Blues were edged out of the EFL Cup despite a commanding performance in a 1-0 loss to Bristol City on Tuesday night.On-loan Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham scored the game's only goal in the first half with a rare chance for the Championship side, but the hosts deserved something from the game, going close through Michael Harriman and Dayle Southwell, while Adebayo Akinfenwa had a goal disallowed.
Injuries forced Gareth Ainsworth to ring the changes, handing professional debuts to Sheffield Wednesday loanee keeper Cameron Dawson and Will De Havilland, while Sido Jombati, Matt Bloomfield, Stephen McGinn and Dayle Southwell also came into the starting line-up.
Southwell fired wide early on after a cross into the box was flicked on to him in space, before Dawson was tested for the first time by a long-range effort from Bobby Reid, but the keeper was well positioned to get his body behind the ball.
Then Will De Havilland produced a fine sliding challenge to prevent Tammy Abraham from getting a clear run on goal, before Michael Harriman’s lofted cross saw Akinfenwa rise above his man only to meet the ball, but the striker couldn’t hit the target under pressure.
Marlon Pack drilled a shot wide from 30 yards but the breakthrough came on 27 minutes with the visitors’ first real chance of the game, and it was a classy piece of play from the goalscorer which created the chance. Scott Golbourne’s cross was drilled low and hard but the on-loan Chelsea man controlled it smartly, dug it out of his feet quickly and caressed a shot into the bottom corner through the legs of the defender, giving Dawson no chance.
The goal didn’t knock Wanderers’ confidence and they continued to un-nerve the visiting defence on occasion with their high pressing game, and Michael Harriman missed a glorious chance when a sustained threat in the City box resulted in Sam Wood dinking a cross to the back post, only for Harriman to mis-time his jump and send a header over the bar, just after Southwell had had a shot blocked.
Harriman was then involved at the other end, heading off the line from Aden Flint’s chance from a corner, before Wilbraham spurned a chance to double the lead, curling over the bar from 12 yards. Sido Jombati brushed a header wide from Joe Jacobson’s corner in the final act of the half, in which the Blues had mostly matched their opponents but went in a goal behind.
Kick-off in the second period was delayed due to an injured bird sitting motionless inside one six-yard box, but once the situation was rescued by a member of City’s coaching staff, who carried the bird to safety, Wanderers were quickly denied by three fine saves from Richard O’Donnell.
Matt Bloomfield got away down the right hand side of the box and drilled in a cross for Southwell to turn goalwards, only for the keeper to somehow deflect it away. The chance stayed alive and Bloomfield’s effort was parried behind before Anthony Stewart’s piledriver from the resulting corner was tipped away at the near post.
Wycombe were well on top, aided by Akinfenwa’s superb hold-up play and Southwell’s intelligent running, while Bloomfield and Stephen McGinn enjoyed plenty of possession in the middle with Wood and Harriman contributing plenty on either side.
Their momentum was held up by an injury to referee Lee Collins, as assistant Marvyn Amphlett took his place, before City made a triple change, introducing Mark Little, Joe Bryan and Paul Garita in place of Adam Matthews, Tammy Abraham and Aaron Wilbraham, while the Blues swapped Dayle Southwell with Garry Thompson.
Will De Havilland came off moments later for Aaron Pierre, having impressed on his senior debut in the centre of defence, before City centre-half Flint almost doubled his side’s lead but powered his header straight at Dawson.
Wycombe were denied an equaliser by the offside flag when Akinfenwa buried the rebound after Thompson’s low drive was parried by O’Donnell, and the striker then curled over the top when Wood’s cross was headed across the box into his path.
The pressure intensified. Wood drilled a cross-shot across the face of goal with Thompson inches away from connecting as he slid in, with City struggling to impose themselves in any way going forward.
Three minutes of injury time gave them hope of taking the game into extra-time, but the outstretched boot of O'Donnell kept out Akinfenwa's low shot and Thompson couldn't connect properly with Sam Wood's cross.
So the EFL Cup adventure ends at the first hurdle for Gareth Ainsworth's men but they will take plenty of heart from the fact that their patched-up side out-played a team from two divisions higher, and will now look to get up and running for the season with a win against Grimsby in the league on Saturday.
Wycombe: Dawson, Jombati, Jacobson, Stewart, De Havilland (Pierre 68), Harriman, McGinn, Bloomfield, Wood, Akinfenwa, Southwell (Thompson 65).
Unused subs: Richardson, Pierre, Bean, Rowe, Ainsworth.
City: O’Donnell, Matthews (Little 65), Golbourne, Flint, Williams, Freeman, Pack, Reid, Tomlin, Abraham (Bryan 65), Wilbraham (Garita 65).
Unused subs: O’Leary, Kodjia, Magnusson, De Girolamo.
Referee: Lee Collins (Marvyn Amphlett, 57)
Attendance: 1,842 (466 from Bristol City)
Winning Blue £1 50/50 Number: 0615
Prize Money: £265.00
Winning Orange £2 50/50 Number: 2766
Prize Money: £22.00