Wycombe Wanderers 0 Coventry City 1
Vital would like to thank Adam Clift for the following report.
Wycombe Wanderers crashed out of this year’s Johnstone Paint Trophy at the first hurdle, despite an incredibly impressive display against League One side Coventry City.
Admittedly, the visitors probably had the two clearest chances of the night, but they were put under severe pressure for large periods of the game.
Gareth Ainsworth decided to rest some of his best performers from the opening month of the season as Paris Cowan-Hall, Sam Wood, Peter Murphy, Paul Hayes and Steven Craig all gave up their starting position from Saturday’s trip to York. Matt Bloomfield, Max Kretzschmar, Stuart Lewis, Aaron Holloway and Matt McClure taking their places.
Hayes and Murphy were left out the squad completely, while Danny Rowe was the only member of the front six to keep his place in the starting XI. City also made a handful of changes from their match at the weekend.
The hosts started brightly and it was only the second minute when Kretzschmar poked an effort at Coventry keeper Lee Burge.
Wanderers were looking impressive though, with their opponents struggling to get out their own half. Aaron Holloway was giving a very effective performance and it was his neat hold up play and pass to McClure that led to probably Wycombe’s clearest chance of the evening, but the striker could only bend his shot wide of the post.
The clearest opportunity of the half did fall to Coventry though. A counter-attack led to Danny Swanson being through on goal, but Ingram did brilliantly to hold the ball up and Pierre was able to get back and make a clearance as the ball crawled towards the goal line.
The chances kept coming and going for the Blues, as Bloomfield drilled at the keeper and McClure blasted wide to prove he does actually miss twice.
Aaron Holloway brought down a long ball and held two men off before running past and beating two more to top off what had been a superb first half performance from the Welshman, he’s definitely given Ainsworth something to think about when picking his team for Bury this weekend.
Stuart Lewis was the next to try his luck but fired over the bar after Holloway’s chest down, before McClure headed wide.
The terrace did eventually see some more action up their end when Josh McQuoid curled onto the crossbar in the final minute of the half.
The chances weren’t quite as frequent in the second half but a historic moment did happen just before the hour. A foul out on Wanderers right led to referee Mick Russell pulling out his vanishing spray for its only appearance of the evening, and it’s last appearance at Adams Park all season, to a huge cheer from all 1,685 fans present.
The attack resulting from the free-kick led to Matt Bloomfield requiring stitches, and it was while Wycombe were down to ten men, and Ainsworth dallied in making a substitution the sucker punch came.
Coventry broke with pace and the ball found its way to Danny Pugh on the left and his cross was perfect for McQuoid to hammer home.
In fact, in the time between Bloomfield leaving the field and the only goal of the game, Ainsworth did actually replace Holloway and McClure with Cowan-Hall and Craig, but his indecision on how long to give Bloomfield may have proved costly as he didn’t rejoin the pitch until the 70th minute, ten whole minutes after leaving it.
After the goal though it was all one way traffic. A clever throw-in routine led to an acrobatic Stuart Lewis volley narrowly bouncing wide, and this was the beginning of a spell of sustained pressure that I certainly haven’t seen a Wycombe side match in the past.
Wanderers forced five corners in quick succession, all delivered perfectly by either Kretzschmar or Jacobson. This was such a pleasant change to the usual fare of hitting the first man or clearing everybody.
And it was from one of these corners that an Aaron Pierre header smashed the crossbar and left it probably still shaking now.
The pressure continued into five minutes of stoppage time, and when Sido Jombati didn’t make sufficient contact with a header it was blocked and Coventry held out to progress to Round 2.
It was a bitterly disappointing result after a very valiant and impressive display which denies Wycombe a Wembley visit for another year. However, it does allow Ainsworth and his side to focus on continuing their superb start to the league campaign, beginning with the visit of fellow high flyers Bury this coming weekend.
Ingram 6, Jombati 6, Mawson 6, Pierre 7, Jacobson 6, Bloomfield 7, Lewis 8, Rowe 7, Kretzschmar 7, Holloway 8* (Cowan-Hall 7), McClure 5 (Craig 6)
Blues don’t convert chances and exit JPT
Wycombe Wanderers 0 Coventry City 1