Sam Wood's goal after 39 seconds secured a vital 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town at Adams Park.The midfielder headed home Nico Yennaris' cross to give his side the perfect side and Wanderers produced a superb performance for the remaining 89 minutes to secure a valuable victory.
Just like the previous week against Southend, Gareth Ainsworth was forced into a late change when Hogan Ephraim – who due to start – pulled out through illness so Sam Saunders came into the midfield while Nico Yennaris moved to right-back to cover for Sido Jombati, who injured his foot in training on Friday.
These types of games often have slow and cagey openings – but not this one. Within 39 seconds the Wanderers were ahead, thanks to an inch-perfect cross from Nico Yennaris and an absolute bullet of a header from Sam Wood which gave Jayson Leutwiler no chance.
Wycombe kept up their fast tempo and Wood saw another effort saved by the keeper before Town’s number 1 had to be at his best to tip Fred Onyedinma’s powerful drive over the bar on eight minutes.
The hosts remained in the ascendancy and Town – one of the division’s top scorers – struggled to create anything of note as they came up against a wall of noise from the terrace and a well-drilled Wycombe unit.
Paul Hayes had a near-post header saved by Leutwiler before the game settled down and evolved into a midfield battle, particularly with a lot of head tennis being played between the two sides.
There were no changes at the break and Sam Wood almost repeated his first-half trick with a goal in the opening exchanges, but his effort was blocked by the onrushing Leutwiler after a smart move.
Shrewsbury then began to get a grip of the game and enjoyed more of the attacking pressure, but Sam Saunders denied Bobby Grant with a superb sliding tackle before Ingram hung on to James Collins’ dangerous cross at the near post.
Town boss Micky Mellon opted to build on his side’s growing momentum and made a triple change, switching to a 4-3-3 set-up with Scott Vernon and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro joining James Collins in attack, while Liam Lawrence came on in midfield.
The switch contributed to Town’s growing impetus and Ingram was called upon to make a smart save from Collins at the near post, before Wycombe began to alleviate the pressure and forced good saves at the other end through Wood and Hayes.
Then Hayes dragged his shot wide when Saunders picked him out in the box, before Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro cut in and shot straight at Ingram with eight minutes remaining.
Aaron Holloway came oh-so-close to sealing the points with an audacious effort from 25 yards but his shot with the outside of his boot bounced down off the crossbar before Town scrambled the rebound clear.
Then Scott Vernon’s shot deflected over the bar following a corner at the other end, and the same player fired high into row Z in stoppage time under pressure.
Blues held firm to record an eighth home win of the season to consolidate their place in the top three – and they could even go top on Tuesday, with Burton playing on Wednesday.
Wycombe: Ingram, Yennaris, Jacobson, Mawson, Pierre, Saunders, Bloomfield, Bean, Wood, Onyedinma (Holloway 71), Hayes.
Unused subs: Richardson, Fletcher, Rowe, Murphy, Craig.
Shrewsbury: Leutwiler, Goldson, Grandison, Ellis (Vernon 58), Gayle, Demetriou, Woods, Clark (Lawrence 58), Grant, Collins, Barnett (Akpa Akpro 58).
Unused subs: Halstead, Southern, Mandron, Sharpe.
Referee: Mr G Scott
Attendance: 4,697 (719 from Shrewsbury)
Winning 50/50 Draw Number: 141455
Prize Money: £800.00