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Oxford United 1
Wycombe Wanderers 2
Saturday 1st November 2014
Football League Two
Wanderers returned to the top of 'League Two' after coming from behind to beat Oxford United 2-1 at The Kassam Stadium - the home side missing a 90th minute penalty that would have seen them take a share of the spoils. Paul Hayes and Peter Murphy got the Wycombe goals at the start of the second-half after Danny Hylton had given the home side the lead from the spot in the 37th minute. However, it was Hylton who blasted over in the final minute to delight the 1,700 contingent supporting the Wanderers.
Wycombe made one enforced change to the side that had drew at home to Dagengam & Redbridge the previous week - Paris Cowan-Hall, injured in the game with The Daggers being replaced by Matt Bloomfield.
Wycombe were the more lively team throughout and had the home followers baying for blood on 10 minutes when Alfie Mawson made a late challenge in the middle of the park on Andy Whing but survived with just a yellow card - The U's claiming Mawson had led with his elbow. Earlier Peter Murphy had headed a Paul Hayes cross into the arms of home 'keeper Ryan Clarke.
Danny Hylton had a chance for home side on 16 minutes when he beat the offside trap down the left wing - but after cutting in, his right footed shot was saved comfortably by Matt Ingram at the near post. Moments later at the other end a long clearance from Ingram down the right eventually found Hayes, whose low pull back saw Steven Craig take a touch before shooting over from around 12 yards.
The home side took the lead somewhat against the run of play in the 37th minute after Hylton was pulled back by Joe Jacobson on the right side of the Wycombe penalty area and the referee deeming it a challenge worthy of a spot kick. Hylton fired the penalty home despite Ingram going the right way.
Wanderers responded with venom at the start of the second period. An early Jacobson corner from the left saw Aaron Pierre rise to connect with his head from six yards only to see a defender deflect the ball away. New signing Hogan Ephraim was introduced for Craig on 52 minutes and within a minute he was involved in the move that led to Wanderers' equaliser. The former QPR man got away from his marker down the right wing before dinking a ball to the far side of the six yard box that Jacobson and then Josh Scowen had efforts on goal blocked. The loose ball then pinballed around on the edge of the box before falling nicely to Hayes who blasted into the top left corner of the net from 12 yards. Hayes' celebration in front of the home fans took on a gloating style before he was ushered away by the stewards.
Nine minutes later Wycombe were ahead when another deep ball in from the right wing, this time from Scowen, saw Sam Wood on the opposite wing use clever control to turn and then cross to the centre of the box where Murphy headed home - it was the third game running that these two players had combined to register a Wycombe goal.
The home side made a late play to try and take something from the game. Joe Riley blasted a 20 yard free-kick into the car-park at the open end of United's ground on 84 minutes and Wycombe fans hoped that would be the last serious action of the game. However, with the game in the final minute of normal time, the ball was floated into the right side of the Wycombe penalty area where Wood charged into the back of substitute Callum O’Dowda and conceeded another penalty. Hylton stepped up again but this time, to the delight of the 1,700 travelling fans, skyed his spot kick for another place in the car park.
Wanderers have now lost just once in ten Football League meetings away to United - the only defeat coming in a 2-1 reverse during their first ever visit to the new ground in Grenoble Road in January 2005.
Full-time - Oxford United 1 Wycombe 2
Post match reaction:
Commenting after the game, Gareth Ainsworth said, "Hayesy led the line superbly, Hogan [Ephraim] set the place alight, the centre halves were outstanding second half. When you talk character, you talk captains and you talk Paul Hayes – he was outstanding. He’s got a group of boys who will work hard with him, work hard for him and for me. Matt Bloomfield played right wing and his experience was key. Their left back is a decent player, very young and physical – I could have matched him with a young player but I thought I’d go with experience. We had to battle for that. It’s passionate. There wasn’t much in it first half – second half we were much the better side. It’s great character. We got them all ready for this one.” The Wycombe boss added: “It’s a great way to win a derby. If it was scripted, you’d go 1-0 down at half time and come back second half and win 2-1. I thought we were the better side and created the majority of the chances. Some of our moves, if we’d have scored goals at the end of it, they would have been fantastic moves."
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