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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 12th March 2016
Football League Two
A single moment of class from Luke O'Nein on 70 minutes secured victory over Stevenage at Adams Park to keep Wanderers in the hunt for promotion ahead of two potentially tough long haul away trips. A third successive home victory (all 1-0) came thanks to O'Nein's deft control on the edge of the box, some ball juggling and then a lefted footed strike into the bottom right corner of the Valley End net. It was no less than Wanderers deserved and ensured Wanderers best home winning sequence since January 2013.
The victory came after Gareth Ainsworth made three changes to the side that had lost at Newport the previous week - Anthony Stewart, Matt Bloomfield and Gary Thompson all recalled, with Sido Jombati and Steven McGinn, Sam Wood reduced to bench duties.
Wanderers flew out of the traps and could have been three goals clear inside the opening 10 ten minutes. Luke O'Nein, Stewart, home debutant Rowan Liburd, Paul Hayes and Thompson all going close. Hayes' effort was the closest on 9 minutes when his low poke from around eight yards struck the right-hand upright.
The pace dropped after that but with the visitors unable to test Ryan Allsop in the home goal, the half finished on a flurry for Wanderers with Jason McCarthy blasting over from the right side of the box in stoppage time following a flowing Wycombe move down the left flank.
Wycombe started the second-half brightly too but it was the visitors who came briefly back into the game on the hour mark - a diving header from Luke Wilkinson creeping past the near post following a corner from the right. But Wycombe should have been ahead on 64 minutes when Liburd's header from just outside the six yard box lacked the necessary direction and power to beat Jamie Jones in the Stevenage goal. Wycombe had a hopeful claim for a penalty for handball waved away on 65 minutes, while from the resulting break Ben Kennedy was booked for simulation after a delayed dive following a last ditch tackle from Bloomfield.
Single goals had settled seven of Wycombe's previous eight games and so it proved versus Stevenage - O'Nein's effort bringing celebration and relief to the Wycombe faithful. However, there were still some nervy moments left for Wanderers, but Allsop's finger tip save from Dean Parrett on 87 minutes ensured another clean sheet and home victory on Gareth Ainsworth's 200th game in charge of the Wanderers.
Wycombe are now 8th in the table, a point off the play-off places and travel to 5th placed Accrington Stanley on Wednesday evening, followed by the trip to 10th placed Carlisle the following Saturday.
Full-time - Wycombe 1 Stevenage 0
Speaking after the game, Gareth Ainsworth told the press his feelings after his 200th match in charge of the Wanderers: "Stats come and go and it was fantastic to know it was the 200th but that win was for the fans and the chairman. It puts us six points away from our total. If I can get 200 more games as a manager I'll be a very proud manager. I thought we deserved it today. We had a game plan, the lads executed it superbly. We've got two tough games on the road now. These will be tough games but if we can perform with the freedom and desire we did today then we'll be fine. We just want to convert a few more chances for the fans as much as anything to me as three points is three points to me. It's just that final touch for us because we're creating enough and shutting them out at the other end."
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