Wycombe Wanderers 4 Burton Albion 1
The Brewers must have wondered what hit them when a wounded Wycombe side put last week’s disappointment behind them with a fabulous first-half performance.
It was 3-0 at the break but could easily have been six as the Blues tore into their hapless opponents, their tenacity and commitment epitomised by midfielder Stuart Lewis who covered every blade of grass and scored two great goals into the bargain.
It was always going to be difficult for Wycombe to maintain their dominance for the whole ninety minutes, but when they gave the visitors a glimmer of hope by conceding from a set-piece shortly after the break, they quickly snuffed it out again when Scott Rendell made it 4-1 with his sixth penalty of the season.
Right from the kick-off it was obvious that the Blues were in a determined mood, but neither side managed a shot on target until Lewis burst through the centre and planted a fine shot past keeper Adam Legzdins after 10 minutes.
Lewis Montrose was back in the side tonight and made the most of his recall with an impressive performance. He also scored the second goal of the game with a 20 yard shot that took a wicked deflection and looped over the head of the Burton keeper with half an hour gone.
The third goal came 5 minutes before half-time and it was the pick of the bunch. Stuart Lewis collected the ball from Ben Strevens 30 yards out on the left and made a beeline for goal before firing-off a low drive which arrowed its way into the corner of the net giving Legzdins absolutely no chance.
Jon-Paul Pittman was unfortunate not be on the scoresheet at half-time. His burst of pace down the left channel was topped-off by a fierce strike which appeared to come back off the near post, and he later cut-in from the right and dispatched a 20 yard shot which Legzdins turned round the post for a corner.
Gareth Ainsworth had also come close with a long range effort which dipped just over the bar, while Scott Rendell forced the keeper into a save after good work from Lewis and Pittman.
The Brewers offered little threat and their best efforts both failed to hit the target. Sam Winnall came close with a dangerous shot that arrowed across the face of the Wycombe goal, but Jacques Maghoma fired his chance harmlessly high and wide.
Burton started the second-half brightly and when Winnall scored from their first corner of the game after 55 minutes, you could see them perk up even more.
It was the umpteenth set-piece goal Wycombe have conceded in the last four games and it’s probably the only thing that will irk manager Gary Waddock about tonight’s performance.
Any fears of an unlikely Burton comeback were put to bed 7 minutes later when Pittman was fouled by Darren Moore and the referee pointed to the spot.
Scott Rendell stepped up and sent the keeper diving to his right before slotting the ball into the opposite side of the net.
Danny Foster should have made it five when he nipped in front of Rendell and headed Ainsworth’s excellent cross straight at the keeper from close range. The left-back then had a shot cleared off the line by Moore as the Blues continued to attack right to the very end.
At the end of a miserable week, this was one of Wycombe’s best performances of the season and it’s taken them back up to second place in League two with less than a third of the season remaining.
Line-up & ratings
Bull (6), McCoy (7), Winfield (5), Bennett (5), Foster (6), Ainsworth (6) (Betsy 68 (5), Montrose (7), Lewis (8) (Donnelly 83 (n/a)), Strevens (6), Rendell (6), Pittman (6) (Beavon 65 (5).
Blues bounce back in style
Wycombe Wanderers 4 Burton Albion 1