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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Exeter City 0
Saturday 1st October 2016
Football League Two
Substitute Adebayo Akinkenwa came on to score the only goal of the game as Wanderers edged past Exeter City at Adams Park to record a second successive League victory for the first time since February 2016.
Gareth Ainsworth stuck with the same starting XI as the one that had thrashed Crewe 5-1 the previous Tuesday but a similar score was never on the cards after The Grecians opted for a defence packed formation, coupled with Wanderers' newly found return to solidarity in their own defensive qualities.
Former Wanderer loanee Reuben Reid was potentially the biggest threat to Wanderers but he appeared to be the shadow of the player that had performed at Plymouth Argyle in recent seasons. Reid's glimpes at goal were restricted to long efforts that the increasingly impressive Jamal Blackman dealt with ease in the Wycombe goal.
However, despite Wanderers edging the possession and chance count, it looked ever likely that the game was heading for a goalless statemate until the introduction of Akinfenwa just after the hour mark. 'The Beast' headed over from a Sam Wood flighted cross back into the box on 64 minutes but he found the winner with five minutes remaining when he managed to turn, with back to goal, from Stewart's dinked ball into the box from the left of midfield, the ball taking a crucial deflection off the outstretched foot of City defender to give 'keeper Bobby Olejnik no chance.
It was perhaps a sign of Wanderers' recent increase in confidence that they were able to play our the remaining time, including four minutes of stoppage time, without any nervous moments at the back and indeed looked the side more likely to score again.
Full-time - Wycombe 1 Exeter 0
Speaking after the game, Wanderers Manager Gareth Ainsworth told the press: "Last season at times we struggled to get in behind teams – we fired the ball into the box but didn't have that big man to make it stick, so I ended up getting the biggest! 'Bayo' can change the way we play, which is important as for two or three years I've had one way of playing, which has been effective, but others get wise. Other managers look at our team and how they can stop us, so if they can stop one way of playing, let's try a a different way. Today that worked perfectly. Sometimes it won't, and we have to take that. I thought Exeter came for a frustrating point and it needed that extra factor up front to win the game. It was a bit hairy at times, and I thought we might have to settle for the draw.”
Commenting again on Akinfenwa, Ainsworth added: “I was impressed by his attitude, his humility is fantastic. He's been fantastic, a good signing on and off the field, and an experienced one for my younger lads to learn off. The only gamble was his age, but he stays fit, and we tailor the training for the older boys anyway. When he's not in the team he's working hard and is very respectful of everything – he's been a breath of fresh air."
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