Wycombe secured a seventh away win of the season with a superb 3-1 success at Hartlepool.Paris Cowan-Hall, Matt Bloomfield and Alfie Mawson were in target as the Blues retained their place at the top of Sky Bet League 2, although they were helped along the way by Pools defender Neil Austin sending a first-half penalty over the bar with the score at 1-0.
Marlon Harewood did bag a late consolation but it did little to take the gloss off another excellent result for the Chairboys, who have now surpassed the number of away wins they recorded in the whole of last season.
Alfie Mawson returned to the starting line-up in the only change for Gareth Ainsworth’s men, who named new loan signing Fred Onyedinma amongst the substitutes, with Sam Wood and Hogan Ephraim missing from the squad due to injury.
Hartlepool started brightly and forced two early corners, the first of which was beaten away by Matt Ingram on the goal-line before Matteo Lanzoni wasn’t far away from connecting with the second.
Wanderers grew into the game and the outlet of Paris Cowan-Hall seemed their likeliest route to goal, as he fed Steven Craig for a shot which was blocked before the winger had an effort of his own which was charged down.
Joe Jacobson then saw a low free-kick well held by Flinders before the visitors made their pressure count, and it was a second goal in two games for Paris Cowan-Hall that broke the deadlock.
Paul Hayes found space down the right to deliver a cross, just as he had for Cowan-Hall’s goal at Cheltenham the previous weekend, and the winger was in the right place to rise high and crash home his header.
However, Wycombe weren’t ahead for long when the drama switched to the other end, and United were gifted the opportunity to level the scores from the penalty spot. Marlon Harewood appeared to slip in the box but referee Mr Simpson spotted an infringement and awarded the penalty, only for Neil Austin to blast his spot-kick over the bar.
Then Alfie Mawson came inches away from doubling the lead with a header which rebounded off the post from a Jacobson corner, and although the Blues held the advantage at the break, there was enough spirit in the Hartlepool side to suggest they were capable of a comeback after the interval.
They had the first sight of goal when Brad Walker blasted over following a corner but both sides’ attacking intents became stifled in a tense yet unproductive midfield battle, with Wanderers’ slender one-goal lead intact.
Sub Jonathan Franks fizzed a low shot goalwards and a deflection off Sido Jombati provided a test for Ingram, but he was equal to it and saved well at his near post.
With the game tightly poised, Blues need to find a second goal, and it came. Hayes was once again the provider, taking advantage of a sleeping home defence to drill a low cross which Matt Bloomfield calmly converted from six yards out.
The goal deflated the hosts’ hopes of a comeback and any lingering optimism was shattered when Alfie Mawson headed home the third goal moments later, finding himself unmarked at the back post to increase the advantage.
As it happened, Wanderers needed the buffer of a three-goal lead as their hopes of a clean sheet came unstuck when Marlon Harewood fired home from close range with six minutes left on the clock.
Nevertheless, it proved to be nothing more than a consolation and Wycombe held on comfortably to stay top of the tree.
Wycombe: Ingram, Jombati, Jacobson, Mawson, Pierre, Cowan-Hall (Onyedinma 82), Scowen, Murphy, Bloomfield, Craig (McClure 78), Hayes (Kretzschmar 90).
Unused subs: Richardson, Rowe, Fletcher, Lewis.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Richards, Austin, Lanzoni, Bates, Featherstone, Walker (Franks 65), Dolan, Harewood, Fenwick, Campbell (Schmeltz 58).
Attendance: 3,053 (163 from Wycombe)