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Wycombe Wanderers 3
Saturday 8th November 2014
FA Cup First Round Proper
Wanderers eased through to the Second Round of the FA Cup after coming from a goal down to beat Conference leaders Barnet 3-1 on their own patch.
Wycombe, with loanees Alfie Mawson and Danny Rowe unavailable because parent clubs Brentford and Rotherham denied permission to play in the FA Cup, were behind after just 125 seconds when former Wanderer John Akinde rounded Matt Ingram to put Martin Allen's side ahead. Wycombe could have gone further behind but were given a lifeline on 35 minutes when Matt McClure won a penalty and Paul Hayes converted. It got worse for Barnet in first half stoppage time when another former Wanderer Sam Togwell was red carded for a lung on Matt Bloomfield. Wycombe went on to dominate the second half and goals from Aaron Pierre and Sam Wood sealed the route to the next round and the £18,000 prize fund. Barnet's day was compounded to further disaster when Andy Yiadom also received a straight red for a 90th minute over the top tackle on Josh Scowen directly in front of boss Allen.
News that Mawson and Rowe would be missing for Wycombe was kept under wraps until just before kick-off. Their absence meant Sido Jombati switching to the centre of defence in place of Mawson, while Scowen moved to right-back and Max Kretzschmar returned to the starting line-up in midfield. Elsewhere, Matt McClure was favoured ahead of Steven Craig who dropped to the bench. Paris Cowan-Hall returned from injury as substitute as Gareth Ainsworth named literally all his fit players available.
Barnet came out all guns blazing and were ahead with 125 seconds played when a long ball forward saw MacDonald head on for former Wanderer John Akinde to take the ball around Matt Ingram and open the scoring. It remained all Barnet in the opening exchanges and Ingram had to be alert on 14 minutes when Curtis Weston beat the offside trap to be in another one-on-one with the Wycombe 'keeper but Ingram did well to block.
McClure saw an effort cleared off the line a minute later but it was Barnet who continued to create the better chances. Wycombe's day looked to be turning really sour when Josh Scowen picked up his 5th yellow card of the season on 25 minutes following a foul on Lee Cook to earn an automatic suspension that will mean he will miss the home meeting with Burton Albion scheduled for Monday 17th November. Cook then saw a free-kick tipped over by Ingram and the Wycombe 'keeper also blocked a corner from the left at the near post as Wycombe continued to struggle.
Wanderers were given a lifeline back into the game in the 34th minute when Matt McClure was adjuged to have been bundled over on the edge of the left side of the six-yard by Andy Yiadom. Paul Hayes slotted home the resulting penalty low to Graham Stack's left who guessed right and only the accuracy and power of the spot-kick ensured Wycombe were level.
Barnet will have felt aggrieved with the pebalty decision but should have no complaints when former Wanderer loanee Sam Togwell was red-carded in the second minute of first half stoppage time when he lunged in with a raised foot on Matt Bloomfield. The Wanderers player required treatment but limped back on the complete the half.
The second-half proved a totally different affair. With the wind behind them and the rain lashing down, Wanderers took the lead in the 59th minute when Joe Jacobson floated in a corner from the right that saw Pierre to meet from the outside of the box and send a powerful header into the back of the net from the edge of the six yard box. Pierre delight at scoring was marginally tamed by a booking five minutes later that will see him miss the Burton game along with Scowen.
Barnet's response was minimal, although they did have the ball in the net on 64 minutes following a corner from the left but the ball had already swung out of play before Yiadom headed home and more good measure, it looked like Ingram had been fouled too on the line.
Wanderers' victory was sealed on 74 minutes when McClure got away down the right and then flighted in a cross to the far post that Sam Wood had the simple task of tapping in at the far post. Barnet finished the game well beaten and with nine men following Yiadom's ridiculous challenge on Scowen.
Full-time - Barnet 1 Wycombe 3
Post match reaction:
Commenting after the game, Gareth Ainsworth said, "The conditions were awful, with the rain and the wind. I said at half time, because you stayed in the game, because you played the ugly game first half, we were able to play our game second half – and boy did we play that. I would have been happy at 1-0 down at half time, never mind 1-1, but we’ve held on and in the second half there was only one team in it. The sending off helped us – ten men can sometimes dig deep but I asked the boys to dig deeper than the ten. I had accomplished what I wanted at half time, to still be in the game. I think we would have gone out and taken the game to them second half – the sending off obviously has a bearing on the game, but sometimes ten men do pull upsets. Big John Akinde’s going to cause problems and, in the conditions, the flick ons and the pace in behind causes problems. I got a message out on the pitch of what I wanted the boys to do to nullify that and see the game out to half time and stay in it." Speaking of the team changes he was forced to make, "I lost two centre halves, who were denied permission to play. We could only name four outfield subs, played a central midfielder at right back and a right back at centre back. I think it showed plenty of character. The boys stuck to the challenge." Wycombe have a ten day break until taking on Burton Albion in front of the Sky cameras on Monday 17th November. The Wycombe boss will be forced to leave out Pierre and Scowen for that game after their yellow card accumulation, he added, "The biggest worries will be the suspensions with five yellow cards. We’ll have to rotate again. It’s part and parcel of the small squad, and the risk of having a small squad is definitely worth taking with the rewards we are getting at the moment. Certain members of the team came in today and really put a case in for their shirts."
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