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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Luton Town 1
Saturday 6th February 2016
Football League Two
Wanderers slipped back down to 10th spot in 'League Two' after a 1-0 home defeat to 16th placed Luton Town. The only goal of the game came in the 39th minute when a Hatters corner from the left was played out to Cameron McGeehan who looped a 20 yard shot over the outstretched arm of debutant 'keeper Ryan Allsop.
The Bournemouth loanee was the only change in the Wycombe side that had beaten Plymouth the previous week and Wanderers could have been off to flyer with Jason McCarthy, Michael Harriman and Matt Bloomfield all having golden opportunities to score within the opening 15 minutes. McCarthy chance came on 8 minutes after Joe Jacobson's corner from the left found the Southampton loanee unmarked on the far side of the Luton box but the resulting shot was fired wide of the right-hand post. In the 12th minute Harriman caught a then woeful Luton defence in possession but his run down the left channel ended with his shot dragged wide of the target. Then on 15 minutes excellent work from Paris Cowan-Hall down the right wing saw a low delivery that Bloomfield clipped wide of the left-hand post. If any of those efforts had gone in it would have changed the course of the game.
McGeehan's goal just before the break was the visitors first serious attempt at goal and the looping shot will be one that Allsop may believe he should have pushed over the bar in an otherwise excellent first appearance in a Wycombe shirt. After the break it was Luton who looked the better side, a goal-mouth scramble on 49 minutes in the Wycombe box eventually being cleared. However, Wycombe did have the ball in the net on 59 minutes when Jacobson's oribital cross from the right was bundled in at the far post by Cowan-Hall but the referee called a foul on the 'keeper.
At the other end, only a timely challenge by Jacobson on 62 minutes denied Luton another sight of goal. The introduction of Garry Thompson for Gozie Ugwu a couple of minutes later prompted a brief spell of Wycombe pressure with Paul Hayes seeing a shot on the turn blocked, while second later another shot skidded wide of the Valley End net. But it was the visitors who came close to doubling their lead on 69 minutes when Craig Mackail-Smith weaved past Aaron Pierre on the left side of the box before shooting wide of the far post. A minute later Allsop saved from Jack Marriott at his left-hand post to keep Wycombe in with a chance.
The closest Wycombe came to an equaliser followed an 87th minute free-kick from the left by Jacobson that Sido Jombati met with a header that was blocked. With Wanderers committing more players up front, Luton broke from this attack and should have made it 2-0 when Paul Benson slid in for a loose ball on the left of the box, only for the upright to come to Wycombe's rescue. However, dispite six minutes of stoppage time, it was Luton who efficiently managed the remaining time with Wycombe unable to get conjure up any further chances and therefore remain without a home win against The Hatters in 11 attempts dating back to 1996.
It's now three straight home League defeats for Gareth Ainsworth's side, with the last home League goal at Adams Park coming in the final minute of the 2-0 victory over Crawley Town on the 28th December. Wycombe travel to 23rd placed Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday 9th February, with the incentive that victory would lift them to 6th place in the table ahead of the visit of Exeter City on Saturday 13th February.
Full-time - Wycombe 0 Luton 1
Speaking after the game, Wanderers Manager Gareth Ainsworth told the press: "I thought we were fantastic for the first 35 minutes but you have to take your chances. That has been my message to the boys after the game. No matter if your chances come in the first minute or the last you have to take them. I thought we created plenty of scoring opportunities and scoring goals is a problem at the moment. We have had chances and headers that were just missing the target today. It is not a major, major thing but we do need someone to step up and take on the mantle of Wycombe goalscorer."
Commenting on the match winning goal, Ainsworth added: "It is a goal worthy of winning any game and I didn’t see it coming." He went on to say: "I thought we panicked towards the end when you want to get the ball forward quickly. There are ways to do that though and I think getting wide would have been the way today. We kept going down their throats and to be fair to Scott Cuthbert he had a good game today. I thought he had a shaky start but in the second half he did well."
The Wycombe Manager was questioned by the press on whether he thought the substitution of Paul Hayes was a mistake: "No, not at all. Paul pulled his Achilles tendon against Crawley after playing 20 minutes and you protect your players and don’t risk them.”
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