Wycombe picked up all three points at Northampton in their first Checkatrade Trophy group game of the season thanks to an unstoppable first half strike from Scott Kashket in a 1-0 victory at the PTS Academy Stadium.
Gareth Ainsworth rotated his squad for this one, handing a full debut to Charlie Fox and a second one for Fred Onyadinma in an attacking set-up for the Chairboys; with five recognised forwards in the Starting XI for Wanderers.
Attacking by name, and it was attacking by nature right from the off for Wycombe. Onyedinma went racing through with four minutes on the clock after Alex Samuel helped it on and drew an early save from Cobblers’ keeper Lewis Ward.
Wycombe took the lead in the 11th minute and it was a cracker that opened the scoring courtesy of Kashket. Cowan-Hall gave himself a yard, found the ‘Little Genius’ on the edge, who took a touch and found the top left corner, leaving Ward no chance.
Northampton tried to get on the front foot after falling behind, but that was leaving gaps at the back which the Wycombe forward line looked keen to exploit. A Free-kick was whipped in from Michael Harriman on the left, Samuel's header was blocked into the path of Stewart who stretched but couldn't fire it goalwards on 19 minutes.
Back the Blues came again, with Nick Freeman the architect of many dangerous moves playing in a more central role and allowed to run at the central defenders. Freeman crossed low to Samuel on the 23rd minute and the forward stabbed it wide as he slid in.
This time Samuel was the one operating out wide, laying the ball back to Cowan-Hall who stung the palms of Ward.
Fox who had made a confident start to life in a Chairboys shirt was booked for a late challenge on Shaun McWilliams on halfway on 33 minutes.
Play was halted with just over five minutes of the half left to play as Yves Ma-Kalambay took a knock. After a spell of treatment he was ok to continue, with 19-year-old new signing Cameron Yates waiting in the wings.
Half-time: Northampton 0-1 Wycombe
Wycombe made a change at the break as Stewart was replaced by Jombati with one eye on this weekend’s League One fixture at Charlton Athletic.
Northampton were first to go close after the restart as a corner was swung in from the right, Jordan Turnbull headed it towards goal which Sam Saunders blocked causing the ball to fly up into the air inside the area. Billy Waters was underneath it and connected with an overhead kick which went just over the bar.
Jon-Joe O’Toole was next to have his name taken as he appeared to catch Kashket with an elbow. From the resulting free-kick, the ball was played to Cowan-Hall on the left corner of the box. He switched on to his left foot and saw his shot deflect and loop just over the bar.
Kashket was causing panic amongst the Cobblers defence every time he had the ball; this time cutting in and firing just wide of the near post on 54 minutes.
Blues made their second change on 58 minutes and it was a career milestone for Marcus Bean who came on to make his 500th professional club appearance, replacing Onyedinma.
Six minutes past the hour mark, and Northampton fashioned their best chance of the game so far. Dean Bowditch caught the Wycombe defence napping and sent a short corner to Daniel Powell on the edge of the box, who then rifled a shot just over the bar.
Ma-Kalambay was then next be booked by Darren Drysdale as the referee did not like how long the keeper was taking to take a free-kick awarded for offside. Soon after Wycombe made their final change as Cowan-Hall came off for Randell Williams.
Northampton looking to level the scores, with a chance for two points from a penalty shootout on the cards with an equaliser, and went close as Waters sent a curling effort just past the far post from 25-yards after coming in from the left. The striker was then booked for dissent one minute afterwards.
Wanderers had Curtis Thompson, who was operating at right-back, to thank that they maintained their lead with just four minutes to play. Bowditch was picked out unmarked at the back post, and struck the ball beyond Yves but Thompson was there to clear off the line to cap off a superb display from the former Notts County man.
Turnbull forced one final save from Ma-Kalambay as he wrapped his foot around the ball and tried to find the far corner forcing the Chairboys’ stopper into a good save to his left to ensure he claimed his first clean sheet of the season.
1-0 was how it finished then as Wycombe got up and running in their first Checkatrade Trophy group game of the season, on a night which also highlighted Wanderers strength in depth and attacking flare.
Attendance: 1053 (156 Wycombe)