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Match Reports

Report: Cheltenham 1-3 Wycombe

Vokes on target and Pendlebury hits brace as Chairboys make it two from two.

14 August 2021

Sam Vokes scored his first Wycombe goal and Olly Pendlebury stole the show with two excellent second-half strikes to continue Wanderers' perfect start to the new campaign.

Vokes headed home from Joe Jacobson's corner early on, but last year's League 2 champions Cheltenham levelled just before the break when Andy Williams nodded past David Stockdale.

However, former Reading youngster Pendlebury netted twice in five minutes with stylish finishes to secure the points for the visitors, who celebrated in front of close to 1,000 supporters enjoying their first away day with the Blues since February 2020.

Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the side that defeated Accrington in the league seven days earlier, with Jason McCarthy and Daryl Horgan feeling the effects of knocks at Exeter in midweek, so Sullay Kaikai slotted in at right wing-back while Anis Mehmeti lined up behind Sam Vokes.

Wycombe began brightly and should have scored inside two minutes; Sullay Kaikai's corner was cleared and returned into danger, being flicked on by Jack Grimmer to an onside Jordan Obita who could only plant a free header over the bar.

Cheltenham survived a risky back-header moments later, with Sam Vokes also intercepting a dangerous pass back to the keeper, but the Robins grew into the game and Liam Sercombe squandered a promising chance, delaying his shot and being forced away from goal after the ball landed kindly for him in the box.

And then came the breakthrough at the other end; a memorable one for Sam Vokes - his first in a Wycombe shirt. Joe Jacobson's first corner was sliced behind for a second by the defender, and the delivery this time was inch-perfect, inviting Vokes to rise highest and power home a header from close range on 16 minutes.

Cheltenham responded well, with Alfie May shooting tamely at David Stockdale on the turn, but the second goal could've gone the way of the Wanderers before the break when Anis Mehmeti danced his way into a superb position, only to see his low effort well saved by Owen Evans.

But instead it was the Robins who found the net just before the 45th minute, when Callum Wright's inviting cross was met by the onrushing Andy Williams, whose bullet header gave Stockdale no chance.

May then wriggled into another goalscoring opportunity in stoppage time but saw his effort beaten away at the near post by Stockdale, before the teams descended into the tunnel to reassess their gameplans for the second period.

A careless start to the second half saw too many mistakes from both sides, and Alfie May will have rued his missed chance when he stayed onside to latch on to a long ball forward, only to have his shot blocked by Stockdale when one-on-one with the keeper.

May was denied again by Stockdale on 57 minutes before being withdrawn as Kyle Vassell came on for his home debut, but Wycombe were beginning to stretch the home side with Vokes winning most aerial duels and the visitors attempting to bring Sullay Kaikai into the game more and more from the right wing.

Garath McCleary headed goalwards from a cross from Jordan Obita, who grew more and more into the match as a real attacking outlet down the left, but the keeper was equal to it.

Then Anis Mehmeti dragged a shot narrowly wide of the keeper's right-hand post after good work to drive forward, but the pressure was to pay off as a new star was born.

Olly Pendlebury was playing just his second EFL game and scored twice inside three minutes to put Wanderers 3-1 ahead, either side of the arrival of Adebayo Akinfenwa and Nick Freeman from the bench as Garath McCleary and Sam Vokes made way.

His first was a beautiful curling effort from Sullay Kaikai's cutback after good play from Mehmeti, and his second was a low arrowed effort into the corner after Mehmeti's cross was headed out to him 20 yards out, each sparking jubilant scenes behind the goal.

The quickfire double stunned the hosts, and lengthy treatment given to David Stockdale may have taken the sting out of any immediate response they were hoping for.

Curtis Thompson replaced the excellent Mehmeti in nine minutes of stoppage time, but there were to be no further chances of note as Wanderers celebrated their six-point haul from two games ahead of Tuesday's trip to Wigan.

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