Paul Hayes fired his 100th league goal to clinch a superb 1-0 victory over Cambridge United at Adams Park.The captain reacted quickest to turn home the rebound after Paris Cowan-Hall's header had been saved to cap another impressive display from Gareth Ainsworth's surprise early front-runners in League 2.
Wanderers’ only change to their starting XI was enforced due to the recall by Rotherham United on loan star Danny Rowe, which meant Paris Cowan-Hall came into the side in an orthodox 4-4-2 formation.
United started brightest and saw Robbie Simpson’s rocket bravely blocked by Josh Scowen on the edge of the area, while Matt Ingram was alert to beat Tom Elliott to the ball during a spell on pinball in the box on eight minutes.
Wycombe created openings of their own, the best of which came on 21 minutes when a deep inswinging corner was met with a downward header by Paris Cowan-Hall, but the ball struck the shin of Peter Murphy and looped over the bar.
Neither keeper was being troubled although Cambridge’s movement and pace upfront was proving a tough test which the home defence did well to stand up to.
Paul Hayes snatched at an effort after Aaron Pierre’s knock-on before Murphy looped a shot at the keeper from 25 yards as Wanderers looked to make the breakthrough.
The hosts’ set pieces were characteristically inventive and almost produced an opener when a deep corner bounced in the six-yard box and Pierre skewed his header over, having peeled away from his marker.
Then, a neat play from Paul Hayes played in Murphy and when a cross from Wood found its way to Josh Scowen 25 yards out, the midfielder rifled an effort which flew just past the post.
Ainsworth’s men finished the half strongly and after United just about kept Scowen and McClure at bay after a through-ball carved open the defence, Sam Wood should have scored when fed by Hayes in the box, but the keeper pounced on his heavy touch.
The visitors had the first chance of the second-half when Tom Elliott was sent clear by a long ball over the top, but Alfie Mawson recovered well to apply pressure and the striker could only curl it over the bar.
Then, a miscommunication in the home box allowed Harrison Dunk to fire across goal but his cross-shot evaded his team-mate and crept wide of the far post.
But momentum swung back in Wycombe’s favour and a flying header from Matt McClure came back off the woodwork just before the hour-mark, with the noise from the terrace growing as the game went on.
And they were soon celebrating the opening goal. A deep cross from the left was superbly header goalwards by Paris Cowan-Hall, and although Chris Dunn made the save, Paul Hayes was on hand to bundle home the rebound to reach his special milestone.
The goal provoked a decent reaction from Cambridge and were denied when Josh Scowen denied Ryan Bird with a perfectly timed slide tackle after good hold-up play from Tom Elliott.
At the other end, Matt McClure met a superb cross with a glancing header but sent his effort just inches past the upright.
A swerving drive from sub Liam Hurst went narrowly wide and Ryan Bird shot tamely at Ingram as they pressed for an equaliser, while Robbie Simpson hit a free-kick over the bar from 25 yards as the game approached stoppage time.
Five added minutes came and went and Adams Park was dancing to the tune of 'Rockin' All Over The World' once again as Ainsworth's new-look Wycombe go marching on.
Wycombe: Ingram, Jombati, Jacobson, Mawson, Pierre, Cowan-Hall (Bloomfield 90), Murphy, Scowen, Wood, Hayes (Holloway 81), McClure (Craig 83).
Unused subs: Richardson, Lewis, Kretzschmar, Walker.
Cambridge: Dunn, Tait, Taylor, Coulson, Nelson, Diallo (Bird 13), Donaldson (Taylor 73), Dunk, Simpson, Appiah (Hurst 62), Elliott.
Unused subs: Norris, Lanzoni, Stockley, Lennon.
Ref: Mr D Handley
Attendance: 3,610 (418 from Cambridge)
Winning 50/50 Draw Number: 113686
Prize Fund: £649.00