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Match Reports

Report: Charlton 0-1 Wycombe

Sam Vokes wins it at The Valley.

1 January 2022

Sam Vokes' first-half strike helped Wanderers secure a memorable away day victory at Charlton to return to winning ways after the loss at Ipswich.

The striker turned home Garath McCleary's excellent assist before the break, and then the focus shifted to the visitors' imperious rearguard to keep the Addicks at bay in the second period.

Gareth Ainsworth remained at home for the second game in succession as he completed his seven-day isolation period after testing positive for Covid-19 over Christmas, while he and assistant boss Richard Dobson made three changes to the starting line-up that lost at Ipswich, with Jack Grimmer, Josh Scowen and Anis Mehmeti replacing Anthony Stewart, Curtis Thompson and David Wheeler.

The Addicks hadn't played for two weeks due to Covid-related postponements, and the visitors looked to catch them cold in a fast and direct start, symbolised by Garath McCleary's attempt to drive through the defence straight from kick-off.

It took 13 minutes for the first sight of goal to arrive for either side, and it was a textbook headed flick-on by Sam Vokes that created an opening for Brandon Hanlan, who held off his marker excellently but couldn't divert the ball around the onrushing keeper Craig MacGillivray, who gathered the ball well.

Chris Forino defended superbly at the other end to prevent George Dobson's low cross from reaching Conor Washington, and Jordan Obita had a shot blocked when the home side allowed David Stockdale's clearance to bounce and enable the wing-back to race onto it on the corner of the area.

Sean Clare was booked for a foul on Josh Scowen before the game entered a lull, with Anis Mehmeti following him into the referee's notebook just past the half-hour mark.

The game needed a moment of magic to bring it to life, and it was Garath McCleary to deliver that spark, displaying mesmerising footwork down the right to wriggle into the box and pull the ball back for Sam Vokes to smash home from close range.

Charlton responded with a decent chance to level at the other end, working the ball smartly around the edge of the box to enable Elliot Lee to curl an effort towards the far corner, but David Stockdale flung himself to his left to tip the ball away.

That was the final chance of the half, with Wycombe holding a slender lead to go into the break.

Brandon Hanlan almost stretched the Blues' advantage 40 seconds into the second period, but could only curl into the keeper's arms after outmuscling his marker down the left.

The visitors kept up the energy and Hanlan impressed again, beating his man down the right before seeing a low cross blocked, and then Garath McCleary's low shot from 20 yards took a deflection and flew out for a corner.

Then Charlton responded and it took some last-ditch defending from Anis Mehmeti and Joe Jacobson in quick succession to keep out two chances.

Those attacks lifted the home crowd, who began to believe their side could turn the game around, so it needed Wycombe to dig deep to retain their lead and potentially even build on it.

Alex Gilbey and Jonathan Leko almost combined for an equaliser, but Gilbey's low cross from the byline seemed to strike his team-mate and bounce back off the woodwork, and the increased pressure prompted a change from the Wycombe bench as David Wheeler took Anis Mehmeti's place in midfield.

Diallang Jaiyesimi's dangerous cross almost bounced straight in at the far post after he twisted and turned smartly down the right, and Jonathan Leko's low shot was comfortably held by Stockdale as the attacks continued.

David Wheeler was booked for a foul midway through the half, and more brave blocks from the Wycombe defence kept Elliot Lee at bay after impressive work from Leko.

The pressure was alleviated, briefly at least, by a decent spell from the visitors, which ended with Vokes heading wide under pressure from Jason McCarthy's cross. Then, Jordan Obita's snapshot on the turn was on target, but held by the keeper.

McCleary was next to trouble MacGillivray, stinging the keeper's palms with a powerful effort when picked out in space with 10 minutes remaining.

Charlton threatened through Conor Washington, who drilled wide of the near post on 83 minutes, and then they brought on Mason Burstow for Diallang Jaiyesimi.

Ryan Inniss followed soon after, replacing George Dobson but going up front with a giant 1.97m frame, and that meant Anthony Stewart was brought off the Wycombe bench in stoppage time to help deal with the threat.

Stoppage time seemed to last an eternity, and Joe Jacobson's acrobatics helped steer Ryan Inniss's header away from danger at the death, but the Blues held on to kick off 2022 in style.

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