Wycombe kept the pace in the promotion race with a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Cheltenham Town at Adams Park.Aaron Pierre opened the scoring in first-half scoring and although Town levelled through Durrell Berry, Alfie Mawson secured the victory with a header moments later to maintain the Blues' four-point gap above the play-offs.
Gareth Ainsworth recalled Sam Saunders to the side after his recovery from injury, starting with an attacking line-up as Marcus Bean dropped to the bench.
Wycombe started brightly and Aaron Holloway wasn’t far away from connecting with Joe Jacobson’s teasing free-kick after Jack Deaman was booked for a foul, while half-shouts for penalty appeals were waved away after Fred Onyedinma and Aaron Pierre went down under challenges in the box.
Keeper Trevor Carson was called into action on 20 minutes to make a reflex save when Fred Onyedinma turned and shot goalwards from a long throw, and the deadline was nearly broken 10 minutes later when Nico Yennaris hit a stunning effort against the underside of the crossbar and it bounced down and then to safety, with the linesman not being in a position to judge it had crossed the line.
However Wanderers were dealt a blow just before the break when Joe Jacobson was forced off the pitch after sustaining an injury in a 50/50 battle with Jordan Wynter, ending the left-back’s ever-present record this season as Sam Wood reverted to left-back with Peter Murphy coming on in midfield.
But the hosts made the breakthrough minutes later when Aaron Pierre fired through a crowd of players from the edge of the area as Sam Saunders picked him out from a corner, moments after a goalmouth scramble saw Alfie Mawson, Pierre and Onyedinma all denied inside the six-yard box.
The goal settled any nerves at the break and Ainsworth’s men began the second half brightly, coming close to a second goal when Nico Yennaris’ shot looked to be nestling in the bottom corner before Jack Deaman slid in to clear.
However, Cheltenham improved and were handed an equaliser when Paul Hayes’ attempted back-heeled clearance fell kindly for Durrell Berry to drill home from just inside the area, but parity lasted little over a minute as the Blues regained the lead through Alfie Mawson.
It was as simple as it comes for the centre-back, who rose to meet Sam Saunders’ corner with a free header to rack up his fifth goal of the season, keeping him level with his good friend and centre-back colleague Aaron Pierre.
Fred Onyedinma then headed wide as the hosts looked to put the game to bed, before the game settled into a midfield scrap with Wanderers continuing to look the more likely to find a fourth goal in the game.
Sam Saunders tested the handling of the keeper with a free-kick before Town began to apply pressure in the closing stages, but the Blues showed enough resilience – and brave blocks where required – to secure the three points and ensure their destiny remains in their own hands in the promotion race.
Wycombe: Ingram, Yennaris, Jacobson (Murphy 43), Mawson, Pierre, Saunders, Bloomfield, Wood, Hayes, Holloway (Craig 89), Onyedinma.
Unused subs: Lynch, Fletcher, Bean, Ephraim, McClure.
Cheltenham: Carson, Vaughan, Braham-Barrett, Brown, Deaman (Taylor 73), McDonald, Sparrow, Richards, Wynter (Berry 45), Manset, Burns (Haynes 27).
Unused subs: Gould, Mills, Hanks, Harrad.
Attendance: 3,907 (273 from Cheltenham)
Referee: Mr T Harrington
Winning 50/50 Draw Number: 147978
Prize Money: £710.00