Report: Wycombe 0 Exeter City 1
A penalty save by Artur Krysiak helped Exeter City to a 1-0 victory against Wycombe at Adams Park.
City had to play much of the game a man light, after Jamie Cureton was sent off in the first half for a kick on a Wanderers defender.
The side could have capitulated when the hosts were awarded a penalty early in the second half. Krysiak’s save kept parity, and John O’Flynn forced an unlikely winner in the final ten minutes as Kortney Hause turned the ball into his own net.
City boss Paul Tisdale made just a single change to the Grecians’ starting XI for the trip to Adams Park. Liam Sercombe’s ankle injury, which he sustained against Barnet, kept him out of the squad and Jamie Cureton returned to the starting line-up in his place.
The space which Cureton vacated on the bench was in turned filled by the returning Tommy Doherty, making his first appearance in the squad for over a month, after sustaining an injury against Rotherham.
City had all the early possession but the first attempt fell to the hosts. Wycombe skipper Stuart Lewis had the ball laid back to him 25 yards out and shot first time, but it landed on top of the Dreams Stand where the Exeter fans were housed.
Jimmy Keohane hoiked a ball into the box, and John O’Flynn rose well to challenge the goalkeeper without fouling. Jordan Archer spilled the ball initially, but claimed the ball before any City attackers could follow up.
Play had to be suspended temporarily when Artur Krysiak picked up a knock. After rising high to pluck a cross out of the air, he landed heavily as he was challenged in the air. The stopper took his time to get his breath back, and was able to continue.
Exeter were controlling the tempo for much of the first half, but at around the half-hour mark Wycombe started getting their teeth into the fixture. However Jo Kuffour and Lewis were booked within a minute for a high challenge and a late tackle respectively.
Alan Gow then had two free-kicks from a central position which he was unable to convert. The first, which he won himself, was deflected wide for a corner, whereas Keohane won the second which the Scotsman blazed over.
The game took a huge twist shortly before half time. After being jockeyed off the ball by Anthony Stewart, Cureton kicked out at the Wycombe defender. The linesman flagged and called over the referee, who had no hesitation in showing a straight red card to the Exeter striker.
However even with ten men, City were still playing most of the football. A quick break saw John O’Flynn released on the right channel, but his ball in towards Keohane was cut out and diverted behind for a corner.
The Chairboys might have scored on the break after Bruno Andrade cut out a Matt Oakley pass, but he took a heavy touch after running the length of the field, allowing Craig Woodman to mop up.
Sam Wood then had an effort from outside the box, but he shanked his left-foot shot well wide of the target.
Half-time: Wycombe Wanderers 0 Exeter City 0
Wanderers reappeared after the break with a single change, as Jo Kuffour made way for Dean Morgan.
And it wasn’t long until the home side were on the attack. A quick break by Lewis from the centre circle saw him feed Andrade on the right-flank. He picked out Matt McClure with his cross but Krysiak was well positioned to get behind the header.
The afternoon could have all gone horribly wrong for City when Wycombe were awarded a penalty as Joel Grant was put on the deck by Steve Tully in the box. Grant stepped up himself to take the spot-kick, but it was saved by Krysiak. The Chairboys followed up to put the ball in the net, but not before the assistant flagged for an infringement.
City went back on the offensive again and a deep free-kick to the far post was nodded back by the towering presence of Pat Baldwin. Scot Bennett arrived to wrap his left foot around the ball but it looped over.
Again City might have broken the deadlock when Craig Woodman’s corner was only cleared as far as Gow, but his snapshot on the bounce cleared the woodwork.
Exeter managed to stifle the Wycombe threat for much of the second half, despite being at a numerical advantage. In particular the midfield refused to panic under pressure.
And, incredibly, City took the lead in the 82nd minute. O’Flynn escaped the offside when Gow’s delicate flick found him in the box. His shot from a wide angle wasn’t held by Jordan Archer, and centre-half Kortney Hause could only bundle into his own net as he followed up.
Back at the other end, it took an absolutely phenomenal save by Krysiak to keep the advantage, as a header looked destined for the top corner until strong fingertips kept the ball out of the net.
And City kept their composure in the closing stages, refusing to just lump the ball clear and continuing to play their football and harrying the opposition.
Exeter saw out the three added minutes to hold onto all three points on the road for the fourth consecutive away match.
Full-time: Wycombe Wanderers 0 Exeter City 1
Wycombe Wanderers: Archer; McCoy (Harriman 78), Wood, Hause, Stewart; Grant, Lewis, Spring, Andrade; Kuffour (Morgan h-t), McClure (Azeez 58).
Subs (not used): Harrison, Winfield, Dunne, Morias.
Exeter City: Krysiak; Tully, Coles, Baldwin, Woodman; Keohane, Bennett, Oakley; Gow; Cureton, O'Flynn.
Subs (not used): Evans, Davies, Doherty, Amankwaah, Dawson, Reid, Moore-Taylor.
Goal: Hause (82, og).
Sent off: Cureton (38).
Referee: A. Davies.