Burton Albion 2 Wycombe Wanderers 0
Vital would like to thank guest writer Dale Jenkins for the following report.
A second half brace from Jacques Maghoma gave Burton Albion a crucial three points in their automatic promotion bid against a lacklustre Wanderers on Tuesday evening.
There was little to choose between the two sides in an even first half where both defences looked solid and the few openings that were created were wasted at both ends. After the interval it was a different story though as the Brewers took charge, running out fairly comfortable winners whilst Wycombe failed to get going at all.
After a low key opening, Maghoma fired an early warning by blasting a ball across the face of goal which missed everyone and went out for a goal kick. Winfield then made a crucial block to deny the wide man before Michael Symes looped an effort over the bar.
Maghoma looked the best player on the pitch. His next effort was a free kick hit straight into the wall, the rebound falling kindly for the tricky wide man who hammered it back with interest, Ingram doing well to hold the powerful strike. Symes should have headed the hosts into the lead but somehow knocked O`Connor`s cross across goal when it looked easier to score.
Gareth Ainsworth was having a quiet game as Wycombe struggled to keep possession, but he did fire a volley straight at Lyness in what was to be Wycombe`s only shot on target tonight. A few corners then put some more pressure on the Burton goal but the passage ended with Winfield hooking the ball harmlessly high and wide. Grant also produced a rare moment of promise but his dangerous cross was too far away from Kuffour.
If the hosts had narrowly shaded the first half, the second period was a different story. Just four minutes after the interval, Harriman sliced a clearance backwards straight into the path of Maghoma, who slotted across Ingram into the corner to break the deadlock.
The goal failed to bring a response from the Chairboys, who were instead indebted to Ingram for a fine fingertip save from Billy Kee. All the action was taking place around the visitors` box now, and the Brewers made the game safe when Harriman again mishit and it proved costly as that man Maghoma repeated the trick, slotting into the same corner.
Only Ingram and some poor finishing from Symes prevented a more comfortable looking scoreline for Burton, while the only efforts Wycombe managed were a looping header from Dunne and a Sharps clearance hammering into a teammate and deflecting back over the bar.
The Blues certainly missed Stuart Lewis as well as the front pairing of Morgan and McClure. The replacement attacking line looked woefully short of quality, with Morias, Ainsworth and Kuffour falling way short of the required standard on the night. When your wingers have an off-day as happened with Grant and Wood, the prospects aren`t good.
The truth is that Wycombe have little to play for in the remaining four fixtures, but individuals are playing for their futures yet it looked like some had their eyes on the summer beach last night. Let`s hope that the imminent return of further attacking options in Morgan and McClure can add some much needed firepower on Saturday.
Ratings: Ingram 7, Harriman 5, Doherty 6, Winfield 6, Dunne 6, Grant 4, Ainsworth 4 (Morias 55` 4), Scowen 7*, Spring 6, Wood 4 (Kewley-Graham 70` 4), Kuffour 4 (Taylor 80` n/a)