Barnet 0 Wycombe Wanderers 2
The Chairboys returned to winning ways at The Hive this afternoon thanks to a Joe Jacobson penalty and a deflected free-kick from Luke O`Nien.
The win, coupled with a draw for Notts County in an early kick-off, meant Wanderers closed the gap on the top three, missing out on goal difference alone.
Gareth Ainsworth made three changes to the side that conceded a late equaliser against Cambridge at Adams Park last week.
Sido Jombati returned at centre-back, his first appearance since the Christmas period. He replaced the injured Dan Scarr.
Meanwhile Nick Freeman and Craig Mackail-Smith replaced Paris Cowan-Hall and Nathan Tyson.
A surface with a very thin layer of snow made football difficult and Wanderers struggled to adapt to the conditions early on.
Neither side could really command the game, and it was a first half that offered little. Nick Freeman had a half chance from an angle but Craig Ross comfortably palmed it away.
With just after half an hour on the clock the best chance of the opening period fell to the hosts.
Brown flapped at a cross, the ball was cut back and former loanee John Akinde fired it against the crossbar with the goal at his mercy. The ball was eventually scrambled clear, and it was a massive let-off for Wycombe.
Although it was a first half of little action, Barnet were probably the better side, but it remained goalless at the interval.
A much improved Wanderers` side soon stamped their authority after the break. A neat move put Mackail-Smith through and when he was brought down inside the area, the referee pointed to the spot.
Joe Jacobson missed his last penalty, but stepped up again today, and fired it down the middle to beat Ross.
It was a lead Wycombe needed, and a goal that knocked the stuffing out of the struggling Bees who offered very little in response.
The Blues were dominant now with Mackail-Smith almost doubling the lead just before he was replaced by Nathan Tyson.
Tafari Moore then cut in from the right and curled an effort that was comfortable for Ross, as Ainsworth’s men looked to kill the game off.
With twenty minutes remaining, Wycombe won a free-kick on the left-hand side. Refreshingly, O`Nien took it, and his inswinging ball was goal-bound when a Barnet defender glanced it past Ross and the lead was doubled.
An O`Nien snow angel celebrated the goal. There was limited snow, but it was a 2-0 lead.
Scott Kashket then replaced Nick Freeman who limped off having had a good game. The final substitution saw Curtis Thompson replace Matt Bloomfield.
In the last action of note, Akinfenwa rolled his man and forced a good save from Ross, Kashket almost pouncing on the loose ball before the keeper safely gathered.
With Luton, Notts County, Mansfield and Exeter all dropping points, this was a big win for Wycombe who will go third in the table if they avoid defeat at Crawley on Wednesday.
Brown 6 – Untroubled.
Moore 6 – Also little to do.
Jombati 7 – First game in nearly three months. Excellent.
El-Abd 6 – Good game.
Jacobson 7 – One of his performances of the season.
Gape 7 – Class.
O`Nien 7 – What a player we have here.
Bloomfield 6 – Standard Bloomfield shift.
Mackail-Smith 5 – Won the penalty but quiet game.
Akinfenwa 6 – Another typical Bayo performance.
Freeman 6 – Lively. Hopefully the injury isn`t too bad.
Tyson 6 – Unlucky not to start.
Kashket 6 – Looked lively.
Thompson n/a – Came on too late.