Matt McClure’s 11th minute strike got the Chairboys back to winning ways with victory at Plymouth Argyle.Wycombe withstood a lot of pressure at times, but were superb at the back in the second half and frustrated the hosts to long-range efforts for the majority of the final 45 minutes.
Gareth Ainsworth made three changes to the side that faced Cheltenham Town on Boxing Day with Josh Scowen (hamstring) and Charles Dunne (foot) ruled out with the injuries they picked out at Whaddon Road.
Dennis Oli was the other man to miss out with the returning Matt McClure taking his place in the side. Available-again Matt Spring came in for Scowen, while Anthony Stewart replaced Dunne for his first start in seven weeks.
Ade Azeez was among the substitutes, but Ainsworth only named six replacements as his squad was stretched further with 11 players missing either through injury or suspension.
Sam Wood had the first effort of the game after only 40 seconds but he sliced well wide from 25 yards and then a hopeful cross into the Wycombe caused panic but the Blues eventually scrambled the ball away.
Plymouth winger Paris Cowan-Hall had the best chance of the early stages and it came in the seventh minute when he beat Sam Wood on the right-hand edge of the area, but blazed over from an angle.
The post came to the Chairboys’ rescue in the 10th minute when the impressive Cowan-Hall cut back from the byline and Onismor Bhasera fired goalwards from just outside the area.
However, it was 1-0 to Ainsworth’s men a minute later. Stuart Lewis did superbly well to find McClure and he got the ball on to his left foot before drilling an effort past Rene Gilmartin from 10 yards for his seventh of the season.
Cowan-Hall was by far the home side’s most dangerous threat in the first half and he should have done better in the 21st minute, but he curled wide from the edge of the area after Wycombe had failed to clear their lines.
Bruno Andrade had a shot deflected wide after a quick counter-attack involving Matt Spring and Jo Kuffour and Kuffour then came close to reaching McClure’s dangerous cross with the goal gaping.
Robbie Williams just cleared the bar from a well-worked free-kick four minutes from time and the left-back tried his luck again two minutes later, but this time it flew wide of the post from 20 yards.
The hosts were arguably the better side in the first half and created more chances, but it was the Blues that led thanks to McClure’s clinical finish.
Spring’s corner came back off the near post soon after the restart, before Cowan-Hall’s cross also deflected off the woodwork – this time the crossbar.
Darren Purse headed Luke Young’s corner well wide and Nick Chadwick then headed wide when he should have done a lot better from Cowan-Hall’s cross.
The hosts were enjoying the majority of possession, but Lewis came close for the Blues with a volley in the 66th minute, but his 20-yard strike went wide after Plymouth had only half cleared a throw in.
Azeez replaced McClure with 20 minutes remaining after the Northern Ireland U21 international looked to be struggling with injury. It was the on-loan Charlton striker’s first appearance since picking up a hamstring problem in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie at Yeovil Town on 4th December.
Blues thought they had wrapped up the points 10 minutes from time when Azeez slotted home from just inside the area, but the assistant referee had correctly raised his flag as soon as Andrade had played the striker in on goal.
Junior Morias replaced Ainsworth with five minutes remaining and it was another excellent shift from the player/manager who ran himself into the ground.
Referee Brendan Malone somehow found six minutes to add on at the end of the game, but every Wycombe player was throwing his body on the line with Stewart and Hause heading everything clear to secure the points.
Wycombe: Archer, McCoy, Wood, Stewart, Hause, Ainsworth, Lewis (c), Spring, Andrade, McClure (Azzez 70), Kuffour.
Subs: Harrison, Ehui, Angol, Oli.
Plymouth: Gilmartin, Nelson, Blanchard, Purse (c), Williams, Cowan-Hall, Hourihane, Young, Bhasera (Molesey 69), Chadwick (Griffiths 69), Harvey (Feeney 55).
Subs: Cole, Berry, Lennox, Gurrieri.