Wycombe Wanderers 0 Bury 2
If hopes were high when Tuesday’s victory at Orient propelled the Blues to the heady heights of 7th, reality reared its ugly head this afternoon when a flat performance and disappointing defeat plummeted them back down to 15th in the embryonic League One table.
The first-half was particularly dire. A bright start lulled the home fans into a false sense of security, but it was short-lived and soon replaced by a ten-minute spell of head tennis that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Ryman League.
It was Bury who finally brought the ball back down to earth and began to stroke it around, while Wycombe resorted to by-passing their own central-midfield with a never-ending series of hopeful long-balls for Stuart Beavon to chase.
Marshalled superbly at the back by Efe Sodje, the Shakers were never remotely troubled by this tactic, but Wycombe kept doing it anyway.
Their early spell of dominance had seen Joel Grant fire a fierce shot narrowly wide, while Scott Donnelly also poked one past the post from a great position deep inside the Bury box.
The Shakers’ opening goal was slotted into the corner of the net by Mike Jones after 24 minutes when a simple one-two with Ryan Lowe was enough to totally bamboozle the Blues.
Ben Strevens should have equalised five minutes before the break, but his close-range header from Danny Foster’s cross was directed straight at Bury keeper Cameron Belford.
The Blues improved in the second-half, particularly when John Halls was replaced after 53 minutes having looked at least one division out of his depth with an ineffective and weak performance that made you pine for the missing Stuart Lewis.
With their marginally renewed vigour after the break, had Wycombe snatched an early equaliser you wouldn’t have bet against them going on to win the game, but it just wasn’t their day.
From 25 yards out, a Donnelly free-kick forced Belford to tip the ball over the bar, and from the resulting corner Andy Sandell’s header was cleared off the line.
The Shakers almost made it two when Andy Bishop hit the bar, but then came the key moment when referee Dean Whitestone was the only man in the stadium not to spot a blatant handball inside the Bury box, thus denying the Blues the opportunity to level things from the spot.
As it was, they went 2-0 down after 65 minutes when slack defending allowed the ball to reach Ryan Lowe, and the error was compounded when the Shakers’ sharpshooter was given all the time in the world to poke home his fifth goal of the season.
That was it as a contest. There were further chances at both ends, but Bury successfully ran down the clock to take all three points and remind the Blues that consistency is the key to their hopes of survival.
Wycombe Men of the Match – Joel Grant & Scott Donnelly
Wycombe line-up & ratings
Bull (6), Foster (6), Winfield (6), Tunnicliffe (6), Sandell (6), Ainsworth (6) (Benyon 59 (5)), Halls (3) (Harding 53 (5)), Donnelly (7), Grant (7), Beavon (6) (Rendell 67 (5)), Strevens (6)