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Report: Wycombe 1-0 Exeter

1 October 2016

Adebayo Akinfenwa was Wanderers' hero with a late winner to give them a third successive home win.

The veteran striker drilled home after superbly controlling Anthony Stewart's cross to ensure the Blues followed up their 5-1 triumph over Crewe with another three points.

Gareth Ainsworth kept faith with the same side that stuck five goals past Crewe in midweek, and his troops began brightly, testing the City defence with a series of early set pieces which were well dealt with.

Exeter came close with a corner of their own on 12 minutes, but Reuben Reid’s looping back-post header was cleared off the line by Danny Rowe before Joe Jacobson bravely completed the clearance in the nick of time.

Reid then went to ground in the box under pressure from Michael Harriman but had no sympathy from the referee, before Paul Hayes glanced a header over the bar once Anthony Stewart had nodded a corner into his path.

Stewart himself got on the end of a cross moments later but sent Sam Wood’s delivery over the top, as Exeter’s defensive line ensured there’d be far less space for the home attack to work in compared to Tuesday night, when their pacy frontline had been too hot for Crewe to handle.

Exeter forward Reid stung the palms of Jamal Blackman with a speculative low effort on 28 minutes, while City keeper Bobby Olejnik held Hayes’s looping header from Michael Harriman’s cross, with deliveries from the wing looking to be the likeliest route to goal.

Reid and Aaron Pierre was enjoying a personal duel and after the latter was harshly penalised for a foul on the former, Lee Holmes curled a free-kick a couple of feet over the bar from 30 yards.

As the Grecians began to get the upper hand before the interval, Sam Wood did superbly to keep the ball in play and tee up Paris Cowan-Hall, who drifted in from the left wing but fired over, before Danny Rowe was booked for trying to illegally halt a City breakaway moments before the half-time whistle.

With no changes at the break, the two sides returned to a drizzly rather than a sunny climate and the rain only got heavier, increasing the likelihood of mistakes on a slippery and slick playing surface.

Paris Cowan-Hall stayed on his feet to evade a late tackle and deliver a low cross as the Blues broke into the box following Lloyd James’s mistake, but his low cross was cleared for a corner with Hayes ready to pounce.

Sam Wood’s deflected cross looped agonisingly across the face of goal and away from danger moments later as momentum swung in the home side’s favour, and Gareth Ainsworth looked to capitalise by bringing Adebayo Akinfenwa into the fold, replacing Hayes in attack.

He had an immediate impact, heading just wide from Wood’s dinked cross after Dominic Gape broke well from midfield, and Gape then sidefooted Rowe’s pass excellently across the box with no Wanderers players able to make the crucial contact.

Cowan-Hall then glanced Jacobson’s free-kick wide, before Wycombe’s left-back was booked for a foul on Ollie Watkins 30 yards out.

Tuesday’s two-goal hero Scott Kashket came off the bench with 12 minutes remaining, replacing Cowan-Hall in attack, just before Jake Taylor was booked for cynically ending Gape’s surge forward.

And the goal finally came on 85 minutes, courtesy of that man Akinfenwa. Overlooked in recent games due to the form of fellow strikers, the ‘Beast’ delivered a perfect reminder of his abilities to Gareth Ainsworth, showing all of his years of class and experience to fire home.

Garry Thompson’s long throw was cleared to Anthony Stewart, who delivered a diagonal ball back into danger which was magnificently brought down on Akinfenwa’s chest, before he turned and drilled home with the aid of a deflection which wrong-footed the keeper.

Exeter made two quick substitutions in a bid to salvage something from the game, while Matt Bloomfield came on in the first of four minutes of stoppage time.

The Blues held the ball up superbly to thwart any Exeter hopes of a comeback, sealing a fourth home win in just six matches so far this season.

Wycombe: Blackman, Harriman, Jacobson, Stewart, Pierre, Harriman, Rowe, Gape, Wood (Bloomfield 90), Hayes (Akinfenwa 63), Cowan-Hall (Kashket 79).

Unused subs: Richardson, Jombati, Freeman, De Havilland.

Exeter: Olejnik, Stacey (Sweeney 73), Woodman, Moore-Taylor, Croll, James, Watkins, Taylor, Holmes (Wheeler 86), Reid, Simpson (McAlinden 89).

Unused subs: Pym, Oakley, Jay, Riley-Lowe.

Referee: Nicholas Kinseley

Attendance: 3,297 (270 from Exeter)

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