ball.
Hayes 5 - Unfortunately just isn`t good enough anymore.
Cowan-Hall 5 - Quiet half and subbed presumably as a precaution at HT.
Tyson 8* - Outstanding second half performance. Ineffective out wide on Saturday but brilliant tonight. Still got pace and looked a threat. Must play centrally on Saturday at Port Vale.
Akinfenwa 6 - Didn`t get into the game.
Freeman 7 - A positive from the night. Gives us a genuine option on the left if we ever play a standard 4-4-2.