Date: 7th May 2016 at 10:15pm
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Wycombe’s season petered out with a miserable 3-0 defeat to local rivals Oxford United this afternoon.

The result meant automatic promotion for Michael Appleton`s side, while Gareth Ainsworth’s Wanderers ended in 13th place, a disappointing return.

After 38 points from the first half of the season, the Chairboys have amassed just 26 points from the second half of the campaign as their season has dwindled out into mid-table mediocrity.

The sense of underachievement is heightened by the way Wycombe looked good for at least a tight play-off challenge as they entered 2016, and also the style of play that has returned a meagre 14 goals in 25 matches.

Gareth Ainsworth restored Ryan Allsop in goal and Stephen McGinn in midfield with Benjamin Siegrist and Jerell Sellars dropping to the substitute’s bench.

The 4-2-3-1 formation allowed Wanderers to stifle Oxford for much of the first half, but any creativity or sign of attacking football was familiarly absent.

The U’s had a number of near misses in the opening half, the first after just a couple of minutes as Danny Hylton flicked a Chris Maguire corner narrowly wide of the post.

Danny Rowe sent a couple of efforts off target before Maguire nearly scored a stunning opener but his dipping effort from distance was just over the bar.

As the previously sun-drenched Kassam Stadium suddenly turned into a rain forest, Oxford continued to probe but Hylton and Maguire sent further efforts off target. Maguire sent a free kick curling wide before John Lundstram produced the only shot on target of the half just before the break, toe poking straight at Allsop after a flowing move.

The second half nearly began in dream fashion for Wycombe as a set piece landed kindly for Stewart who saw his shot blocked on the line by Lundstram after Buchel had failed to clear.

Oxford were straight up the other end though and celebrating on 53 minutes when a corner was powered home by the head of unmarked defender Chey Dunkley.

A sold-out Kassam Stadium crowd of just under 12,000 was rocking now and Liam Sercombe saw his shot deflected narrowly wide after the Blues had squandered possession. Hylton and Jombati were then both cautioned after the former refused to retreat ten yards from a free kick and the latter showed dissent to the assistant referee.

Ugwu and Kretzschmar replaced Thompson and McGinn for Wycombe, but the substitutes had no impact. Instead the hosts continued to attack, with Allsop beating away Kemar Roofe`s volley and then saving a low effort from Alex MacDonald.

On 70 minutes referee Keith Stroud harshly adjudged Aaron Pierre to have bundled into the back of Roofe, and Maguire stepped up to send Allsop the wrong way.

The second goal looked to have killed the game, and Rowan Liburd immediately replaced Hayes.

Wycombe nearly made it an interesting last quarter as Ugwu made something of a long ball but could only knock his effort into the side netting when he really should have scored.

Instead, the more clinical hosts sealed a comfortable victory and with it promotion in injury time, as substitute Callum O’Dowda robbed Jombati and hammered home a third.

Wycombe failed to produce a shot on target and 45 goals in 46 league matches makes it quite obvious which end of the pitch needs addressing in the summer.

All that was left was an emotional round of applause in recognition of the effort, commitment and class of loanee Jason McCarthy as 2015/16 drew to a close for Wanderers.

Ratings: Allsop (7), McCarthy (7), Pierre (7), Stewart (5), Jombati (6), McGinn (5), Bean (5), Rowe (6), Harriman (6), Hayes (5), Thompson (5)