Stevenage 0 Wycombe Wanderers 2
The Blues had to work hard to earn their first away win of the season against a combative and organised Boro side who just lacked a little bit of quality in certain key areas.
Whereas Wycombe had the tricky Stuart Beavon up-front and the twin threat of Kevin Betsy and Gareth Ainsworth on the flanks, Boro were fairly predictable in their approach and rarely troubled a Blues’ defence which was superbly marshalled by centre-back Chris Westwood.
Although both goals were scored in the first-half, the game was more entertaining after the break.
For the first 30 minutes the ball spent more time in the air than it did on the deck and there wasn’t really much to choose between the two sides.
Ironically, just as Stevenage began to enjoy a spell of concerted pressure, Wycombe performed a neat smash and grab to leave the home side with a mountain to climb in the second-half.
I can’t recall a single shot on target from Boro during the first-half, and before the Blues opened the scoring after 35 minutes, all they’d managed themselves was a header from Stuart Beavon which flashed past the post and would have been disallowed anyway as he was offside.
It’s goals that count though, and we scored two. The opener was created by Gareth Ainsworth who appears to be rediscovering the excellent form he showed when he first arrived at the club. When his first probing ball into the box came straight back to his feet, Ainsworth shifted towards the left flank and sent over a deep cross which was headed home by Kevin Betsy at the far post.
The same two players were involved in the build-up to the second goal ten minutes later. Betsy’s excellent pass freed Ainsworth down the right, and when his shot hit the post, Beavon was there to pounce on the rebound and send the Blues into the break with a two goal cushion.
Both sides had a lot more attempts on goal in the second-half. Most of Boro’s efforts flew either high or wide but their on-loan striker Chris Holroyd did test keeper Nikki Bull shortly after the restart and Jon Ashton will be kicking himself for missing the target altogether with a free-header. Other than that, they never really looked like scoring despite injecting some pace into their side with the half-time introduction of Yemi Odubade.
Wycombe ballooned a few over the bar themselves, but came close with an Andy Sandell header which keeper Chris Day punched clear at full stretch. Beavon also had a goalbound effort blocked, and Ben Strevens almost ended his drought but wasn’t quite quick enough to prevent Day from smothering his shot.
Beavon was brilliant again today. His running off the ball must be a nightmare for defenders and it was only fitting that he received a standing ovation from the travelling fans when he was eventually replaced by Scott Rendell.
No one had a bad game and it was a thoroughly effective performance and a great result.
Wycombe line-up (4-4-2)
Bull, Foster, Bennett, Westwood, Sandell, Ainsworth (Davies 79), Bloomfield, Montrose, Betsy, Strevens (Winfield 93), Beavon (Rendell 84).
Man of the Match – Stuart Beavon