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Match Reports

Report: Cheltenham 0-2 Wycombe

Akinfenwa and Cowan-Hall on target.

17 February 2018

Wanderers made it back-to-back wins with a professional 2-0 win at Cheltenham Town, recording a valuable first clean sheet of 2018 in the process.

Adebayo Akinfenwa and Paris Cowan-Hall displayed a clinical streak to put the visitors in the driving seat at half-time and there was little sign of a comeback from the Robins as Wycombe took their points tally to 22 from a possible 24 this calendar year.

Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the side that defeated Swindon in midweek, with Dan Scarr’s hamstring complaint forcing him onto the bench while Marcus Bean also made way as Nathan McGinley and Matt Bloomfield came into the starting XI.

On a bobbly pitch, Wycombe looked to the more eager to keep the ball down on the pitch as the Robins opted for balls over the top for their pacy frontline, though it was from a succession of corners that they carved out the first chance when Joe Morrell’s low shot was safely handled by Scott Brown, returning to his former club.

But opportunities dried up after that in a relatively uninspiring affair, though Luke O’Nien tested his range with a shot from 25 yards which flew over the top after a lay-off from Adebayo Akinfenwa.

Carl Winchester did the same at the other end, though his effort was on target and needed two strong palms from Brown to beat it away, before Adam El-Abd headed over the top from a deep Joe Jacobson free-kick.

O’Nien volleyed wide after Scott Flinders parried a cross into his path, with the midfielder’s shot bouncing into the turf before landing safely behind the goal, and then Matt Bloomfield launched an audacious volley at goal as the ball bounced kindly into his path near the corner of the area, only to see it fly narrowly wide.

But within a minute, the Chairboys were ahead, courtesy of the experienced combination of Craig Mackail-Smith and Akinfenwa. Mackail-Smith did excellent to keep the ball in play and then twist past his man inside the box to feed the Beast. Akinfenwa had his back to goal but was given the time he needed to turn and drill a low shot past the keeper for his 16th goal of the campaign.

The Robins were rocked and may have been content to get to half-time with just a one-goal deficit, but they were two down with almost the last kick of the half following a poor clearance from a Wycombe corner. All of a sudden the ball was at the feet of Akinfenwa, and he rolled it sideways for an unmarked Paris Cowan-Hall to take a touch and stroke it home for his fifth goal of 2018 so far.

Cheltenham boss Gary Johnson was prompted into making two changes at the break, as Brian Graham and Jerell Sellars entered the fray, and there were signs of improvement when Mo Eisa raced into the box only for his low pass to be cut out by Adam El-Abd.

Brian Graham headed wide and Kevin Dawson volleyed several yards past the post as half chances presented themselves before Nathan Tyson took the place of Cowan-Hall in attack, introducing fresh legs into the attack as Wycombe sought a third goal on the break.

Curtis Thompson followed soon after, taking the place of Matt Bloomfield, while the Robins swapped Harry Pell for Elijah Adebayo which also prompted a tactical reshuffle.

Luke O’Nien saw a shot spilled by the keeper after Akinfenwa laid it off 20 yards out, before the midfielder was tripped just outside the box, though Joe Jacobson’s free-kick curled over the stand.

Then O’Nien’s first-time snapshot bounced awkwardly for Flinders, who just about steered it to safety, but there was no further drama in three minutes of stoppage time – for a change! – as Wycombe made it seven wins from eight in 2018.

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