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Fleetwood Town 1
Wycombe Wanderers 4
Friday 3rd July 2020
Football League One - Play-Off Semi-Final 1st Leg
Wycombe Wanderers took a huge step to securing a place in the Championship Play-Off Final after an exhilarating 4-1 away victory in the 1st leg played behind closed doors at Fleetwood Town.
Team news for Wycombe for the game at Fleetwood had seen Gareth Ainsworth make just two changes to the starting XI that line-up against Doncaster more than four months previous - Jack Grimmer and Matt Bloomfield returning in place of Jason McCarthy (returned to Millwall) and Curtis Thompson (moved to the bench). Grimmer, along with Scott Kashket were returning to the match day squad for the first time in six months following extended spells out due to injury and suspension respectively. Kashket, suspended by the FA for betting related incidents while he was at Leyton Orient, was in the matchday squad for the first time in 184 days, while Grimmer had been ruled out through injury since December 2019 (220 days).
Playing their first game in 125 days, Wycombe took a 2nd minute lead through Bournemouth loanee Nnamdi Ofoborh’s long range strike, only to be pegged back two minutes when Ched Evans levelled from the spot. But Gareth Ainsworth’s side, audibly encouraged from the side-lines by non-playing staff, regained the lead on 6 minutes when Joe Jacobson’s corner beat home ‘keeper Alex Cairns at the near post. Wycombe then wasted the opportunity to make it 3-1 on 34 minutes when Lewie Coyle was dismissed for a foul in the box on Jacobson but the Wanderers left-back saw his spot-kick saved.
However, David Wheeler took Wycombe into a two goal lead at the break and an Alex Samuel goal on 57 minutes put Wanderers firmly in control with a 4-1 lead. The tie seemingly crashed out of Fleetwood’s range with six minutes remaining when Paddy Madden was shown a yellow card for simulation in an attempt to win a penalty and his fury boiled over to the extent that referee Tony Harrington upgraded the punishment to a red card, meaning both Madden and Coyle would miss the return leg at Adams Park on Monday 6th July 2020 through suspension.
Full-time - Fleetwood Town 1 Wycombe 4
Speaking after the game, Wanderers Manager Gareth Ainsworth told the press: "Of course this is a great result here but we've got to be careful in the second leg." The Wycombe boss added: "It's only half-time in the tie and Fleetwood are a really good side. You could see that by the way they kept possession so well even when they'd gone down to 10 men. We've got to get it right again on Monday and we need to be performing to the same high levels. We have to show Fleetwood respect, though. We can't go into the second leg thinking this tie is over and we're going to Wembley."
Meanwhile Fleetwood boss Joey Barton was confident his team could win the second-leg at Adams Park: "We'll be ready on Monday night and we'll win at Wycombe. I don't know whether it'll be by enough to get us to Wembley but we'll be giving it everything. They're going to be difficult to break down, but we'll go there with belief and confidence. We'll give it everything we've got there, and if we come up short, we come up short."
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