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Match Reports

Report: Wycombe 1-2 Luton

Blues done at the death.

16 September 2017

Luton snatched a last-gasp winner to take all three points from a pulsating affair at Adams Park.

Adebayo Akinfenwa headed the hosts into the lead and Scott Brown saved Danny Hylton's penalty as the Wanderers looked to be on course for a first ever home win over the Hatters.

However, Scott Cuthbert bundled home an equaliser on 89 minutes and James Collins completed the turnaround nine minutes later to condemn Wycombe to just a second league defeat of the season.

Gareth Ainsworth made three changes to the side that had drawn 0-0 at Mansfield in midweek, with the experienced trio of Adebayo Akinfenwa, Matt Bloomfield and Adam El-Abd all returning to the starting line-up at the expense of Josh Umerah, Ebere Eze and Dan Scarr.

The hosts began brightly, displaying some inventive football in the final third whilst also retaining the threat of a more direct approach to Akinfenwa. Marcus Bean drilled over early on, before Luke O’Nien’s first-time effort from a poor clearance was well kept out by Marek Stech.

Craig Mackail-Smith had a shot blocked and Akinfenwa had his first sight of goal on 13 minutes, sending a header over the top from Joe Jacobson’s inviting cross.

Luton rarely threatened, but did have a goal ruled out for offside when James Collins guided home Alan Sheehan’s free-kick, before Akinfenwa failed to connect with Mackail-Smith’s inviting square pass in the box as action swung back to the other end.

Andrew Shinnie was then booked for dissent after Collins was punished for backing into Adam El-Abd whilst contesting a high ball, before Luton boss Nathan Jones needed a telling off from the referee for his protests at a number of decisions.

Dominic Gape was forced off after failing to recover from an earlier injury, meaning that Sam Saunders returned after a spell on the sidelines, taking his place in midfield.

A near-post cross from Collins had to be well intercepted via a combination of Anthony Stewart and Scott Brown as Danny Hylton lurked, before the breakthrough came five minutes before the interval from the trusted source of Akinfenwa.

Taunted by the Luton fans for long spells behind the goal, he had them silenced with a textbook header from Michael Harriman’s cross, guiding the ball expertly past Marek Stech before celebrating with his partner in crime Luke O’Nien on his back.

Luton were instantly prompted into a change, with the injured Alan McCormack making way for Scott Cuthbert, prompting a reshuffle too as Cuthbert came into defence and Glen Rea moved into midfield.

James Collins then joined Shinnie in the book, penalised for persistent fouling, before Wanderers came agonisingly close to double their lead in first half stoppage time. Adam El-Abd’s close-range header was blocked and fell into the path of Matt Bloomfield, but he was denied as he stretched to meet it with the ball being diverted over the bar.

There were no changes at the interval, but Wycombe applied good pressure in the early stages of the second half, with Glen Rea bravely diverting Sam Saunders’ fierce drive over the bar following a corner.

Luke Berry headed wastefully wide from a cross at the other end, before Town were awarded a penalty when Hylton fell under contact from Joe Jacobson. Hylton himself stepped up, but – not for the first time against the Chairboys – he was unable to convert, this time being denied by a one-handed save from Scott Brown.

As the game grew more tense, Nathan Jones made another change, introducing Harry Cornick for Andrew Shinnie with 63 minutes on the clock, while Akinfenwa was withdrawn from the Wycombe frontline as Nathan Tyson took his place.

He found himself well-placed in the box as Wanderers broke forward well as Mackail-Smith released Bloomfield inside the box, but Wycombe’s number 10 lifted his cross too high for the onrushing forward.

Then came another opportunity for Brown to shine, and he excelled again, tipping Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu’s dipping volley over the bar, but the Hatters were growing into the game and continued to apply pressure.

Wycombe did well to alleviate that pressure, even if it did require some brave blocks and well-timed tackles in their area, and then did well to harry the Hatters high up the pitch.

Luke O’Nien was denied from close range in a scramble from a corner before Marcus Bean did what was needed to stop Hylton in his tracks on the counter, earning a yellow.

The free-kick was cleared, and Sam Saunders then went close with a direct free-kick at the other end, curling the ball just wide of the near post.

Luton’s final change saw Elliot Lee take the place of Glen Rea, and before long the Hatters were level as the clocked towards 90. Hylton’s cross from the left was glanced on and substitute Cuthbert scored for the second year running at Adams Park, turning home from close range.

Wycombe brought on Paris Cowan-Hall at the start of seven minutes’ stoppage time, replacing Craig Mackail-Smith, and he almost won it, rifling a shot goalwards after Jacobson’s deep corner was returned into danger, but a vital block steered it behind.

However, the heartbreak came right at the death, with virtually the final touch. A deep cross to the back post was headed goalwards by James Collins and a combination of Michael Harriman and Marcus Bean tried in vain to keep the ball from crossing the line, sparking delirious and unsavoury scenes at the final whistle as Town celebrated a win they scarcely deserved.

Winning 50/50 Draw Numbers
BLUE £1: 13127 (Prize: £608.00)
ORANGE £2: 28806 (Prize: £90.00)

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