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Report: Stevenage 1-3 Wycombe

23 August 2014

Wycombe collected their third win in four league games with a brilliant 3-1 triumph at Stevenage.

Gareth Ainsworth's men had to do it the hard way, coming from behind to claim all three points after Darius Charles had opened the scoring for Boro in the first half.

A sublime finish from Paul Hayes and a poacher's finish from Peter Murphy turned the game on its head before the break, and the visitors withheld pressure after the interval before sealing the victory thanks to Matt McClure late on.

Boro’s reputation as a physical side may have played a factor in Ainsworth’s decision to add extra height to his side in the form of Danny Rowe and Steven Craig, who replaced Max Kretzschmar and Matt McClure as the Blues boss changed his starting line-up for the first time this season.

It was Craig had the game’s first chance, heading over from a cross from Sido Jombati after the striker had held the ball up well following a dangerous ball down the middle.

At the other end, Charlie Lee thundered a shot against the outside of the post from a tight angle when the ball fell invitingly to his left foot, but it landed safe behind the goal.

Wanderers seemed to have the upper hand with a more varied attacking approach than their opponents, and they were aided during a sustained period when Stevenage were operating with 10 men due to a head injury suffered by Bira Dembele, who needed treatment off the pitch.

When he returned, Boro enjoyed a rare opening when Darius Charles delivered a ball across the six-yard box but no-one was able to convert the chance.

Wycombe were by far the more adventurous side but another direct ball brought about the opening goal for the home side, and a real moment of controversy on 34 minutes. Darius Charles and Matt Ingram collided when challenging for the ball outside the box, and while Ingram lay stricken on the turf, Charles clipped the ball home. After a long period whilst Ingram received treatment, the referee awarded the goal.

But the Blues weren’t behind for long, and if Boro’s goal was down to brute force, then this was a moment of magic from Paul Hayes. The captain controlled a cross with an exquisite touch before juggling the ball past a defender and lashing it home in emphatic fashion.

And Wanderers’ second goal owed a lot to a training ground move which completely bamboozled the home side. Three visiting players appeared to make a mess of a free-kick routine before Sam Wood clipped the ball into the box, where Peter Murphy had evaded his marker and tapped home from close range.

Boro made two changes at the interval, bringing exciting attackers Tom Pett and Adam Marriott on for Bira Dembele and Andy Bond, though the injection of pace didn’t do much to change the flow of the game early on in the half as the visitors stood their ground.

Resilient defending from Aaron Pierre and Alfie Mawson helped restrict the home side to only a couple of minor openings, although the Blues had lost a lot of their early attacking impetus as hard work and organisation substituted the high pressing and skilful link up which had put them in front.

Stuart Lewis made his first appearance of the season, replacing Steven Craig with quarter of an hour left, just after Paris Cowan-Hall had seen a header deflected wide from a Joe Jacobson cross.

Matt Bloomfield was the next sub called into action, replacing Paris Cowan-Hall in midfield, as Lewis went into the book for kicking the ball away after a foul was given.

Matt McClure was Wycombe’s final sub, replacing Paul Hayes in the dying stages, and his first involvement of the game was to tap home into an empty net to double the visitors’ advantage.

Lewis had broken the offside trap to latch on to a through-ball and after nudging it past the onrushing keeper, McClure was on hand to finish the job with aplomb.

There was still time for Charlie Lee to force a superb save from Matt Ingram in stoppage time, but Wanderers were full value for their third win in four games at the start of a new season which offers so many reasons for optimism.

Wycombe: Ingram, Jombati, Jacobson, Mawson, Pierre, Cowan-Hall (Bloomfield 80), Rowe, Murphy, Wood, Craig (Lewis 74), Hayes (McClure 88).
Subs: Richardson, Kretzschmar, Walker, Holloway.

Stevenage: Beasant, Ashton, Wells, Dembele (Pett 45), Okimo, Whelpdale, Walton, Bond (Marriott 45), Deacon, Lee, Charles (Johnson 88).
Subs: Day, Henry.

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