Wycombe Wanderers 1 Fleetwood Town 0
Vital would like to thank guest writer Dale Jenkins for the following report.
Wycombe Wanderers secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Fleetwood Town this afternoon courtesy of Anthony Stewart`s late header in a scrappy game at Adams Park.
Gareth Ainsworth promoted himself to the starting XI and also brought Stewart back at centre-half as Joel Grant missed out through injury and Bruno Andrade dropped to the bench.
The start of the game was particularly turgid and head-tennis was the order of the day, with Sam Wood scuffing the first chance of the game wide from a corner. On 12 minutes there was a lengthy delay after Josh Scowen blasted the ball into referee Roger East`s face. The official recovered after four minutes of treatment, going on to make a fussy, whistle-happy display.
Ainsworth was giving his usual lung-busting performance on the wing and forced Fleetwood keeper Davies into a decent save from range after Anthony Barry inexplicably passed the ball to him from a quickly taken free kick. The player-manager then picked up a couple of knocks in the remainder of the opening period, with the second eventually ending his action on the field as he was replaced by Andrade.
Fleetwood did not look particularly threatening in attack but had three real openings in the first 45 minutes. First, Gareth Evans` header was straight at Jordan Archer, Junior Brown`s header was then well saved by a flying Archer, before substitute David Ball volleyed over the bar when well placed.
As the second half got under way, injuries and knocks were continuing to disrupt the play and the game became incredibly scrappy. Brown fired yards wide on 57 and that was all until the final twenty minutes when the Blues began to turn the screw.
Firstly, Scowen and McClure got in each other`s way from a superb Morgan cross, then Wood showed some clever skill on the left following a lovely long range pass from Charles Dunne only for his teasing cross to evade everyone. It was another enigmatic performance from Morgan today, who worked hard and held the ball up well, but he did not seem to be on the same wavelength as his strike partner McClure, who had a quiet day at the office.
The hosts then began to assault the visitors` goal with a series of corners, one of which saw referee East wave play on despite Dave Winfield being blatantly wrenched to the ground. As stoppage time loomed, another corner saw Stewart`s acrobatic overhead kick set to find the net before a backpeddling Jon Parkin intervened and headed it off the line and over the bar.
Stewart was not to be denied however, as he headed the next Scowen delivery into the corner of the net with sub Junior Morias providing a crucial distraction to a great roar from the home support.
Substitute Morias, recently recalled from his loan spell at Hendon, is certainly a bubbly character that the supporters seem to love. He gave a great cameo, and poked a shot inches wide after powering past a Fleetwood defender on the break. As Parkin`s last gasp header fell safely into the arms of Archer, the game was up and it was back to back victories for the Chairboys.
Although declining attendances are a cause for concern, watching this team is becoming increasingly endearing for the 3,000 regulars, especially with so many of the current standout members of the side having graduated directly from the youth academy. With volunteers shifting programmes and the Official Supporters club donating another £3,000 to the club today, the togetherness really is shining through and it is a shame more people aren`t here to see it.
Hopefully the Trust addressing the ticket price structure can buck this year`s attendance trends for next season. The team Gareth Ainsworth is putting out has a healthy mix of enthusiasm and skill, and the progress and improvement of so many players is evident as the Blues banked their fourth clean sheet in eight matches.
Ratings: Archer 7, Harriman 6, Winfield 7, Stewart 7, Dunne 7, Ainsworth 6 (Andrade 44` 5), Lewis 6, Scowen 7, Wood 7*, Morgan 6 (Hause 90`), McClure 5 (Morias 83`)
Attendance: 3,162 (74 Fleetwood supporters)
Late drama as Stewart banks Blues the points
Wycombe Wanderers 1 Fleetwood Town 0