Wycombe Wanderers 1 Charlton Athletic 2
Two first-half goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips were enough to ensure the Addicks returned to the Valley with all three points.
Stuart Beavon pulled one back for Wycombe to briefly raise the home crowd’s hopes, but in truth, the visitors always looked comfortable winners without even getting out of second gear.
When fallen giants Sheffield United and Preston visited Adams Park last month, the Blues upped their game and the crowd responded by creating an superb atmosphere. Neither the performance nor the atmosphere were anything special tonight.
In a first-half of surprisingly little incident Charlton took their chances clinically, starting with an early goal after only 4 minutes.
With right-back Danny Foster nowhere to be seen, Rhoys Wiggins burst down the left wing and fired a cross into the danger area. The ball was deflected up in the air before Yann Kermorgant’s audacious overhead kick struck the post and Wright-Phillips pounced on the rebound to smartly tuck it home.
All that Wycombe could muster during the opening forty-five minutes were three long range efforts. Strevens and Grant each trundled a powder-puff shot straight at keeper Ben Hamer, but Stuart Lewis came close with a fierce drive just over the crossbar from 20 yards.
When the Addicks were awarded a free kick just outside the box after 28 minutes, Blues keeper Nikki Bull had to be at his best to turn Kermorgant’s curling effort round the post for a corner.
The visitors’ second goal after 41 minutes was simplicity itself. Danny Hollands received the ball in central midfield and immediately looked for Wright Phillips. The striker began his run and peeled away from his marker to create space for an inch-perfect killer-pass which he took in his stride and lashed into the bottom corner of the net.
As the teams came out for the second-half the stadium announcer made a half-hearted plea to the home fans to get behind the team. “There’s still plenty of time to go,” he said, but not many fancied Wycombe’s chances on the evidence of the first half.
Stuart Lewis tried a shot soon after the restart, and moments later Bull made another fine save, this time from Danny Green.
Ten minutes after the break, Beavon went on a mazy run through the middle before unleashing a rasping drive that Hamer did well to tip over the crossbar.
Hamer was back in the thick of things after 64 minutes but this time he couldn’t stop the Blues from pulling a goal back.
At the heart of the action for once, Joel Grant met a cross from Kadeem Harris at the near post and forced a save from Hamer. The keeper also managed to block Matt Bloomfield’s follow-up but could do nothing to prevent Beavon from lashing the ball home at the third time of asking.
Suddenly there was hope and the previously silent Adams Park crowd perked up for a while.
Strevens lashed a shot wide of the post and manager Gary Waddock made a string of substitutions in an attempt to freshen things up, but the flush of excitement soon passed and the game petered out to a comfortable Charlton victory.
Ibe had a shot saved in stoppage time, but a particularly telling moment was when Wycombe were in possession near the half-way line with only seconds remaining and yet only one blue-shirted player was anywhere near the Charlton penalty area.
Tonight’s defeat sees the Blues drop to second-bottom ahead of Sheffield Wednesday’s visit on Saturday.
Man of the match was Stuart Beavon as usual while new signing Nicholas Bignall didn’t see enough of the ball to elicit a comment one way or the other.
Wycombe line-up & ratings
Bull (6), Foster (5), Winfield (7), Johnson (7), Basey (6), Grant (5) (Bignall 65 (5)), Bloomfield (6) (Ibe 87 (n/a)), Lewis (7), Harris (7), Strevens (6) (Ainsworth 83 (n/a)), Beavon (8).