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Match Report


Posted Sat 07 May 11 at 20:25 PM


Wycombe Wanderers have won promotion from League 2 courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Southend United in their final day decider against Southend United.

The visitors stunned the Blues when Anthony Grant fired home the opening goal courtesy of a deflection, but parity was restored within a flash when Scott Donnelly fired home following Stuart Lewis' pass.

Ben Strevens then put the hosts in front when Glenn Morris flapped at Danny Foster's cross and allowed the striker to bundle home his third goal in two games.

The victory was secured when Scott Rendell slotted the ball into an empty net after a defensive mix-up, and the celebrations were able to begin as the Chairboys knew they were heading back to League 1.

The atmosphere reached fever pitch as the players took to the field, with the Adams Park faithful rising to their feet to welcome the men who were just one win away from achieving promotion glory in front of their own fans.

It needed a strong start to settle any nerves, but it was Southend who looked more settled as they twice came close in the first five minutes, with Ryan Hall's deflected effort spinning wide for a corner before Bilel Mohsni's header was tipped onto the crossbar by Nikki Bull.

United's threats continuously came down the right, with Ryan Hall instrumental in every move, and it was he who laid on the opening goal for former Wycombe loanee Anthony Grant, as the midfielder cut inside Andy Sandell and saw his shot deflect off Dave Winfield into the net.

Hall then forced Nikki Bull into a smart save down to his left and Wycombe were desperate for a response. It came just four minutes later as the ball broke kindly for Stuart Lewis 25 yards out, and the midfielder fed Scott Donnelly with a neat pass, giving the on-loan Swansea man the chance to slot coolly past Glenn Morris from 15 yards.

The turnaround was complete on 26 minutes, and it was the hero from last weekend's victory at Bury who gave the Blues the lead. Danny Foster's first-time cross was missed by Morris and Strevens reacted quickest to stab home from close range, prompting ecstatic scenes around the stadium.

Donnelly had a chance to stretch the hosts' advantage before the break but his effort was parried away by Morris, while Hall saw another long-range effort trickle wide as the Blues' defence held firm to the interval.

Wycombe began the second period on the front foot and looked creative going forward, coming close when Stuart Lewis' drive through a crowd of players was cleared off the line.

But Southend didn't heed the warning, and that third goal arrived courtesy of Scott Rendell on 54 minutes thanks to the alertness of Scott Donnelly. The midfielder chased on to a loose backpass and the ball broke to Rendell, who slotted home calmly from 12 yards to get the party started for real. The striker removed and kissed his boot in memory of his late son Alfie, whose name is emblazoned across both boots.

The goal came just moments after Shrewsbury had taken the lead against Oxford United, giving the Blues an important two-goal cushion in their quest to return to League 1.

Bilel Mohsni and Gareth Ainsworth both saw long-range efforts saved as chances came few and far between in a game which looked to be heading to a predictable outcome.

Ainsworth again was looking to cap a remarkable season with a goal as he wriggled past two defenders before firing wide, before Rendell could only fire against the keeper's legs from Strevens' square pass on the counter-attack.

Gareth Ainsworth left the field to a standing ovation moments later, with Stuart Beavon taking his place, and the striker's first touch set him up perfectly for a dipping volley which flashed just over the bar.

Kevin Betsy's shot was blocked en route to goal with eight minutes remaining before the same player was denied by the onrushing keeper as the visiting defence began to fall apart, while Andy Sandell's long-ranger was parried away by the keeper.

The result never looked in doubt, and the win also ensures Wycombe have surpassed their highest points tally in a Football League season, finishing on 80 points - two above the previous best.

Huge amounts of reaction to follow - thanks for staying with us.

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