Report: Grimsby 1-2 Wycombe
Wycombe returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory after falling behind at Grimsby Town.
Calum Dyson’s first-half penalty prompted a double substitution at the break and it worked wonders for the Chairboys with Danny Collins’ own goal and Paris Cowan-Hall’s wonder-strike turning the game on its head.
Gareth Ainsworth thrust Dayle Southwell straight into the starting line-up to face his former club after the striker returned from his loan spell at Lincoln City, in the only change to the side that drew 2-2 at Accrington.
The Mariners began brightly and winger Tom Bolarinwa displayed several glimpses of his talents early on, getting behind the Chairboys’ defence to deliver opportunities which were well dealt with.
Half-chances presented themselves at the other end to Garry Thompson and Max Muller, who missed the target, while Matt Bloomfield’s powerful drive from 25 yards was well held by home keeper James McKeown.
Action swung back to the other end and Jamal Blackman made a five point-blank range to deny Calum Dyson, but the striker was able to break the deadlock moments later when Sam Wood tripped the lively Bolarinwa in the area and Dyson slotted home the penalty.
But after that, Grimsby began to sit a little deeper and that invited pressure which Wycombe looked to capitalise on, sending a succession of testing crosses into the opposition penalty area, although to their credit, centre-backs Danny Collins and Shaun Pearson did well stand firm.
Joe Jacobson almost scored direct from a corner, Zac Mills blocked Southwell’s goalbound effort from close range and Muller looped a header over as the half wore to a close, while Town’s only chance of note was when Danny Andrew’s low free-kick threatened to sneak inside the near post before Blackman reacted well to tip it away.
Gareth Ainsworth reacted to the half-time deficit by making two substitutions and a formation change, to dramatic effect. Luke O’Nien and Paris Cowan-Hall came into a new 4-3-3 set-up at the expense of Sam Wood and Garry Thompson, with Southwell impressing in a left-wing position early on, sending a bicycle kick wide and delivering a cross which just evaded the stretching Akinfenwa.
Sam Jones missed a good chance to double the lead, capitalising on a mistake by the Wycombe centre-halves but slipping as he pulled the trigger, sending the ball spiralling into the stand.
The equaliser came shortly after the hour-mark, and it was an own goal that brought the Chairboys level, with Adebayo Akinfenwa flicking on a cross and Danny Collins looping the ball over his keeper and into the net.
Keeper McKeown was called upon to hold a smart shot by Paris Cowan-Hall as Wycombe cranked up the pressure, and the same two names were involved in the match-winning moment on 71 minutes.
Joe Jacobson’s free-kick was punched clear by the keeper, who also made contact with defender Gavin Gunning in the process. Gunning fell to the floor in a heap, while Cowan-Hall ran away from goal to collect the ball and then send a stunning swerving shot into the top corner. Town’s players appealed in vain to the referee, who had made the decision not to halt play, before Gunning was stretchered off with a head injury.
With the game now having developed an edge, and with the Mariners feeling wronged by the decision, the pressure intensified and Wanderers needed to stand firm to hold on for the win.
Cowan-Hall fired wide of the near post after a slick passing move but then Grimsby came on strong, with Dominic Vose’s shot being held by Blackman and then the same player drilling a low cross into the six-yard box which was turned goalwards but blocked on the line.
Blackman made another fine reflex save in stoppage time to preserve those precious three points, as Wycombe celebrated a return to winning ways having come from behind in style.