Report: Barnet 0-2 WycombeWycombe racked up their fourth consecutive away win to keep their play-off hopes alive with a 2-0 victory at Barnet.
Sam Saunders fired the visitors in front with an incredible long-range effort before Joe Jacobson wrapped up the points from the spot with a well-taken penalty late on after Garry Thompson was fouled in the box.
Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the starting line-up with Sam Saunders and Paul Hayes taking the places of Matt Bloomfield and Garry Thompson following the Good Friday defeat to Mansfield.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s early shot from distance deflected wide for a corner which was well defended, before Sam Saunders did well to jink past his man and see his shot blocked.
Then Wanderers came close to breaking the deadlock when Adebayo Akinfenwa’s flick-on flashed across the face of goal into the path of Luke O’Nien, but the intervention of Charlie Clough came just at the right time for Barnet to survive as he skewed the ball out for a corner, which was headed over the bar by Akinfenwa.
Scott Kashket drilled a chance into the arms of Jamie Stephens before the visitors survived a counter-attack thanks to a block from Aaron Pierre before Harry Taylor curled the loose ball over the bar.
But when the breakthrough did arrive on 21 minutes, it came in spectacular style. Sam Saunders won a 50/50 challenge inside the centre circle and then let fly with a stunning effort which sailed over the head of the keeper and into the net from fully 50 yards, for his first goal since rejoining the Chairboys in January.
His goal was almost cancelled out within 60 seconds, and he and his team-mates were indebted to Jamal Blackman for two superb saves from close range after Mauro Vilhete had cut the ball back to the six-yard box, with Fumnaya Shomotun being denied.
Joe Jacobson hit a swerving effort over the top from distance before being booked for catching Harry Taylor late, and he was then called upon to make a brave clearing header at the back post as John Akinde looked poised to nod home a deflected shot.
In the final moment before the half-time whistle, Paul Hayes teed up Luke O’Nien for a chance from a tight angle but his powerful strike deflected to safety, meaning the lead at the break remained a slender one-goal difference.
Barnet began the second period well, and Mauro Vilhete fired straight at Blackman after the referee played advantage following a foul.
Then action swung to the other end and Aaron Pierre found himself in an unfamiliar position, skinning his man down the left wing before delivering a low ball into the path of Scott Kashket, who had it nicked off his toes as he pulled the trigger.
Wycombe kept up the pressure and only some smart defending from John Akinde prevented Akinfenwa with a free header at the back post from a free-kick, with Wanderers’ striker only managing to find the side netting.
Back came the Bees, who applied strong pressure only to be repelled by a resilient visiting defence, led superbly by the colossal Aaron Pierre whose block from Elliot Johnson prevented an equaliser as the ball fizzed around the area.
Both sides made changes as Ruben Bover and Nick Freeman came on for Funmaya Shomotun and Scott Kashket respectively, and the Bees threatened next, with Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s wicked cross just missing the head of the diving Vilhete 10 yards out.
Then the hosts came closer when Jamal Blackman spilled a cross to Curtis Weston and then rushed to close down the attacker, whose shot clipped off the keeper and hit the top of the bar. From the resulting corner, Charlie Clough headed over, and encouraged Gareth Ainsworth into making a double change to stem the flow. Garry Thompson came on for his 700th career appearance in place of Paul Hayes, while Matt Bloomfield replaced Luke O’Nien in midfield with 16 minutes left on the clock.
Barnet remained on the front foot and it was another magnificent save from Blackman which denied them an equaliser when he flung himself to his left to tip Ruben Bover’s shot onto the inside of the post and it bounced to safety, with Pierre clearing it away.
Then came chances for the Wanderers, firstly when Nick Freeman’s low ball was taken off the toe of Bloomfield in the box, and then Bloomfield drilled over from a tight angle and Akinfenwa nodded a cross into the arms of the keeper.
And they were given the chance to wrap up the win when Curtis Weston tugged back Garry Thompson in the area after the 36-year-old sprinted away from him. Joe Jacobson stepped up, made no mistake, and the victory was safe.