Wycombe Wanderers 1 Chesterfield 0
A second-half strike from Luke O’Nien was enough to earn Wanderers all three points in a close encounter with the Spireites.
It’s a victory that takes Gareth Ainsworth’s side up to 4th in the table just two points behind Exeter City who occupy the final automatic promotion place.
Jack Lester’s Chesterfield played with the confidence of an in-form side but for all their neat passing and good movement, the Spireites were devoid of a cutting edge in the final third.
Ainsworth made two changes to his starting eleven, with Nathan Tyson and Sam Saunders replacing Nick Freeman and Matt Bloomfield.
The Chesterfield side featured loanee keeper Cameron Dawson who spent a short time at Wycombe at the beginning of last season.
There was a frantic start to the game with a spell of Wanderers’ pressure leading to a shot from Craig Mackail-Smith that Dawson comfortably held.
Less than three minutes were on the clock when Adebayo Akinfenwa was shown a dubious yellow card by referee Nick Kinseley who failed to endear himself to either set of supporters this afternoon.
It soon became apparent that the Spireites were a better side than their early season results would suggest. They were eager to play the ball out from the back and looked comfortable in possession.
But it usually came to nothing. Their only dangerous attack of the half saw Joe Rowley outpace Joe Jacobson to get behind the Wycombe defence only to make a complete mess of his cut-back.
Midway through the first period, Wanderers were denied a penalty when Akinfenwa had his shirt tugged so blatantly that it was impossible to understand how it could be missed by the officials.
But miss it they did, and to add insult to injury the ball dropped to Mackail-Smith whose fierce volley and follow-up were both parried by Dawson.
No justice there, and more trauma was in store after 44 minutes when Wanderers were awarded a free kick just outside the box and Saunders rifled his shot off the crossbar with Dawson beaten.
Was it going to be one of those days?
The Spireites started the second half on the front foot and again got behind the Wycombe defence on the right flank, with Scott Wiseman’s fierce cross/shot being palmed out by Scott Brown and cleared to safety by Sido Jombati.
Jombati had a good game today, he was a threat going forward, always made himself available for a pass and did what was necessary at the back.
After 54 minutes, it was he who swapped passes with O’Nien on the right before the midfielder cut inside and unleashed a rasping left-foot shot that arrowed into the bottom corner of Dawson’s net.
It was a cracking goal worthy of winning any game.
The visitors made every effort to level the score, but an end product just wasn’t there, and they failed to register a single shot on target in the remainder of the game.
For Wycombe there was a curling effort over the bar and a shot past the post from Eberechi Eze, who also made a mazy run to the Spireites’ bye-line only to find no-one in support.
Akinfenwa forced a low save out of Dawson and headed another effort narrowly wide as Wanderers continued to fashion the better chances.
With only minutes remaining, substitute Paris Cowan-Hall appeared to be brought down by Dawson, but just as referee Kinseley began to point to the spot he noticed an offside flag on the far side of the pitch.
The travelling fans had howled with rage about Brown’s timewasting and were rewarded with 6 minutes of stoppage time, but it could have been 60 and they still wouldn’t have scored.
Man of the Match – Sam Saunders
Line-up & ratings
Brown (7), Jombati (7), Stewart (7), El-Abd (7), Jacobson (6), O`Nien (7), Saunders (8), Eze (6), (Bloomfield 85 (n/a)) Mackail-Smith (7) (Southwell 91 (n/a)), Akinfenwa (7), Tyson (6) (Cowan-Hall 73 (n/a))
O’Nien cracker topples the Spireites
Wycombe Wanderers 1 Chesterfield 0