Wycombe Wanderers 4 Barnet 2
The Blues jump from 16th to 9th in the table thanks to their first victory since the opening day of the season.
Manager Gary Waddock made two changes to the side that snatched a draw in the dying seconds of Saturday’s game against Shrewsbury Town. Chris Westwood and Stuart Beavon replaced Dave Winfield and Scott Davies and the Chairboys lined-up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows:
Foster – Bennett – Westwood – Sandell
Ainsworth (Rendell 75) – Montrose – Bloomfield – Betsy
Beavon (McClure 87) – Strevens (Federico 94)
It was end-to-end stuff for the first fifteen minutes before Wycombe gradually took control of the game and were ultimately good value for their 3-0 half-time lead.
Their performance dropped a little after the break but they still looked the better side and although Barnet twice reduced the deficit, the final result was never really in doubt.
As early as the third minute, the impressive Stuart Beavon rattled the Barnet post with a rasping shot from a tight angle after being cleverly played-in by Gareth Ainsworth.
It was the first of many good things that Beavon did in another excellent all-round performance which fully justified his selection ahead of Scott Davies. A clever player, Beavon’s first-touch was a joy to behold and his excellent movement and tireless effort made him a thorn in the visitors’ side all game.
The only thing missing from his performance was a goal, but that’s unlikely to count against him – after all, the only Wycombe striker to score a league goal from open-play this season is Jon-Paul Pittman and that was during the curtain raiser against Morecambe on August 7th.
As the strikers look on enviously, the man of the moment is full-back Andy Sandell who bagged a brace of goals tonight to take his total for the season to four – and he very nearly scored another couple as well.
Having earlier stung keeper Jake Cole’s hands with a fine shot from a well-worked corner, Sandell opened the scoring by heading home another Bloomfield corner with nineteen minutes gone.
Five minutes later, Lewis Montrose made it two with a screamer from 25 yards and four minutes before half-time it was groundhog day for Sandell when he scored again with another header from another Bloomfield corner.
The Wycombe left-back then came within a whisker of scoring a hat-trick when his free-kick from the corner of the Bees’ penalty area curled just the wrong side of the post.
There wasn’t the same urgency about Wycombe’s second-half performance and Barnet gave themselves a glimmer of hope when substitute Phil Walsh lashed the ball home from outside the box after 74 minutes.
Mark Marshall then blasted one over the Wycombe crossbar as things got a bit twitchy, but Matt Bloomfield restored the three goal margin with a fine 20 yard shot which went in-off the post after 85 minutes.
It wasn’t all over yet though. A minute later Steve Kabba scored a scrappy goal from close range and if Walsh hadn’t put a free-header over the bar shortly afterwards it could have been a nerve-wracking end to the game for Wycombe.
Under considerable pressure tonight, this was a game the Chairboys desperately needed to win, and they succeeded, scoring four goals into the bargain. Now they need to make it a regular occurrence and show the consistency necessary to mount a promotion challenge.
Lewis Montrose & Matt Bloomfield
Two battling performances and a goal apiece
Men of the Match
Stuart Beavon & Andy Sandell