Wycombe Wanderers 3 Barnet 1
The Chairboys made it three wins in a row with goals from Adebayo Akinfenwa, Josh Umerah and Nick Freeman.
The three points take Gareth Ainsworth’s side into the play-off places and the three goals make them top scorers in League Two and joint-top scorers in the entire Football League.
The Blues’ boss made just one change to his starting line up, with Anthony Stewart recalled to the side in place of Dan Scarr who dropped to the bench.
After the thrilling climax to Tuesday’s victory over Crewe, there was a subdued start to today’s game with just one attempt on goal in the first 20 minutes, a daisy-cutter from Barnet’s Mauro Vilhete that Scott Brown comfortably saved.
The Bees are a decent footballing side, and it was they who turned up the heat with a good spell that had the Chairboys briefly floundering on the ropes.
Excellent work from the dangerous Shaquile Coulthirst was first thwarted by Joe Jacobson, before the same player had a fierce near-post drive tipped round the post by Brown.
Moments later, a stray back-pass from Marcus Bean forced Brown to charge out of his box and clear the danger in the nick of time.
Scenting blood, the Bees attacked again, and this time Brown used his legs to save a goalbound effort from Andre Blackman.
Wanderers looked sluggish and the Bees were on top, but the game changed in an instant when Eberechi Eze found Nathan Tyson who crossed to the back post for Akinfenwa to head home the opening goal after 23 minutes.
The Bees were stung, and the goal breathed new life into Wanderers.
Five minutes later an Eze pass split the visitors’ defence and freed Craig Mackail-Smith on the left, but the Wanderers’ forward elected not to shoot, dithered over a pass, and the chance was gone.
Barnet should have equalised when Michael Harriman backed off Blackman allowing him to send a pin-point cross to Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro who headed wide when it looked easier to score.
But it was Wycombe who finished the half on top, with four decent efforts on goal.
Jacobson and Akinfenwa combined for two of them, the big man getting on the end of a free-kick and then a corner with both of his headers flying narrowly wide.
Sam Saunders came close to doubling Wanderers’ lead when his low effort was deflected inches past the post, and on the stroke of half time a Jacobson free-kick came tantalisingly close to the top corner.
When the half-time whistle sounded, Wycombe had a lead they probably didn’t deserve, but the second-half was a different matter as the Chairboys moved up a gear.
First to try his luck after the break was Anthony Stewart who shimmied past an opponent before stinging Craig Ross’s hands with a 30 yard belter.
A few moments later there was an appeal for a penalty and an almighty scramble in the box as Wycombe kept up the pressure.
Barnet were under the cosh and the second goal arrived after 65 minutes when a long kick from Brown was brilliantly nodded on by Akinfenwa in the midst of a crowd of defenders, and there was substitute Josh Umerah to hook home his first league goal.
Moments later, a neat one-two between Akinfenwa and Eze gave the big man space for a shot which he rifled just past the foot of the post.
Barnet enjoyed a brief purple patch midway through the half, with three efforts on goal, two low shots past the post, and a header wide when another cross arrived too easily from the Bees’ left flank.
Umerah scored his goal just 6 minutes after replacing Mackail-Smith, but fellow sub Nick Freeman went one better when he scored Wanderers’ third just 2 minutes after taking the field for Nathan Tyson.
There were 76 minutes on the clock when Bees’ defender Ricardo Santos attempted to shield the ball from Freeman and usher it out for a goal kick.
But Freeman wasn’t giving it up, rounding his opponent, keeping it in play, creating an angle, and finally lashing the ball past Ross via the underside of the crossbar. It was a cracker.
3-0 up, with a third consecutive victory in the bag, the icing on the cake would have been a rare clean sheet for Wanderers, but it wasn’t to be.
Simeon Akinola’s shot was deflected to Vilhete who scored for the Bees after 78 minutes. It involved some less than impressive defending from Jacobson and El-Abd who appeared to blame each other.
The goal gave Barnet hope, but the only other effort of note came when Ross was tested by Eze shortly before the QPR youngster was replaced after 86 minutes by Dominic Gape.
In the end this was a fully deserved victory for Wanderers who turned on the style after the break.
It’s been a while since a Wycombe side looked so potent in attack, and boasted so much strength in depth.
Their Achilles heel is defending, but at the moment, Wanderers are simply outscoring their opponents and if that continues or they tighten up at the back, this could be a season to remember.
Line-up & ratings
Brown (8), Harriman (7), Stewart (8), El-Abd (7), Jacobson (7), Bean (8), Saunders (8), Eze (7) (Gape 86 (n/a)), Mackail-Smith (7) (Umerah 59 (7)), Akinfenwa (8), Tyson (7) (Freeman 74 (n/a))
It’s three wins in a row for Wycombe
Wycombe Wanderers 3 Barnet 1