Wanderers made an emphatic start to their 2019/20 Sky Bet League One campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Bolton.
Second-half debut goals from Paul Smyth and Fred Onyedinma sealed all three points in a game where Gareth Ainsworth’s side dominated proceedings throughout, and would consider themselves unfortunate to have not won the game by more.
For all their uncertainty off the field, Bolton proved to be a difficult outfit to negotiate in the opening 10 minutes as Wycombe had to battle hard for every second ball.
The imposing physical presence of Adebayo Akinfenwa posed the Bolton defence several problems and the forward done excellently well to control the ball deep in opposition territory and release Alex Samuel in-behind, though his charge was halted by a brave last-ditch tackle from Yoan Zouma.
Wanderers soon began to up the intensity and carved a glorious opportunity 21 minutes in as Paul Smyth worked an inch of space on the right to deliver a sumptuous cross to Akinfenwa, however the ‘Beast’ was unable to direct his header on target.
Smyth was weaving his magic wand once again just seconds later as he danced his way into the Bolton penalty area before drilling a low effort just wide of the post.
The Chairboys were finding clear-cut chances difficult to come by as the first-half progressed but Alex Pattison, on his Wanderers debut, looked to capitalise on a missed punch from Remi Matthews, but the Bolton keeper done well to retreat and catch Pattison’s looping header.
With five minutes to go till half-time, Matt Bloomfield carried the ball excellently down the left before feeding the ball back to Joe Jacobson. The left-back delivered a sumptuous in-swinging cross to the head of Akinfenwa, but the striker could only direct his header straight into the arms of Matthews.
In a carbon copy to their previous chance, Jacobson once again whipped in an inviting delivery - this time from a free-kick - to the head of Akinfenwa and the forward was unable to generate enough power on the ball to truly test Bolton’s goalkeeper.
The deadlock was inches away from being broken just before the break when Samuel, with his back to goal, beat his man before striking a venomous effort that fizzed just wide of the post.
Ainsworth’s team started the second-half brightly and began to impose their authority in the game. Samuel, facing up against the inexperienced Joe White, won a free-kick in a dangerous position and the resulting set-piece caused a frantic goalmouth scramble before being ushered out of play the Bolton defence.
Wanderers turned up the intensity and it took a heroic block from Brockbank to deny Bloomfield from opening up his account for the season as his effort looked to be creeping into the near post.
A succession of corners ensued and Anthony Stewart rose highest in the penalty area to glance his header a fraction wide of the post.
Then finally, in the 56th minute, the deserved breakthrough for Ainsworth’s men. A blend of intelligence and pace seen Smyth sneak in behind the defender and nick the ball off Matthews, who was some 20-yards off his line, and the winger will not have had many easier finishes as he slotted the ball into an empty net.
Wanderers weren’t willing to rest on their laurels and were unfortunate not to double their advantage on the 65th minute as Jack Grimmer’s cross found Akinfenwa in the box, the forward brought the ball down on his chest and swivelled on the half-volley to unleash a ferocious shot that skimmed wide.
Onyedinma, brought on in place of the goalscorer Smyth, almost made an instant impact from the substitutes bench as he beat his man at the near post to get a boot to David Wheeler’s low cross, however his effort found the side netting.
It wasn’t long though until Onyedinma had his goal and Wanderers had doubled their advantage. With 81 minutes on the clock, Jacobson produced yet another superb delivery to find Akinfenwa in the box and he was able to loop the ball in the air for Onyedinma, who glanced his header past a stricken Matthews and ultimately put the game out of sight.
Pattison squandered a golden opportunity to make it three in the 87th minute as a neat interchange between him and Akinfenwa opened up some space on the edge of the penalty box, however his effort proved too tame to test Matthews.
A string of excellent saves from Matthews prevented Wycombe from turning the game into a bloodbath, with the 25-year-old denying Onyedinma and Pattison from extending the Chairboys’ lead.
A terrific debut from Pattison was nearly celebrated with a goal as he charged at the Bolton defence with pace before unleashing an effort, but once again his luck went missing as his shot dragged wide.
An excellent way to start the season, and a game that Ainsworth and his team will be looking to build on ahead of the trip to Bristol Rovers next Saturday.