Wycombe Wanderers 4 Leyton Orient 2
The Blues played some lovely stuff to blow the O’s away and earn themselves a fully deserved 4-0 half-time lead.
Even the most hard-bitten Wycombe fans probably thought it was in the bag at that point, but reverting to type after the break, Gary Waddock’s side managed to make life difficult for themselves and were fortunate to concede only two goals in the end.
So, the Jekyll and Hyde pattern continues. Dismal defeats to lowly Yeovil and Walsall are followed by a random 5-0 win over Hartlepool. Next comes a crushing 4-1 defeat at relegation rivals Scunthorpe, and a few days later we’re 4-0 up at half time against Orient. The inconsistency is staggering.
Waddock opted for an interesting 4-3-3 formation with Foster, Winfield, Bloomfield and Beavon returning to the side at the expense of Basey, Laing, Hackett and McNamee.
Having been roundly condemned for not even competing at Glanford Park on Saturday, it was a surprise just how confident Wycombe looked right from the first whistle.
The opening goal came after 7 minutes when Stuart Beavon headed Danny Foster’s cross over the outstretched hands of Orient’s debutant keeper Paul Rachubka.
Rachubka signed for the O’s on-loan from Leeds United earlier today and by half-time he was probably wishing he hadn’t.
The highlight of his half was a save to thwart Beavon after 17 minutes but from then on it was all downhill.
After 21 minutes the injured Matt McClure was replaced by Ben Strevens which seemed a shame at the time as the front three of Beavon, McClure and Hayes was looking lively and promising.
The Blues scored their second goal after 26 minutes when Craig Eastmond made a surging run into the box and unselfishly played in Charlton loanee Paul Hayes who confidently stroked it home.
After 33 minutes it was 3-0 when Matt Bloomfield emulated Eastmond’s run into the Orient penalty area and finished it off in style.
With the fans still pinching themselves in disbelief, the Blues scored a fourth goal after 39 minutes when Bloomfield’s dogged determination saw him win possession near the bye line and cut the ball back for Ben Strevens to turn it home from close range.
Orient offered no attacking threat whatsoever in the first half.
It was to be expected that O’s manager Russell Slade would have strong words for his players at half time and demand an immediate response. What Wycombe didn’t want to do was give them any encouragement by conceding an early goal.
But that’s exactly what happened as Matt Spring became the latest player to beat Nikki Bull from distance when he rifled home a 25 yarder just seconds after the restart.
Ten minutes later Ben Chorley headed a glorious chance over the bar as Orient maintained their new-found dominance.
Dave Winfield and Bull between them managed to deflect a Ben Youssef strike over the bar, but you could sense a second Orient goal was coming.
After 74 minutes it arrived when Bull couldn’t decide whether to come for a cross or hold his ground. In the end he came half way and stopped, and could only watch as the woefully marked Marc Laird gleefully nodded the ball home.
The O’s were beginning to scent a memorable comeback and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Danny Foster was caught on the wrong side of his man and blatantly fouled him inside the box.
Kevin Lisbie also came close but it wasn’t to be and the Blues held on for all three points thanks to their clinical finishing in the first half.
The stand out performers over ninety minutes were Matt Bloomfield and Stuart Beavon. Craig Eastmond was superb in the first half but faded after the break.
The result takes Wycombe back to third bottom of the table ahead of another home game against Colchester United on Saturday.
Line-up & ratings
Bull (5), MCoy (7), Doherty (7), Winfield (6), Foster (6), Bloomfield (8), Lewis (7), Eastmond (7) (Laing 90 (n/a)), McClure (6) (Strevens 21 (6)), Hayes (7) (Ainsworth 79 (5)), Beavon (8)
Jekyll and Hyde pattern continues – Blues beat O’s
Wycombe Wanderers 4 Leyton Orient 2