Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Cambridge United
Wycombe Wanderers deservedly beat Cambridge United 1-0 at Adams Park this evening but it wasn’t quite enough for a play off position.
A solitary Scott Kashket goal after 65 minutes was the least the Chairboys deserved for an impressive performance that sent the majority of the healthy 6,315 crowd home happy.
The 1,342 Cambridge fans that travelled to Adams Park will presumably be far less happy after an insipid, negative performance from their team.
Gareth Ainsworth made three changes from the side that drew 1-1 at Morecambe with Scott Kashket, Myles Weston and Matt Bloomfield restored to the line up in place of Garry Thompson, Paul Hayes and Luke O’Nien.
Wanderers should have taken the lead after three minutes but Kashket missed a sitter. It was a long ball from Michael Harriman that Kashket darted onto and clipped past the onrushing goalkeeper, but with a defender closing in the striker lost composure and side footed wide of an empty net with the goal at his mercy.
It was a huge let off for Cambridge but they didn’t look up for taking the opportunity, failing to register a single meaningful attempt in the opening period, a cross blocked by Pierre that trickled just wide being the only moment of anxiety for the Wycombe faithful.
With Saunders pulling the strings and Akinfenwa winning his aerial tussles as usual, Wycombe had the bulk of both possession and territory throughout. Kashket curled another effort from distance straight at Luke Norris.
There was a chance for Pierre to open the scoring after 19 minutes when two Cambridge defenders went for the same ball but the defender could only balloon his effort well over the bar from the edge of the box.
That man Kashket had another clear sight of goal after 34 minutes but was denied by Norris in the Cambridge goal again who got down low to his effort. The same player sent yet another effort wide of goal as the first half petered out with the game goalless.
The second half again started with Wycombe on the front foot, as a deflected Kashket shot looped over, and Jombati couldn’t quite direct his header on target from a dangerous Saunders corner.
Saunders was dictating the play and could count himself unfortunate not to open the scoring after 53 minutes as his curling effort from distance looked in all the way but Norris reacted just in time to tip it to safety.
Cambridge`s first shot on target finally arrived after 57 minutes when McDonagh sent an effort straight at Jamal Blackman but it wasn’t long before Wycombe were back on the attack.
Weston had looked tricky on the occasions he had got on the ball, and another jinking run down the left created another chance, this time for Akinfenwa, but again the header was off target.
O’Nien replaced the tireless Bloomfield immediately after, and immediately won the corner that would end up breaking the deadlock.
It was Akinfenwa peeling off at the far post and heading back across goal to an unmarked Kashket who sent a simple header into the net for 1-0.
From then on it was about holding onto the lead and hoping for favours elsewhere. Cowan-Hall was given a 15 minute run out in place of Weston and Thompson was a late replacement for goalscorer Kashket, who should have had a penalty moments before leaving the field but referee Mark Heywood somehow chose to penalise the striker after goalkeeper Norris had flattened him.
Some belated pressure from Cambridge saw Blackman parry a stinging volley and Harriman impressively clear on his own goal line, but Wycombe bagged the three points they deserved.
With results elsewhere not favourable enough for an unlikely play-off position, it means another season in League Two for Wycombe, but on this performance there is cause for optimism next year.
Ratings: Blackman (7), Harriman (8), Pierre (7), Jombati (8), Jacobson (7), Bean (7), Bloomfield (7) (O’Nien 62′ 7), Saunders (8*), Kashket (7) (Thompson 89′ N/A), Akinfenwa (7), Weston (7) (Cowan-Hall 76` N/A)
Blues beat Cambridge but it’s not enough for play-offs
Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Cambridge United