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Wycombe Wanderers 2
Newport County 1
Monday 2nd January 2017
Football League Two
Wanderers won a League game, after coming from behind, for the first time since December 2014 as the fended off bottom club Newport County at Adams Park on Holiday Monday. Spectacular goals from Sam Wood and substitute Paris Cowan-Hall quashed the visitors after Mark Randall had been gifted an opener for County.
Team news for Wycombe saw Gareth Ainsworth make four changes to the side that had edged a 1-0 victory at Cheltenham the previous Friday. Sam Wood, Myles Weston, Paul Hayes and Garry Thompson were switched with Matt Bloomfield, Scott Kashett, Adebayo Akinfenwa and Paris Cowan-Hall - the dropped players all retaining their places on the bench. Scott Brown continued in goal for the injured Jamal Blackman.
Wycombe dominated proceedings but found themselves trailing on the hour mark when a defensive calamity from Aarom Pierre let in Randall to knock the ball past Brown from the edge of the box. A triple substitution on 69 minutes that saw the introduction of Paris Cowan-Hall, Scott Kashket and Adebayo Akinfenwa sparked an immediate equaliser. With a minute Joe Jacobson had swung a free-kick in from the left of midfield for Akinfenwa to head back across the penalty area for Sam Wood to scissor kick into the right corner of the Valley End net.
The winning goal on 80 minutes left County stunned when Cowan-Hall received the ball some 35 yards from goal on the right of midfield. With County 'keeper Joe Day standing just in front of the his six yard box, the Millwall loanee lofted a dipping shot goalwards that Day could only watch sail over his head an into the net.
An 8th win in nine games for Wanderers lifts Gareth Ainsworth side to 5th spot in the table and just five points behind the automatic promotion spots, currently held by Doncaster, Plymouth and Carlisle. For County, managed by former Wanderer Graham Westley, defeat at Adams Park means they have now lost seven in a row. Wycombe now move onto their FA Cup Third Round meeting with non-League Stourbridge - Wanderers aiming to reach the Fourth Round for only the second time in the Club's history.
Full-time - Wycombe 2 Newport 1
Speaking after the game, Wanderers Manager Gareth Ainsworth told the press: "I am really pleased with the character we showed to come back from behind. The last game of the Christmas period is always a tough one and the plan was to always rotate and keep it fresh. The front three of Paul Hayes, Garry Thompson and Myles Weston came in and I thought they did a really good job of running Newport into the ground. I also thought Sam Wood played really well in the Matt Bloomfield role. However, after going behind, which was such a blow, I felt the three for three change would lift the ground and the mental side of the game is as strong as anything."
Commenting on Paris Cowan-Hall's winner, Ainsworth added: “Don’t asked me if he meant it. I have claimed a few in my career that I have not meant! However, we know Paris has that ability and it was brilliant to see it go in as we totally dominated the game."
The Wycombe boss also acknowledged his squad for a pre-match presentation for reaching 200 League games in charge with the 1-0 victory at Cheltenham the previous week: “Before the game in the dressing room, the boys presented to me a framed picture saying ‘Well done gaffer on your 200th league game’ all signed by them. I felt that was such a special moment as you don’t get that often at clubs and for them to do that for me and it shows we have a real good thing going here and I am glad we capped the day with a win."
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