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Match Reports

Report: Coventry 3-2 Wycombe

Read the report from the Ricoh Arena.

22 December 2017

Wycombe went down 3-2 at the Ricoh Arena, as a controversial Marc McNulty penalty sealed the win for Coventry City.

Michael Doyle gave the hosts the lead with a cross-turned shot from distance, before McNulty doubled the advantage with four minutes of the first half remaining.

Dan Scarr got Wycombe back in the game in added time before Joe Jacobson completed the comeback in the second half with 49 minutes played.

But it was another spot-kick that would steal the headlines and see Wanderers suffer defeat – ending a run of five unbeaten in all competitions.

Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the starting XI with Dan Scarr coming in for the injured Adam El-Abd and Matt Bloomfield replacing Ebere Eze who dropped to the bench.

The game flew into life early-doors and Coventry almost had the lead inside the first minute when McNulty was played in and denied by Brown. The rebound then fell to Max Biamou in the box who shot off-target.

Up the other end Adebayo Akinfenwa latched on to a Joe Jacobson cross with five minutes gone. The Beast could only get a glance on it and it went wide of the far-post.

Coventry opened the scoring on 14 minutes, as Michael Doyle found the net from 40-yards. The ball was cleared to the midfielder who curled a long-range effort beyond Scott Brown to give the hosts the advantage.

That gave the Sky Blues a lift and they went close to doubling their lead as Chris Stokes hit over on the edge after a low cross was half-cleared by the Chairboys defence on 25 minutes. Shipley would then clip the crossbar from a corner soon after, before Peter Vincenti nodded wide to complete a hat-trick of opportunities within ten minutes.

They did have another with less than five minutes of the first half remaining. A diagonal ball was nodded out to McNulty by Anthony Stewart, who hurt himself in doing so. The striker then got a yard after cutting in and found the right corner.

That was to be Stewart’s last action as he limped off and was replaced by Will De Havilland. That and an injury to Vincenti who was replaced by Devon Kell-Evans meant that there was five minutes of stoppage time.

With three of the five added played, Wycombe had one back and it came courtesy of a first Wanderers goal for Dan Scarr. The defender got the ball on the edge, and found the corner on the volley to reduce the deficit.

Half-time: Coventry 2-1 Wycombe

The Chairboys came flying out of the blocks after the restart and Akinfenwa was sent tumbling in the box with the half barely a minute old. Referee Tony Harrington felt Bayo had gone down too easily however, and booked the striker for simulation.

Harrington would be pointing to the spot a few moments later though. Tyson burst through with pace and was brought down by Kelly-Evans. Jacobson was reliable as ever from the spot and brought Wanderers level after slotting into the left-corner, sending Lee Burge the wrong way.

The Ricoh Arena crowd were baying for blood when Luke O’Nien caught Tom Bayliss late on the halfway line. A yellow card was his punishment.

O’Nien would be involved in the drama again on 53 minutes as he was adjudged to have tripped McNulty and Harrington yet again pointed for a penalty. The Chairboys were furious at the award and Scarr received a booking for his protests. The delay did little to put off McNulty who lashed home the spot-kick into the roof of the net.

65 minutes gone and Wycombe had Sam Saunders to thank that they remained in the contest after he hooked Jack Grimmer’s shot off the line after he met a corner drilled into the area.

Wycombe refused to give in and brought on Cowan-Hall and Eze in place of Mackail-Smith and Tyson as they looked for a moment of magic on a surface that was anything but. As they pushed more men forward they left gaps at the back, and Brown had to be on hand to keep his team in it after McNulty wriggled in from the left and was denied a hat-trick by a smart stop from the Wanderers stopper at his near-post.

Then another moment of supposed simulation as McNulty was played in one-on-one as the Sky Blues broke. The forward nudged the ball beyond Brown and went down, which the referee viewed as a dive, and was booked for his actions.

Six minutes were raised and Wycombe threw the kitchen sink at it. The biggest chance fell to Cowan-Hall after Burge dropped one. Scarr hooked it goalwards which was headed off the line before falling to the Wanderers forward who nodded over.

Time eventually ran out for the Chairboys, and they will have the chance to quickly bounce back on Boxing Day, in a home clash against Newport.

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