Wycombe eased to a third successive home victory with a 3-0 triumph over Rochdale, with Bryn Morris, Adebayo Akinfenwa and Fred Onyedinma all on target.
The half-time lead was a narrow one, with Bryn Morris’s long-range free-kick finding its way past keeper Brendan Moore, and the Blues overcame a good spell of Rochdale pressure to secure the points through Akinfenwa’s fine finish and Onyedinma’s header.
Gareth Ainsworth was boosted by the news ahead of kick-off that Ryan Allsop was available to play after the appeal against his weekend red card was overturned following an appeal, but Dominic Gape missed out through suspension and Craig Mackail-Smith was rested, with Bryn Morris and Alex Samuel coming into the side.
And the deadlock was broken on 10 minutes at the other end, due to a combination of Bryn Morris’s sheer power and keeper Brendan Moore’s ill judgement. The midfielder lined up a free-kick some 35 yards from goal and fizzed his effort on target, but Moore appeared to misjudge the swerve and allowed the ball to fly through his hands and into the net.
It was Morris’s first goal at Adams Park, and it gave the Blues added confidence, going to close to doubling the lead when Moore flapped at Joe Jacobson’s corner but eventually gathered the loose ball at the third attempt.
Callum Camps bent a first-time effort over the bar from 20 yards on 24 minutes, and then at the other end, Fred Onyedinma delivered a dangerous ball through the six-yard box but there were no blue shirts on hand to convert.
With Wycombe on top, and Samuel enjoying an excellent league debut, Morris sidefooted a low shot wide from just outside the area, though they had to stay alert at the other end, with Allsop making his first save on 34 when Camps curled goalwards, but the keeper held on well.
Joe Jacobson surged forward from halfway and unleashed a low shot which was clutched on to by Moore, before Samuel’s speculative lob from a tight angle was nervously held by the keeper, who then fumbled a long Ryan Allsop clearance behind for a corner.
He did better with a low shot from Morris before Rochdale made a surprise change on 41 minutes, replacing the already-booked Kgosi Ntlhe with Andrew Cannon which prompted a reshuffle with Matt Done moving to left-back.
They’d doubled up on Adebayo Akinfenwa too, with Harrison McGahey and MJ Williams deployed to mark him both in front and behind, but that did afford more space for the Wycombe striker’s team-mates to operate in the final third.
Jordan Williams fired a low shot narrowly wide on 44 minutes, but overall the Blues had held the upper hand for long periods and deserved the half-time lead given to them by Morris.
Rochdale came close four minutes after the interval when Ian Henderson skipped into space and unleashed a fine curling effort which missed the post by inches. Then they made a second change, introducing Aaron Wilbraham for MJ Williams and changing the frontline as a result.
They could have been level when Jordan Williams planted a volley wastefully over the bar after Stephen Dooley’s free-kick was only partially cleared, with Dale getting the upper hand in terms of territory.
But there was a golden chance for Wycombe to double their lead when Paris Cowan-Hall found himself unmarked to float an inviting cross towards the penalty spot, but the onrushing and unmarked Jason McCarthy could only plant his glancing header wide.
Fortunately, they didn’t have long to wait for the second goal. Moments later, with 66 minutes on the clock, Joe Jacobson delivered a free-kick from deep and Adebayo Akinfenwa did what he does best, holding off his man, chesting down and firing an unstoppable shot past Moore for his fifth goal of the season.
Rochdale immediately made their final sub, with Brad Inman replacing Jordan Williams, but it was to be in vain, with Wanderers’ third goal coming on 72 minutes. The excellent Samuel lifted a cross towards the middle of the box and Dale’s effort to meet it was almost lethargic, giving Fred Onyedinma the opportunity to head home his second goal in as many games.
With confidence flowing through the hosts, they came close to a fourth when Onyedinma’s rasping effort stung the palms of Moore, before Callum Camps fired over from distance.
Marcus Bean replaced Curtis Thompson in the home midfield, before the game ended on a lull, with Henderson lashing over with both sides knowing the points were safely in the hands of the home side.
However there was nearly a Goal of the Season winner when Bryn Morris narrowly missed the target with a speculative lob from 60 yards, and a late cameos for Nick Freeman and Scott Kashket, who came off the bench to replace Akinfenwa and Onyedinma respectively.
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