Wycombe Wanderers snatched a dramatic last-gasp winner to win the battle of the bottom two with a 3-2 victory over Chesterfield at Adams Park.
A close-range header from striker Stuart Beavon in the fourth minute of time added-on gave the Blues their first victory since mid-October when Hartlepool United were beaten at Victoria Park and just a second home win of the entire campaign.
It all looked to be going wrong as the hosts’ defence was torn asunder inside the opening three minutes. Midfielder Alex Mendy spread the ball out to winger Craig Westcarr and he was given far too much time and space to cross low from the right side of the penalty area and a completely unmarked Dean Morgan made no mistake with the simplest of tap-ins at the far post.
As has often been the case this season, the concession of an early goal simply added to the pressure the Wanderers players have felt playing at Adams Park and the visitors enjoyed a comfortable first twenty minutes. It didn’t help losing midfielder Scott Donnelly with what appeared to be a twisted knee after just ten minutes. He was replaced by Matt Bloomfield.
The pattern of the game did slowly change however with the hosts enjoying the greater possession and soon applying some pressure. Winger Joel Grant shot wide before the equaliser arrived on the half-hour. There was an almighty goalmouth scramble following Bloomfield’s left-wing corner. Striker Marcello Trotta saw his header blocked by Whittaker on the goal-line before Dave Winfield’s shot bounced off the angle of post and crossbar. Trotta’s shot was then blocked by defender Simon Ford.
Just as it looked like the visitors had gotten away with it, the ball fell to debutant Anthony McNamee on the edge of the box and he showed fabulous skill to control the ball with his left foot and then hit a sweet volley over goalkeeper Tommy Lee and into the net to make it all-square. The Blues shaded the rest of the first half but the sides went in level at the break.
Less than ten minutes into the second half some desperate defending from Winfield gave the Spireites the chance to restore their lead. He inexplicably allowed Lee’s goal-kick to bounce in front of him and over his head to fall into the path of an unmarked Morgan and he crashed a half-volley past the helpless Nikki Bull and into the left-hand corner of the net.
It was all the more disappointing as the home side had started the second period in promising fashion with Bloomfield playing a pivotal role in the middle of the park. Lee made a routine save from Beavon on the hour mark and Grant Basey headed over the bar from a McNamee corner.
Chesterfield enjoyed more possession than they did in the first period but all they could muster were two long-range efforts which flew well off-target. With neither defence looking particularly sturdy it was the Blues who levelled for a second time with eleven minutes remaining. Bloomfield’s run towards the edge of the box was halted but the ball fell to Trotta and he side-stepped Whittaker before hitting a low daisy-cutter from 25 yards which went through the legs of Mark Allott to beat Lee and find the bottom corner.
It was up for grabs now and Trotta should have notched his second of the afternoon only to miss an absolute sitter. Beavon again created the chance when he played the ball across the six yard box but the young Italian leant back and fired his effort high into an aghast Valley End. On the stroke of full-time Grant missed another gilt-edged chance when he side-footed McNamee’s left-wing cross the wrong side of the far post.
The visitors could have nicked it themselves as the game went into injury-time. Basey was relieved when he turned Danny Whittaker’s free-kick into the arms of Bull before Johnson conceded a daft foul on substitute Jack Lester just outside the box and Whittaker curled his effort inches wide of Bull’s left-hand upright.
In the fourth and final minute of time added-on Bull played a free-kick deep into the visitors penalty area and defender Aaron Downes could only flick the ball on for Beavon to nip in-between Allott and Lee and head the ball into the net. It sparked wild celebrations from the bench, the players and the supporters. Some of it was borne out of relief as much as anything else.
The final whistle was celebrated in similar style and it not only gives the Chairboys three much-needed points but also a boost in confidence. The performance may have raised as many questions as it did provide answers and some might argue that all the result does is paper over the crack. It does however give some impetus to take into next weekend’s long trip to Carlisle.
Bull 6, McCoy 5, Basey 6, Winfield 4, Johnson 6, Donnelly n/a (Bloomfield 7), Lewis 4, Grant 6, McNamee 6, Trotta 6, Beavon 8*