Report: Exeter City 0 Wycombe 1
Exeter City were on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline for the second time in four days as Wycombe Wanderers left St James Park with all three points.
Max Kretzschmar, who scored to earn the Chairboys a win over Sky Bet League 2 leaders Chesterfield on Saturday, was the match-winner again, this time with a special lob over Christy Pym from 35 yards.
For the second successive Tuesday, Paul Tisdale and his Exeter City players had a rearranged League 2 fixture at St James Park. After Morecambe were the visitors last week, Gareth Ainsworth brought his Wycombe Wanderers side for a game that was originally due to take place on New Year’s Day.
The Chairboys began the night five points above the bottom two, but already boasted an away victory over Exeter City this term after Matt McClure and Anthony Stewart scored in a 2-0 victory to knock the Grecians out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in September.
Pat Baldwin was fit enough for the City bench after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Matt Gill came in and took the captain’s armband after a knee problem forced Danny Coles to miss out. Otherwise Paul Tisdale made a flurry of changes to the starting line-up that were beaten 1-0 by Rochdale on Saturday; Jordan Moore-Taylor, Sam Parkin, Eliot Richards and David Wheeler all coming in. Wycombe top-scorer Dean Morgan was again left on the bench, after having watched his side take a shock 1-0 victory over league leaders Chesterfield at the weekend.
Sam Parkin headed over in the game’s first chance on three minutes. City had broken along the right wing, with Danny Butterfield setting the break in motion, David Wheeler carrying it forward before Liam Sercombe produced a decent cross for the returning Parkin. Wheeler beat Wanderers left-back Sam Wood twice in quick succession before firstly crossing into keeper Matt Ingram’s hands, the second time playing in Sercombe who dragged the ball wide.
Reece Styche, who will be hoping to play some part in Gibraltar’s Euro 2016 qualification campaign, had Christy Pym on his toes with a lob from just beyond the halfway line that went narrowly wide on twelve minutes. A well-won header by Parkin landed at the feet of Wheeler wide on the right, the 23-year-old then drilling one over the bar. Following Matt Grimes’s interception just next to the centre-circle, Exeter City’s number twenty-nine brought a low stop out of Ingram, before Eliot Richards shot wide of the right-hand post on the quarter-hour.
Pym made a brilliant save to his right from Paris Cowan-Hall after Styche had broken free along the Chairboys’ left-wing, but he was helpless as Max Kretzschmar lobbed the Exeter City goalkeeper from all of thirty-five yards to give the away side the lead in some style. Kretzschmar scored from the penalty spot as Wycombe beat Chesterfield on Saturday. Liam Sercombe struck a twenty-sixth minute free-kick wide.
Matt Grimes headed over after Eliot Richards had headed a David Wheeler cross back away from the touchline. City were in a panic as Pym decided to come out to meet Cowan-Hall and produced an airshot, but luckily for the young goalkeeper his defenders came to his rescue. Matt Grimes’s whipped free-kick was deflected away from goal by a trailing Wycombe leg on thirty-six minutes.
The Grecians played the final five minutes of the first half, plus a further three minutes of injury time, with ten men, after Matt Grimes sustained a head injury that saw him taken quickly to the changing room for treatment. Nonetheless, Eliot Richards missed a golden opportunity for the equaliser as he headed Craig Woodman’s corner wide from inside the six-yard box.
Half-time: Exeter City 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1
A bandaged Matt Grimes rejoined his Exeter City teammates as the sides came back out for the second half. Nick Arnold wanted a penalty after Craig Woodman had given the ball away and tried to recover, but referee Michael Bull was disinterested.
Paul Tisdale sent on Tom Nichols and John O’Flynn in a double substitution nearly ten minutes into the second half, Sam Parkin and David Wheeler the men giving way.
Nick Arnold had the first effort of the second half on the hour, before Reece Styche was replaced by Steven Craig for the visitors. Paris Cowan-Hall couldn’t test Pym with a shot from the left side of the area shortly after. Chairboys goalkeeper Ingram made a smart stop from a Scot Bennett header before quickly tipping a John O’Flynn shot over the bar, but the second effort from the City substitute was offside and would not have counted.
Eliot Richards’ turn-and-shot went off target on sixty-seven minutes, before Steven Craig headed wide at the culmination of a sustained period of Wycombe possession. A fumble by Pym was kicked off the line by Jordan Moore-Taylor with Craig waiting to pounce in another heart-in-mouth moment for the Grecians. Max Kretzschmar should have got his second when sent on his way by Josh Scowen but he blasted wide of Christy Pym’s post with the goal at his mercy. Matt Oakley replaced Eliot Richards with fifteen minutes to go, and Gareth Ainsworth sent on Anthony Jeffery for Paris Cowan-Hall three minutes later.
Liam Sercombe missed an attempt at a volley before inadvertently knocking the ball out for a goal-kick with just under five minutes of normal time to play. Tom Nichols headed comfortably for Ingram in the final minute of normal time, shortly before turning and shooting into the hands of the goalkeeper, who had only truly been troubled once in the second half.
Full-time: Exeter City 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1
Exeter City: Pym, Butterfield, Woodman, Bennett, Sercombe, Richards (Oakley 78), Moore-Taylor, Parkin (Nichols 53), Grimes, Wheeler (O’Flynn 53), Gill.
Subs: Krysiak, Baldwin, Oakley, Davies, Keohane.
Wycombe Wanderers: Ingram, McCoy, Scowen, Stewart, Johnson, Bloomfield, Wood, Cowan-Hall (Jeffery 81), Kretzschmar, Arnold, Styche (Craig 62).
Subs: Horlock, Morgan, Kuffour, Kewley-Graham.
Attendance: 2,540 (102 away)
Referee: Michael Bull