Fleetwood Town left Adams Park with all three points on Tuesday night after a 1-0 victory over promotion hopefuls Wycombe Wanderers.
The visitors dominated proceedings in Buckinghamshire on a cold Tuesday night, but couldn’t get the goal they deserved, despite being down to ten men for the remaining twenty minutes. Ched Evans was shown a straight red by the referee for an alleged elbow on Jason McCarthy.
Paddy Madden scored winner and the only goal of the match with a delicate touch on Barrie McKay’s low cross into the box. It was only the hosts second defeat at home, and a win that Fleetwood thoroughly deserved.
It was a bright start to the game for Fleetwood as they had three really good chances to take the lead against the best home side in the league.
Madden had the first when the ball found him on the edge of the 18-yard box, he twisted and turned but saw his effort bounce of a defender as it looked to be going into the corner.
Evans was lively in the early exchanges and went one-on-one with the Wycombe keeper Ryan Allsop, but the Welshman failed to make the most of his glorious opportunity.
His header moments later caused chaos as he headed down onto the floor, it bounced over the defenders and keeper, but Sido Jombati was there to nod it off the line and out for a corner. It was nearly the perfect start for Joey Barton’s side.
Wycombe had their first attempt ten minutes into the tie. Nick Freeman found space inside Fleetwood’s penalty area, but his shot was pulled wide of Alex Cairns’ right hand post.
Barrie McKay – who made his Fleetwood full debut on Tuesday night – was the creative spark for the Cod Army and when he dropped into that pocket of space between the hosts’ backline and midfield, he made things happen.
The Swansea City loanee picked out Wes Burns on the right hand side and with a first time cross into the box, it called all sorts of problems in the Wycombe backline, but again nothing came of it.
After a frantic opened twenty minutes, the game went into 5-10 minutes of both teams keeping possession, but it was Barton’s men who looked the side to take it to their opponents.
When Fleetwood had the ball, McKay kept getting on the ball and when he beat Joe Jacobson with a drop of the shoulder, he found Evans at the near post, but the former Sheffield United man didn’t have enough contact on the ball to trouble the keeper.
Gareth Ainsworth side had their moments in the game. One of those came from Jacobson’s corner as it swung in from the right side. With the swirling wind around Adams Park, Cairns looked beat but he managed to get a finger tip on the ball, otherwise it might have snuck inside the post.
Danny Andrew thought he had opened the scoring ten minutes before the interval. He beat his man on the left side, and his thunderous strike looked goal bound, but somehow Allsop got a minor touch on his effort to tip it onto the crossbar. Great save you have to say!
Just before the break, Josh Parker picked up the ball on the left hand side. He beat Callum Connolly before releasing a rocket towards to Fleetwood goal. The referee pointed for a goal kick as it bounced off the crossbar and out, but Cairns might have just got a touch on like Allsop.
The second half saw Fleetwood come out of the traps like they did in the first, and thought they had taken the lead in the 57th minute. McKay ghosted past four Wycombe players before finding Andrew on the left, who picked out Madden inside the box to prod it home.
The Irishman went to celebrate with the travelling Town fans, but he was soon stopped by the referee’s whistle as the lineman’s flag was up for offside.
Lewis Gibson hit the bar with his header back across goal from Paul Coutts’ corner. Another chance gone begging for the Cod Army.
Ainsworth brought his talisman on the pitch with 25 minutes to go. Adebayo Akinfenwa replaced Parker and went straight down the middle up against Souttar. A key battle for the remaining minutes in the match.
Just when you thought Fleetwood were pushing even more for that opener, Evans saw straight red from the man in the middle after an alleged elbow on McCarthy. A big twenty minutes ahead for both teams.
Akinfenwa nearly scored for the hosts. Paul Smyth – who came on with the striker – whipped in a dangerous ball into the box, but Akinfenwa’s header went across the goal to the frustration of the home crowd.
Minutes later, Madden eventually gave Town the lead with the deafest of touches. McKay did superbly well to pick out the Irishman inside the penalty area, and some might say it was McKay’s goal, but Madden waved away claiming his 19th of the season.
Substitute Harvey Saunders thought he had killed the game off with his effort. The young forward lifted the ball over the keeper after a mistake in the backline but failed to tap the ball home with Dominic Gape making a last ditched interception.
The whole performance from start to finish for the visitors deserved the three points, and the win at Adams Park means Barton and his side have picked up nine points from their last three matches.
Wycombe XI: Allsop (GK), Jombati, Jacobson ©, Gape, Stewart, Wheeler, Pattison (Onyedinma 78’) , Freeman, Samuel (Smyth 66’), McCarthy, Parker (Akinfenwa 66’).
Subs not used: Stockdale (GK), Mascoll, Phillips, Ofoborh.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Andrew, Connolly (Sowerby 90+3’), Souttar, Burns, Evans, Whelan, Coutts ©, Madden, Gibson, McKay (Saunders 79’).
Subs not used: Crellin (GK), Coyle, Morris, Thorvalldsson, Hill.