Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Exeter CityLine-Ups
Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, Harriman, Jacobson, McCarthy, Pierre, McGinn (Bloomfield 83’), Bean, O’Nien, Cowan-Hall, Hayes (capt), Wood.
Subs: Richardson, Stewart, Sellers, Kretzschmar, Ugwu, Jombati.
Goals: McGinn 53’
Exeter City: Olejnik, Butterfield (capt), McAllister, Ribeiro, Nicholls, Wheeler (Taylor 82’), McCready, Watkins (Holmes 68’), Grant (Harley 78’), Stockley, Brown.
Subs: Oakley, Moore-Taylor, Hamon, Tillson.
Referee: David Webb
A WONDER GOAL from Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Stephen McGinn eight minutes after the half-time break proved the difference between the two sides as Exeter City’s run of Sky Bet League 2 victories came to an end at Adams Park.
In a hard-fought contest City had chances to take the lead in the first-half. But the Chairboys flew out of the traps after the half-time interval – McGinn popping up with the decisive stroke in the fifty-third minute.
Paul Tisdale made three changes to the side that came away from Hartlepool victorious a fortnight ago, with David Wheeler handed a start for the first time since the FA Cup Second Round tie against Port Vale last December. Influential midfielder Ryan Harley was named amongst the substitutes as he returned to the match-day squad after a two-and-a-half month injury lay-off.
Notable team news for the home side was that seven-goal top-scorer Gary Thompson, who scored against City in the Chairboys’ two nil win at St James Park last September, was ruled out through suspension having been sent off during Wycombe’s mid-week victory over Dagenham & Redbridge.
The opening ten minutes passed by without much incident. In the fifth minute Jayden Stockley connected with a Jamie McAllister cross from the left-hand side, but headed wide of Ryan Allsop’s right-hand post.
Next it was the Chairboys' turn to threaten as full-back Michael Harriman bombed up the right-hand side before unleashing a powerful low drive that forced Bobby Olejnik to push the ball around the post and out for a corner.
In what was becoming a hard-fought and physical encounter, the Grecians came close to breaking the deadlock in the thirteenth minute. After Joel Grant’s shot was parried out by loanee keeper Allsop, Stockley displayed great attacking instinct to be first to the rebound but steered his effort wide of goal.
Stockley was looking threatening, and he was at it again six minutes later as he hustled and bustled the Wycombe centre-backs to work a good opening, but could only manage a tame effort at goal.
Ollie Watkins’ pace was causing problems for Wycombe right-back Harriman, and the City youngster came close to scoring in the twenty-eighth minute. After a lung-busting run down the left-hand side Watkins cut back to release a shot on his right-foot from twenty-yards out, but his effort rose over the crossbar and into the Wycombe fans in the terrace behind the goal.
Stockley threatened again two minutes later, this time forcing Allsop into an acrobatic save after another great display of physicality to work the opening.
City felt aggrieved as a push on Stockley inside the Wycombe area went unpunished in the closing stages of the first-half, but the two sides went in for the half-time interval on level terms after forty-five minutes spent mostly in the middle of the park.
HALF-TIME: WYCOMBE WANDERERS 0-0 EXETER CITY
The second-half began with a comedic moment as in an effort to find the space to pull the trigger from twenty-yards out Joel Grant collided with referee David Webb. There was a brief stoppage after the collision as Webb was left in need of some treatment from the physio.
The hosts took the lead eight minutes after the restart as after the ball fell to Stephen McGinn twenty-five yards out, the midfielder curled a spectacular effort beyond Olejnik and into the top-left corner in what felt like slow-motion.
Inspired by the vocal contingent of away fans that they were now shooting towards, City came close in the sixty-second minute, but Wheeler couldn’t quite connect with Stockley’s inviting cross from the byline.
Wycombe looked to slow down the play after taking the lead as the game once again became bogged down in midfield. Ryan Harley was introduced in the seventy-eighth minute as City chased an equaliser, and the midfielder almost made an instant impact as he beat the offside trap to go clear through on goal before being tackled by a recovering defender.
Immediately after Christian Ribeiro poked towards goal following a corner from the right-hand side, but Ryan Allsop was well-placed to gather easily. As the game sparked into life, Wycombe came within inches of putting the outcome of the game beyond all doubt as left-winger Sam Wood drove a speculative effort narrowly over.
City should have levelled with three minutes of normal time remaining. A Lee Holmes corner delivered from the right-hand side found Troy Brown free in the area, but the centre-back’s header bounced over the crossbar.
The fourth official lifted his board to indicate five minutes of stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough for City as Olejnik was forced into producing a wonder save from Luke O'Nien to deny Wycombe from doubling their lead at the death.
FULL-TIME: WYCOMBE WANDERERS 1-0 EXETER CITY
Attendance: 3,358 (390 away)
Man of the Match: Jayden Stockley