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Hartlepool United 1
Wycombe Wanderers 3
Saturday 29th November 2014
Football League Two
Wanderers took a one point lead at the top of 'League Two' after continuing their hugely impressive away form in 2014/15 with a 3-1 victory at bottom of the table Hartlepool United. Paris Cowan-Hall opened the scoring on 33 minutes before the hosts missed a chance to equalise five minutes later when Neil Austin blasted a penalty over. Two goals in three second half minutes from Matt Bloomfield and Alfie Mawson sealed the points for Wycombe before former Premier League player Marlon Harewood score a late consolation for Pools - it was the first time this season that Wycombe had conceeded a goal after the 75th minute. Wycombe's seventh away win of the season is more than they achieved in the whole of the 2013/14 campaign and is currently the best away record amongst all Premier and Football League clubs.
Team news for Wanderers saw one change from the side that had won comfortably at Cheltenham seven days previous - Alfie Mawson, returning to the side after his concussion scare against Burton, replacing Danny Rowe. On a the bench for Wycombe was new loan signing from Millwall, Fred Onyedinma. Sam Wood and Hogan Ephraim remained sidelined through reported injuries.
Wycombe also went into the game with three players on four yellow cards - Paris Cowan-Hall, Joe Jacobson and Sido Jombati all one booking away from an automatic one match suspension. Amnesty for reaching four yellows was the day after the meeting with Hartlepool.
The hosts had a bright start forcing two early corners but Wanderers weathered the storm and took the lead on 33 minutes when a long clearance by Matt Ingram was headed on to the right wing by Cowan-Hall to Paul Hayes who ran close to the corner flag before returning a looping cross to the centre of the six yard box where Cowan-Hall had run on to head home high into the left corner of the net.
The hosts were given their potential lifeline penalty when Marlon Harewood was adjudged to have been up-ended by Jacobson after the ball was played low in from the right. However, the home support was left with head in hands when the resulting spot-kick was blasted over by Austin.
Hartlepool were nearly punished within the minutes of that miss when Jacobson's corner from the right was headed onto the left hand upright by Mawson and Josh Scowen's follow-up was blocked. But Wanderers took complete of command of the game during a three minute spell in the second-half. First on 73 minutes a instinctive backheel from Sido Jombati set Hayes in space down the right channel, who then pulled the ball from the bye-line for Bloomfield to swipe home for his first goal since 8 October 2013 and his first in the League since 18 August 2012.
Three minutes later a right wing corner from Jacobson deep to the far post saw Mawson allowed the room the head home his first goal for the Wanderers and confirm the points. Harewood grabbed a late consolation for Hartlepool when he nodded down a cross from the right and then reacted fastest to shot home the loose ball at the near post.
Full-time - Hartlepool 1 Wycombe 3
Post match reaction:
Commenting after the game, Gareth Ainsworth said, "People will look at it and say it was an easy game – it wasn’t; far from it. Sooner or later they will get a team together that starts winning. I’m just glad it wasn’t against us today. We had a meeting at the hotel that went on a little bit long – we were a little bit late here. I wanted to get the point across about being complacent and how we are going to do the job." The Wycombe boss also said, "We made it go our way, especially in the second half. I had a few choice words at half time and we put it right. When you’re down the bottom the fans can turn; confidence, everything seems to be going against you. We wanted to give Hartlepool that feeling, as horrible as that sounds. We wanted to come down on them hard right from the start, and we did."
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