Yeovil Town 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1
The Chairboys edged closer to League One as Randell Williams scored his first Wycombe goal to clinch a smash and grab win at Yeovil Town.
This, partnered with an Exeter City draw at Accrington Stanley meant the gap to the play-offs was increased to four points, with just four games remaining.
Before the kick-off today, Wanderers were boosted with the news that Adebayo Akinfenwa had a signed a new one year contract to remain at the club for the 2018/19 season. With 36 goals in his two seasons so far, keeping the Beast for another is clearly excellent news.
Gareth Ainsworth was forced into a defensive change from the team that beat Grimsby on Easter Monday, with Nathan McGinley replacing the injured Sido Jombati. There were still no returns from injury for Tafari Moore, Dan Scarr or Anthony Stewart.
Marcus Bean, Dom Gape and Luke O`Nien were the midfield three. Nick Freeman replaced Williams despite his impressive debut 12 days ago.
The game began on a lovely summer`s day, with Yeovil immediately stamping their authority on proceedings.
One of the Glovers` centre-halves was Omar Sowunmi who was an absolute giant of a man, making even Akinfenwa look the small. The physical presence of Bayo was still causing issues however, Sowunmi heading one behind for a Wycombe corner, that came to nothing.
Yeovil were looking the better of the two sides, playing some nice football along the floor. Wanderers seemed adamant on playing it long to Akinfenwa despite his difficult opponent.
Luke O`Nien went down after a hefty challenge with referee Gavin Ward playing advantage. It was another Wycombe move that came to nothing, and despite O`Nien being able to continue for a while, he was replaced on the half hour by Williams.
This led to a change in formation, with Kashket joining Akinfenwa up top with Freeman and Williams on the wings.
The hosts were beginning to dominate. A low cross went across goal untouched and El-Abd blocked superbly to deny Otis Khan.
It was the final five minutes of the first period where Yeovil created their best chances. First a deep cross found Sowunmi at the back post and his header back across goal went agonisingly wide.
Then as four minutes of stoppage time began a deep Khan free-kick hit the post, I think via the fingertips of Scott Brown.
Wycombe really hadn`t got going, it had been an awful performance in truth, and there were certainly signs of their 12 day break.
You`d have thought the second half could only get better, but within two minutes Yeovil had the ball in the back of the net. Jordan Green found space and drilled at goal, it was turned in by a team-mate but Wycombe were saved by an offside flag.
Nathan McGinley was then called into action twice in quick succession, blocking well from Rhys Browne on two separate occasions. Despite this Nathan had a shaky afternoon at times, and it`s to be hoped that either Jombati, Scarr or Stewart are back for the final four games.
Freeman and Williams linked well just before the hour, with the Watford loanee`s shot deflecting wide for a corner. Wycombe had their fair share of possession this afternoon, but with the height of the Yeovil side it never really looked like coming to anything.
Ainsworth then introduced Craig Mackail-Smith. He was a straight swap for the quiet Kashket.
Nick Freeman drilled narrowly wide from 25 yards after Dom Gape had done well to win the ball back in the middle of the park.
Wycombe were beginning to look slightly stretched as they pushed for a winner, and El-Abd had to make a foul to halt Town. He picked up a booking, before Tom James hit a superb free-kick which thankfully hit the outside of the post.
Nathan Tyson was brought on in place of Freeman, and his impact was almost instant.
He raced past the Yeovil right-back and was fouled. Jacobson`s delivery was poor but it was only put out for a corner. This delivery was better but Yeovil dealt with it. Tyson then did brilliantly picking up the loose ball before playing it back to Jacobson.
This time his cross was only headed clear to Bean who neatly found Williams on the edge of the area, the youngster taking aim with his left foot, and guiding his shot past Jonny Maddison and into the back of the net off the inside of the post to send the travelling faithful into raptures.
It was a lead that wasn`t deserved, but with the knowledge of the scores being level up in Accrington, it was a lead that was oh so crucial.
Wycombe then saw the game out well and professionally. The giant Sowunmi was moved up front, and a soft header from him was gratefully pounced upon by Brown.
Five minutes of stoppage time came and went. It really was a smash and grab, but it was a massive three points.
Next up for Wycombe is a tricky trip to Lincoln on Tuesday. And with Exeter hosting Chesterfield, it emphasises how big today`s win really is.
Brown 6 – Untroubled for much of the afternoon.
Harriman 6 – Solid enough.
El-Abd 8 – Really is a class act.
McGinley 6 – Shaky game but some crucial blocks in the second half.
Jacobson 6 – Returning to his best at the right time of the season.
Bean 5 – Not a brilliant afternoon.
Gape 6 – Quieter than recent games but put in a shift.
O`Nien 6 – Went off too early to have any impact on the game.
Kashket 5 – Couldn`t get into the game at all.
Akinfenwa 8 – Fantastic considering he was up against Sowunmi.
Freeman 6 – Pretty ineffective today.
Williams 7 – Winning goal makes for a good afternoon.
Mackail-Smith 6 – Struggled to get into the game.
Tyson 8 – Ultimately his introduction changed the game and got Wycombe on top for the first time all afternoon.