Report: Wycombe 1-0 HartlepoolFred Onyedinma's first career goal sent the Blues back to the top of Sky Bet League 2.
The Millwall loanee crashed the home the game's only goal before the interval and the Blues missed numerous second half chances to extend their lead, settling for a second clean sheet in a row and an unbeaten run in the league stretching to seven games.
The news of Alfie Mawson’s extended loan deal before kick-off meant an unchanged back five for the Wanderers, with Sam Wood and Peter Murphy returning in midfield and captain Paul Hayes leading the side from the front.
All three of Hartlepool’s new loan signings jumped into their starting XI, giving them a completely different look to the side that had lost 3-1 to the Blues in November before new boss Ronnie Moore arrived at the helm.
Aaron Holloway had Wanderers’ first chance of the game – after Matt Ingram had comfortably held Rakish Bingham’s long-range effort, but Pools keeper Scott Flinders got down smartly to save the striker’s crisp first-time shot after Peter Murphy’s knockdown.
Aaron Pierre then had a sight of goal when he evaded his marker to meet Joe Jacobson’s deep free-kick, sending his header over the bar, before Holloway lost his footing at a crucial time when meeting a bouncing ball and bearing down on goal.
After a quiet spell in the game, the crowd burst to life when Fred Onyedinma marked his first start at Adams Park with a fiercely hit shot to open the scoring on 38 minutes, bursting into the box to take advantage of slack marking before hammering a powerful effort past Flinders.
Jonathan Franks headed over and Aaron Tshibola curled wide as Pools looked for a response before the break, before Peter Murphy had a goal disallowed with the very last action of the half with the linesman adjudging him to be offside before nodding home Jacobson’s free-kick.
Pools started the second half reasonably well but the first two chances of note fell to the home side, firstly when Holloway nodded straight at Flinders before Scowen fired wide at the end of a smart move down the left.
Then Sam Wood dragged his shot wide after being released by a superb through-ball from Paul Hayes as Wycombe really get themselves on top, just needing a second goal to feel more comfortable with their lead.
The chances kept coming as Aaron Pierre powered a header over the bar and Sam Wood’s drilled low free-kick was deflected just inches wide with the keeper beaten.
As the game wore old, there was a horrible sense that Hartlepool were going to snatch the unlikeliest of points as opportunities to extend the lead went begging. One lapse of concentration all the back resulted in a dangerous spell of Pools pressure which ultimately broke down, before at the other end, Scott Harrison was in the right place to stop Murphy planting a boot on the end of Wood’s low cutback.
With such a delicate lead, the final few moments were guaranteed to cause a flutter in the hearts of the home fans and they watched on nervously as Rakish Bingham’s header bounced off the outside of the post with three minutes remaining.
Then, Pools sub Lewis Hawkins was shown a second yellow card for a nasty foul on Josh Scowen, prompting referee Mr Deadman to send him down the tunnel, and that was the end of Pools’ hopes as they were unable to force a comeback.
Wycombe now sit top of the league having recorded more victories than they managed in the entire 2013/14 campaign.
Wycombe: Ingram, Jombati, Jacobson, Mawson, Pierre, Murphy, Scowen, Wood, Onyedinma, Holloway (Craig 90), Hayes.
Unused subs: Richardson, Rowe, Fletcher, Lewis, Bloomfield.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Jones, Bates, Harrison, Featherstone (Fenwick 83), Duckworth, Tshibola, Compton, Franks (Hawkins 73), Bingham.
Unused subs: Maxted, Holden, Walker, Richards, Green.
Ref: Mr D Deadman
Attendance: 3,607 (136 from Hartlepool)
Winning 50/50 Draw Number: 128821
Prize Money: £627.50