Wanderers recorded their third win in a week with a comfortable yet impressive 3-1 triumph over Barnet at Adams Park.
The Bees began brightly but once Adebayo Akinfenwa headed the hosts in front, there was no way back and Josh Umerah and Nick Freeman extended the lead before Mauro Vilhete netted a consolation for the visitors.
Gareth Ainsworth made one change to the side that started in the dramatic 3-2 win over Crewe in midweek, with Anthony Stewart taking the place of Dan Scarr in defence.
With grey skies looming overhead, Wanderers looked to produce a bright start to the game in front of a crowd bolstered by the addition of hundreds of juniors taking advantage of a special ‘Quid-A-Kid’ opportunity.
An early Michael Harriman cross sailed just over the head of Adebayo Akinfenwa before Mauro Vilhete tested the handling of Scott Brown with a low shot from distance, but the keeper was equal to it.
Then Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro saw the ball find kindly for him as he contested an aerial battle with Joe Jacobson, but the striker’s shot from a tight angle was well blocked by Brown before Jacobson hooked it clear.
But the game entered a quiet spell before Wanderers were indebted to Jacobson and Brown for their interventions in quick succession, as Shaquile Coulthirst twice drilled goalwards. The first was turned away from inside the six-yard box by the left-back while the second was aimed towards the near post, though Brown tipped it behind.
Brown was at it again as the Bees got on top, after David Tutonda charged towards the area unchallenged, and the ball broke loose for Andre Blackman whose low shot was denied by the left boot of Brown.
However, Wanderers were in front moments later, against the run of play. Ebere Eze benefitted from his first opportunity to drive forward with the ball and he teed up Nathan Tyson, whose lofted cross was bread and butter for Adebayo Akinfenwa to head towards the bottom corner of Craig Ross’ near post.
The Bees responded well with a dangerous cross from the left begging for a finish, but the ball ran safe before Craig Mackail-Smith held up a long ball beautifully only for his shot to deflect to safety after he paused looking for options.
Nathan Tyson headed wide from a Jacobson corner, but Barnet should have been level when Andre Blackman’s cross arrived on the forehead of Akpa Akpro, who missed the target.
Akinfenwa had a chance to double his tally for the game but couldn’t find the right side of the post with a cushioned header from Jacobson’s free-kick.
Sam Saunders went closer moments later, seizing on Michael Nelson’s mistake to charge towards the area but his low shot was deflected narrowly wide of the far post for a corner.
Barnet introduced Simeon Akinola for Shaquile Coulthirst at the break but Wanderers were the ones on the attack at the beginning of the second period, seeing a chance for Craig Mackail-Smith just evade the striker as the ball wouldn’t sit kindly eight yards out, while Anthony Stewart’s curling effort from distance needed to be palmed behind.
Then Barnet survived two handball shouts as the pressure intensified, prompting boss Rossi Eames into a second change with Jack Taylor replacing Wesley Fonguck.
Gareth Ainsworth responded with Josh Umerah taking the place of Craig Mackail-Smith in the frontline, and the match became a little stretched with the hosts going close to a second goal in a spell of pinball which followed Joe Jacobson’s corner.
But the lead was doubled on 65 minutes, and it was a special occasion for Charlton loanee Umerah. Brown’s long punt forward arrived perfectly on the chest of Akinfenwa, and as he turned towards goal to let fly, the ball bounced into the path of Umerah who found the net on the spin, celebrating his first ever EFL goal.
With confidence oozing through the Blues, Akinfenwa sent a fizzing low shot just wide of Ross’ right-hand post, though they need to keep things tight at the other end and Simeon Akinola should have done better with a misplaced header from a left-wing cross, before Tutonda drilled over from the corner of the box.
Nick Freeman replaced Nathan Tyson in attack on 74 minutes, and it wasn’t long until he added his name to the scoresheet in emphatic style. Wycombe had Barnet trapped inside their own area and Freeman made easy work of holding off Ricardo Santos before almost taking the net off with a blistering strike which cannoned off the crossbar on its way.
At that point a 4-0 or 5-0 looked on the cards but the hosts were to be denied a clean sheet when Simeon Akinola’s shot looped favourably into the path of Mauro Vilhere, whose first-time effort gave Brown no chance from inside the six-yard box.
Their final throw of the dice saw Ephron Mason-Clarke replace Jamal Campbell-Ryce, while Wycombe swapped Dominic Gape for Ebere Eze in the middle.
But there was to be no further drama in the four minutes of added time as Wycombe celebrated a win which takes them to 21 points from 11 games played.
Man of the Match (chosen by ex-player Matt Crossley): Marcus Bean
Attendance: 4,056 (258 from Barnet)
Winning 50/50 Draw Numbers
Blue £1 – 15798 (Prize: £633.50)
Orange £2 – 29551 (Prize: £87.00)