An injury struck ten-man Chairboys sunk the Grecians in a penalty shootout to progress in the Carabao Cup.
The Chairboys travelled 360 miles to take on Exeter City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night. After bagging a well-deserved 3 points in league action against Accrington Stanley, Gareth Ainsworth named a much-changed starting XI, with youngsters Sullay Kaikai, Anis Mehmeti and Andre Burley all making the grade.
Wycombe looked the brighter side in the first five minutes, with time and space to play the ball around the new look starting XI. Sullay Kaikai was looking troublesome for the Exeter defence, winning a corner which was whipped across the face of goal without a connection, and then linking up with Mehmeti to get a shot away - unfortunately straight at Cameron Dawson between the home side’s sticks.
Kaikai, Alex Samuel and Joe Jacobson were involved in a dangerous looking attack, as the ball was pushed across the box for Jacobson to deliver back post, but again, like the corner, there was no one on hand to hit home.
Jacobson went even closer with a solo effort from the corner moments later, as his delivery crashed off the outside of Exeter’s post and away for a goal kick.
Exeter’s first real chance came in the 35th minute as link up play from the Grecians saw Jevani Brown drive into the box and get a shot off - all the Grecian number 20 could do was hit the side netting - a let off for the Chairboys.
The end of the first half was stop-start due to injuries. First, Samuel came to blows while challenging the goalkeeper and was down for a prolonged period of time before he was allowed to continue. Then, in the dying minutes of the half, the Chairboys skipper Matt Bloomfield was hit in the head by a Chairboys free-kick at close range and was unable to continue.
Half-time: Exeter City 0-0 Wycombe
The second half kicked off with the addition of Daryl Horgan and Jason McCarthy, as Curtis Thompson and Jordan Obita made way.
Sam Vokes also entered the fray after an injury to Jacobson, providing a new option up the top of the field.
McCarthy created opportunities down the right-hand side, skipping past Exeter’s defence on numerous occasions and delivering cross after cross into the box, but to no avail. His energy wasn’t to last long though, as a tweak left him unable to continue only seven minutes into the second half. With all substitutions already made, the Chairboys were forced to continue with just ten men.
Exeter pushed high, trying to make the most of the extra-player advantage, with the Blues back line having to work exceptionally hard to prevent any half chances from being converted into real ones.
Despite the pressure at the back, Kaikai and Vokes were still able to create opportunities up the other end of the pitch. The most notable coming in the 77th minute, as Wycombe’s new number nine headed back across goal - it flew just wide, with sighs of anguish coming from the away fans just behind the goal.
Stockdale kept things level right to the very end, as the Wycombe number 13 denied Exeter not once, but twice, before the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.
Stockdale would have to be on top form again as the 90+4 ticked by and penalties were announced.
Full time: Exeter City 0-0 Wycombe
Sam Vokes was denied from the spot first, with Stockdale straight back in there with a save. Horgan converted with a powerful shot off the post and in, before Sweeney scored for the hosts. Samuel was denied from the spot before the Grecians converted again. Then young Chairboy Mehmeti stepped up cooly to score, as did Exeter. David Stockdale turned goalscorer as he rocketed the next ball into the top corner, before stepping back onto his line and making a heroic save.
Penalties: Exeter City 3-4 Wycombe