Wycombe Wanderers took maximum points back to Buckinghamshire after an early Bruno Andrade strike was enough to settle the game at Highbury.
It was a frustrating encounter against a side that have been struggling so far this season.New loan signing Rob Edwards made his debut and stepped in for the injured Steve McNulty at centre back, with the rest of the starting 11 unchanged from the draw at Cheltenham in a 4-2-3-1 formation.Wycombe had little to offer footballing-wise in the first half, with Fleetwood enjoying the majority of play and possession, and the away side sporting a more hit-and-hope long ball approach. But it was Wanderers who had arguably the better chances between the two and ultimately found themselves 1-0 ahead as a result. The visitors took the lead inside ten minutes, when the Town defence failed to stop Bruno Andrade’s run from the right. The tricky winger cut inside and curled a calm left footed strike into the far corner, as The Chairboys looked to build on their terrific midweek win away at Portsmouth in the Football League Trophy.Fleetwood pushed for a goal but let themselves down in the final third- Junior Brown wasting three shooting opportunities, slicing one over and hitting two wide from great positions. The first and only real test in the first half for the Chairboys’ goalkeeper Nikki Bull, came from an Alex Marrow shot early on, which he pushed away without anybody there to take advantage of the rebound. Brown, who has been in superb form in the past few weeks, tried desperately to make one of his typical dashes down the left count, but the Wycombe defence forced him out of play on numerous occasions. However, for all the effort that the Town midfield were putting in, Wanderers could have easily doubled their lead midway through the first half with Dean Morgan playing a key part in two vital moves. The first was from a long clearance by Leon Johnson; Mawene struggled to deal with the bounce and Morgan was there to control and hit a right footed shot, which dragged just wide of Davies’ left post. The second, an excellent through ball carving the Cods’ defence open, which found Joel Grant; his shot was magnificently saved by Davies to deny the visitors, what would have been an undeserved 2-0 lead before the break. Mellon made two changes just after half time, as Jon Parkin replaced captain Jamie McGuire and Jamie Milligan came on in place of Damien Johnson, which shifted the shape to a 4-4-2 formation. There was a half-hearted claim for a hand ball after a Barry Nicholson cross, but the referee ignored the shouts and played on, much to the dismay of the Highbury faithful. Milligan was in the thick of the action straight away when his cross found the head of that man Brown, but his diving header could not be guided towards goal. The league’s 22nd placed side made a counter attack with 20 minutes left when the goal scorer Andrade made a darting run from the right once more, and he was again allowed to pull the trigger as the Fleetwood defence backed off. The rebound from Davies’ save saw Jo Kuffour hit wide of the goal; another lucky escape for Town.Wycombe did a good job of a struggling side defending an early 1-0 lead, defending well, and countering when they saw the chance. Fleetwood were nearly caught out once again, but Davies was there again to deny a Morgan one-on-one with his legs, an effort the striker should really have put away. Soon after, Mellon made the final change with Steven Gillespie taking the place of Barry Nicholson, and it almost paid off immediately. His first involvement was a blinding strike from distance that struck the bar, as Fleetwood searched for an equaliser. With three minutes of normal time on the clock, Gillsepie found space for a cross on the right which landed perfectly to Milligan, but his left footed rocket was blocked by Wycombe defender Johnson. The last chance of the game fell to new boy Edwards deep into stoppage time, when a Milligan free kick was lofted in, but the big defender’s header was knocked wide of the post.Ultimately, it was the pace and drive of Wycombe’s counter attacks that punished Fleetwood, who couldn’t deal with the presence of Morgan and Andrade.