Wycombe Wanderers lost their second ‘must-win relegation six-pointer’ in four days when they were beaten 2-0 by Walsall.
In a scrappy encounter at the Bescot Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the hosts dominated the second 45 minutes to claim a deserved three points courtesy of goals from midfielder Kevan Hurst and substitute George Bowerman.
They could even afford to miss a penalty when Alex Nicholls’ spot-kick was saved by goalkeeper Nikki Bull. The defeat, combined with results elsewhere, sends the Wanderers to the bottom of the League One table.
Under-fire boss Gary Waddock was dealt a blow whilst the team were travelling up the M40 when midfielder Matt Bloomfield had to disembark the team coach due to illness, leaving him able to name just four substitutes.
He made three changes to the side which capitulated at home to Yeovil Town in midweek. Danny Foster replaced Leon Johnson with Louis Laing reverting to the centre of defence. Lewis came in for Bloomfield whilst Ben Stevens was preferred to Anthony McNamee on the left of midfield.
The first 45 minutes were a turgid affair with both sides showing exactly why they are fighting it out at the bottom of the table. The game was utterly devoid of quality with both chances and entertainment at a premium.
Stuart Beavon fired a shot just wide and Gareth Ainsworth attempted his usual spectacular volley with the usual success. At the other end Bull had to make a good save to push away winger Jamie Paterson’s cross-shot.
Half-time arrived with the game goal-less and all still to play for but the visitors came out after the break to put in a desperate display which deserved exactly what they got – nothing.
Less than three minutes after the re-start defender Dave Winfield clumsily brought down Florent Cuvelier inside the box to concede a penalty and was booked for his troubles.
Nicholls had missed a penalty deep into injury-time at Oldham in midweek and he did so again when his woeful effort was comfortably saved by Bull. It should have instilled some belief in the visitors but it had the opposite effect.
Walsall slowly turned the screw and just past the hour the bandaged Hurst received possession in the Wanderers half and was given all the time and space to run forward and hit a shot that swerved all over the place to beat a stranded Bull and fly into the net.
By that stage Matt McClure had already been thrown on in place of the largely disinterested Matty Whichelow. McNamee and Grant also joined the fray but made little impact as the hosts looked comfortable.
McClure did shoot just wide of a post but Saddlers’ goalkeeper David Grof watched it go by as he enjoyed one of his quietest games of the season.
The hosts wrapped up all three points with five minutes remaining when substitutes Jon Macken and Bowerman combined with the former conjuring up a sublime reverse pass which the latter fired low past Bull.
Many of the 300 Chairboys who made the trip took their cue to leave, whilst others again unfurled a ‘Waddock Out’ banner which had also greeted the players during their pre-match warm-up.
Wycombe have now lost their last three league games in succession and are five points from safety having played as many as three games more than some of their relegation rivals.
The defeat marks yet another low in a season that will be remembered in years to come as one of the most depressing of recent times. The club now finds itself in complete and utter turmoil with relegation almost a certainty.
Man of the Match – Jamie Paterson – Walsall