Wycombe Wanderers were beaten by Coventry City for the sixth consecutive game after Conor Chaplin’s late goal handed the Sky Blues a deserved 1-0 win at a windy Ricoh Arena.
After ending their hoodoo against Burton last week, another one continued this week for the Chairboys as the route one tactics were completely cancelled out by the conditions and a good Coventry side in the West Midlands. It was a game that had shades of Swindon away last season about it, although this time, the opposition had to wait for a late goal to seal the three points. Wanderers ‘keeper Ryan Allsop almost incredibly snatched a point with the last kick but could only volley over from a few yards.
Wycombe made one change to the 2-1 win over Burton as Adam El-Abd replaced the injured Darius Charles for the former’s first start since August. In form Adebayo Akinfenwa started up front with Craig Mackail-Smith and Randell Williams either side of him, as Bryn Morris still couldn’t get himself back in the team after being named as October Fans’ Player of the Month.
Perhaps understandable, though, given the performance of Curtis Thompson against the Brewers, and the former Notts County man produced another solid performance this time around. Mark Robins made one alteration from Coventry’s 2-1 success at Charlton last week, handing Jordy Hiwula a start at the expense of Liam Kelly. Two-goal hero Amadou Bakayoko was only rewarded with a place on the bench.
It was an even start to this mid-table clash, and the home side created the first real chance as Luke Thomas skipped past a couple of Chairboys players but Jason McCarthy stood firm to block the incoming shot. Ryan Allsop then took centre stage, denying Hiwula and Chaplin and overseeing a goalmouth scramble which Wycombe eventually cleared. McCarthy and Mackail-Smith both came close to Wanderers in the closing moments of the first period, but that didn’t change the fact that Coventry were considerably the better team despite the goalless scoreline.
HALF-TIME: Coventry City 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Mackail-Smith was again in the thick of it but headed straight at Lee Burge after Randell Williams found him expertly. Harriman and McCarthy then did well to deny Thomas and Hiwula respectively as the Chairboys hung on at 0-0. Wycombe still had a slight goal threat, though, and Akinfenwa headed wide when in a similar position to Mackail-Smith just fifteen minutes earlier. The Sky Blues were starting to resort to shooting from range, as Jonson Clarke-Harris shot just wide and Jordy Hiwula forced another save out of Allsop.
It didn’t take long for Coventry to finally make the breakthrough, though, and it was Conor Chaplin who scored it. The former Portsmouth man scored a stunning header at Fratton Park against Wanderers two seasons ago, and this one was quite decent as well as he found the corner from Dujon Sterling’s cross. An uneventful four added minutes nearly ended with an equaliser to be remembered for years to come as visiting ‘keeper Ryan Allsop ventured forward for a corner. The delivery was very inviting, and ‘Rocky’ was surprisingly the only Wycombe player to attack it, but inexplicably volleyed over to deny the 792 away fans.
FULL-TIME: Coventry City 1-0 Wycombe Wanderers
The final whistle went almost immediately afterwards, and it was a fifth League One loss of the season for Wanderers to take them down to 18th in the standings. For the Sky Blues, a top-half finish beckons and they certainly have the capability to challenge for the play-offs, although it does look very competitive in that area.
Wanderers wouldn’t mind if the season ended now with them sat outside the relegation zone, but it continues for them on Saturday with the first of three games in eight days. The Chairboys host Scunthorpe and Rochdale before a trip to Walsall as they look to put Saturday’s disappointment behind them and pick up some more points.