In front of a bumper holiday crowd, Wycombe Wanderers were undone by an impressive performance by Oxford United. Gareth Ainsworth kept the same formation that he had effectively employed in the last five games, with only one personnel change in that run (McClure for Onyedinma vs Dagenham & Redbridge) it certainly is a settled side.
Credit must be extended to Michael Appleton for the manner in which Oxford attacked Wycombe in the first half as it was a game plan that was clearly designed to exploit the offensive set up of the home side. With the effectively rotund Patrick Hoban dropping deep to create the extra man in midfield, possession was soon switched to the flanks where Kemar Roofe and Danny Rose were able to get at the Wycombe full backs. It was the wide pair that did the damage in the first half, both setting up and scoring a goal each whilst the Chairboys struggled to find a footing in the game.
Wycombe looked a much better side after the break and they pulled a goal back on forty-eight minutes with Paul Hayes forcing the ball over the line after an impressive knock down from Alfie Mawson. A concerted period of possession followed for the home side but they did not really trouble Ryan Clarke in the visitors goal and it was Oxford who scored the next goal. Rose was the architect again, assisted by a back from the dead Hylton, and Roofe was left with a simple chance which he calmly slotted past Matt Ingram on the hour mark.
Gareth Ainsworth responded by making a double substitution with Aaron Holloway and Peter Murphy coming on in place of Matt Bloomfield and Sam Wood. Hogan Ephraim followed shortly afterwards in place of Sam Saunders and to the Wanderers credit, they ran themselves into the ground in their pursuit for a way back into the game. A glimmer of hope arrived on eighty-nine minutes when Holloway slid home Onyedinma’s cross but even though six minutes was allotted for injury time the equalizer never materialised.
For the post match thoughts of Gareth Ainsworth click here
So the eight game unbeaten run has come to an end. On the whole it has been a wonderfully entertaining period of the season with thirty-two goals (eighteen for and fourteen against) coming since the last defeat against Newport County. With the promotion target set and the fear of relegation banished, Gareth has set up the team to attack which is why the defence is more porous. The team deserve great credit for where they find themselves at this stage of the season. The only cloud in the sky currently is that Wycombe have only won once at home in seven attempts. Much has been made of the concrete state of the pitch and how it contributes to poor performances at Adams Park. The stats and away performances back this up and hopefully enough money is generated through the share scheme to invest in the pitch. Invest is the key word because if Wycombe can bring their away form to Adams Park on a regular basis then a significant rise in attendances will surely follow.
I will no doubt see some of you at Burton on Monday, have a safe journey up. If you are not making the trip then the game will be live on BBC Three Counties 98FM, 104.5FM and on Chairboys Player.
My occasional partner in crime on the commentaries, Keith Scott, is cycling from London to Amsterdam to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. It’s a great cause and one close to Scotty’s heart so if you can, please sponsor him here