It was not a happy start to 2019 for Wycombe Wanderers as they were defeated 0-2 by Coventry City at Adams Park on New Year’s Day.
Conor Chaplin gave the Sky Blues the lead from the spot in the first half, before substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris sealed the points in the second half with a well-taken finish.
Gareth Ainsworth made three changes from the side that narrowly lost at Scunthorpe with Michael Harriman and Sido Jombati coming into the back four in place of Joe Jacobson, who dropped out of the squad, and Adam El-Abd who moved to the bench. Up top Nathan Tyson came back into the side in place of Scott Kashket. Dominic Gape would captain the Chairboys for the first time in his Wanderers career.
A strong start from the hosts saw them see a couple of early sights of goal. Alex Samuel saw a shot blocked on four minutes before Tyson met a deep cross from the right, but his first-time shot flew wide.
Still inside the first 10 minutes and Freeman's delivered an outstanding corner, but it somehow evaded everyone inside the six-yard box with Jombati closest to turning it home.
Jordy Hiwula used his place to get in behind Wycombe’s defence on 16 minutes, but had done so a fraction too early and the assistant referee’s flag was raised, but Ryan Allsop was not to know that who saved brilliantly with his legs.
Hiwula was involved again three minutes later as he cut it back for Chaplin, who had the ball nicked off him close to goal with City starting to find their rhythm.
A nervy moment arrived on 23 minutes as Chaplin's free-kick on the edge was blocked, Hiwula went down in the box but nothing was given, then a deep cross was expertly nodded off the line by McCarthy, and Harriman headed back to Allsop.
The Sky Blues were now in full control as Luke Thomas robbed the ball off Curtis Thompson into the path of Chaplin, the striker darted away and was brought down by Thompson who received a yellow card for his troubles.
Coventry’s pressure was forcing Wycombe into making errors, and that saw Tyson give away a penalty on 33 minutes as his legs got tangled with Dujon Sterling. Chaplin, a regular thorn in the Chairboys’ side, made no mistake from the spot and coolly slotted low into the left corner, sending Allsop the wrong way.
Wycombe looked for an immediate route back into the game as Thompson's clever pass found Harriman in the box and his shot was blocked for a corner. Blues made a meal of the resulting set-piece though and the move broke down.
A free-kick given away right on the edge of the Wanderers’ area gave Coventry a chance to double their lead before the interval. Luckily Ainsworth’s men avoided any further punishment as Chaplin’s effort hit the wall.
Half-time: Wycombe 0-1 Coventry
Three minutes into the second half and Coventry almost gave Wycombe a mountain to climb. Hiwula did brilliantly down the left, cut it back, and Chaplin's shot was going in before a heroic block from Jombati.
Excellent play by Onyedinma on 53 minutes saw him skip away from an attempted foul to clip in an inviting cross, but it was just too high for Tyson and the ball went out of play for a throw.
Wycombe were showing plenty of endeavour in attack but lacked an end product. Coventry looked to change the current flow of the game by introducing Clarke-Harris for Hiwula on the hour mark. It turned out to be a stroke of genius by manager Mark Robins as the Sky Blues bagged their second goal courtesy of the ‘super sub’ - two minutes after entering the field.
Tom Bayliss found too much space to surge through the middle and poked the ball in behind for Clarke-Harris to race onto. He kept his cool and stabbed it past Allsop, leaving Ainsworth’s men with it all to do.
As Alex Samuel left the field injured, Adebayo Akinfenwa replaced him in a change of approach for Wycombe. Scott Kashket would also come on 69 minutes for Nick Freeman.
Thomas got a second bite at the cherry after his initial shot was blocked on 71 minutes, and fired straight at Allsop with City looking capable of pushing on for a third. That being said, they looked to eliminate any chance of a Wycombe fightback by introducing experienced defensive midfielder Michael Doyle for Chaplin.
There's was a trail of destruction as Wycombe won a free-kick 25 yards out with 13 minutes go. As three players went down hurt, Onyedinma went through to challenge the keeper as the referee played advantage. Liam Kelly was unable to continue following that move and Sam McCallum took his place. The resulting free-kick was well over from Jombati.
Five minutes to play and Wycombe were denied a shout for a penalty as Onyedinma was challenged after running on to an Akinfenwa flick-on. Just a corner said the man in the middle, Lee Collins.
Akinfenwa brought out a smart save from Lee Burge in the Sky Blues goal, who flew to his right to deny the Beast’s header on 86 minutes.
As time ticked away, Mackail-Smith came on to try and force a thrilling finish. It was Kashket who was next to go close however, digging out a shot on the edge and forcing Burge into a stop.
Seven minutes were added as frustration began to creep in for the home side. Jombati picked up a yellow card for dissent as Coventry tried to hold the ball up in the corner.
0-2 was how it remain, condemning Wycombe to a fourth consecutive defeat ahead of a 10-day break without a game with Doncaster Rovers next up at Adams Park on Saturday 12th January.
Attendance: 6,183 (1,458 Coventry)
50/50 Draw result: Blue £1 - 19897 (£690.00) Orange £2 - 26111 (£122.00)