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Report: Wycombe 1-0 Mansfield

25 March 2016

Michael Harriman struck the winner as the Blues recorded a fourth consecutive home win to move into the play-off zone.

The hosts were the better side throughout and carved open numerous opportunities, although there may have been a touch of fortune about the goal that clinched the points, as Harriman's cross-shot nestled in the far corner.

Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Carlisle; one was enforced due to Marcus Bean’s suspension, while Paul Hayes returned in attack in place of Gozie Ugwu.

On a blissfully sunny afternoon at Adams Park, Blues started brightly and sent a couple of testing balls into the Stags’ box, but were dealt a blow when Sam Wood was forced off with an injury inside six minutes, with Ryan Sellers taking his place.

Aaron Pierre’s ferocious volley from Joe Jacobson’s corner cannoned into a yellow shirt as Wanderers enjoyed all the early possession, and Garry Thompson’s fired a clever effort out of nothing which landed straight in the arms of former Wycombe keeper Scott Shearer.

Then Paul Hayes attempted to write his name into the goal of the season contenders with an instinctive shot from 40 yards which fizzed wide, before Mansfield’s first sight of goal came via Chris Clements on 23 minutes when he latched onto a through-ball but could only poke against the body of the onrushing Ryan Allsop, under pressure from the covering Pierre.

Back came Wycombe with a stylish Garry Thompson overhead kick which bounced off Ryan Tafazolli and went to safety, and then Thompson’s deft header was tipped over the bar by Shearer from a cross from the right as the hosts continued to dominate.

Town had brief moments of joy in the Wycombe half and a superb sliding challenge from Anthony Stewart inside his own area denied Manny Dieseruvwe a shot at goal, soon after Matt Green had miscued a shot at the back post.

Wycombe had two penalty shouts turned down, with defenders grappling with Paul Hayes and Ryan Sellers in the area but evading the referee’s attention, as the Stags did enough to repel the hosts until the interval.

Thompson’s swerving half-volley within 30 seconds of the restart came close to breaking the deadlock, and then Anthony Stewart was inches away from connecting with Joe Jacobson’s appetising corner.

Pressure grew when Aaron Pierre slung an overhead kick back into the danger zone after a free-kick was only half-cleared, but Jason McCarthy could only steer the ball wide as he dashed to race onto it.

Pierre was in action again when he steered Sellers’ long throw wide of the far post with a left-footed effort, and then Luke O’Nien flashed a volley high and wide from 20 yards when a free-kick was cleared out to him.

But the breakthrough came midway through the second half and only Michael Harriman will know if he meant it. He was picked out on the right wing with a reverse pass and controlled it superbly before twisting inside the full-back and delivering a left-footed cross which flew in without a touch from the onrushing Paul Hayes.

The midfielder was booked for his celebrations but his seventh goal of the season had given his side an important lead, and a second goal almost followed soon after when Stephen McGinn hit a screamer from 25 yards which cannoned against the foot of the post before Joe Jacobson fired the rebound over.

Gareth Ainsworth then handed a debut to Aston Villa loanee Jerell Sellars, who took the place of Garry Thompson in attack, although a delay in proceedings due to an injury to Luke O’Nien took the tempo out of the game.

But Sellars added a spark which almost brought about a second goal when his pass to Hayes was laid off to O’Nien, whose close-range shot was blocked by Shearer and Sellars drilled the rebound over.

Then O’Nien’s shot from a tight angle was tipped behind by Shearer after good work from Hayes, who was replaced by Max Kretzschmar in the closing stages.

The Blues looked to close the game out in six minutes of stoppage time and there was a scare when O'Nien was forced to hack clear for a corner with Matt Green set to meet a flick-on.

But the hosts did enough to make it eight points from four games to move back into the play-off zones with eight games to play.

Wycombe: Allsop, McCarthy, Jacobson, Stewart, Pierre, Harriman, McGinn, O’Nien, Wood (Sellers 8), Thompson (Sellars 77), Hayes (Kretzschmar 88).

Unused subs: Siegrist, Jombati, Liburd, Ugwu.

Mansfield: Shearer, Alfei, Benning (Thomas 84), Tafazolli, Pearce, Collins, Rose (Kavanagh 77), Clements, Blair (Daniel 62), Dieseruvwe, Green.

Unused subs: Jensen, Chapman, Beardsley, McGuire.

Referee: Mr I Williamson

Attendance: 5,003 (216 from Mansfield)

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