Match report: Stevenage hit at home by Wycombe Wanderers

Charles gets up to curl the ball around the defender to score

Charles gets up to curl the ball around the defender to score - Credit: Archant

Stevenage slumped to a 3-1 home defeat to Wycombe today (Saturday) despite taking the lead in the League 2 clash at the Lamex Stadium.

Wycombe Wanderers number 9, Hayes volleys the ball into the top corner to equalise

Wycombe Wanderers number 9, Hayes volleys the ball into the top corner to equalise - Credit: Archant

Darius Charles netted Boro’s solitary goal, but strikes from Paul Hayes, Peter Murphy and Matt McClure saw the Chairboys go back to Buckinghamshire with maximum points.

Boro started with a flat back four of Bira Dembele partnering Dean Wells central, with Jon Ashton right-back and Jerome Okimo left-back.

Simon Walton, named captain for the game, was partnered in centre midfield by Andy Bond, with Roarie Deacon on the left flank and Chris Whelpdale on the right.

Charlie Lee was given a deep-lying forward role behind Charles.

Wycombe Wanderers number 15, Murphy gets in front of Sam Beasant to poke home

Wycombe Wanderers number 15, Murphy gets in front of Sam Beasant to poke home - Credit: Archant

A blow to the Stevenage attack was that rookie striker Connor Calcutt, who netted his first goal for the club, off the bench, in the 1-1 midweek draw with Plymouth, was missing presumably injured in training.

That meant Graham Westley named an unchanged XI to Tuesday’s draw on the south coast.

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The early stages of the League 2 clash were end to end, with Wycombe earning a corner after two minutes, but Boro’s Jon Ashton was on hand to head Sam Wood’s set-piece clear.

Sido Jombati and Paris Cowan-Hall were seeing a lot of the ball for the visitors early on, and Steven Craig was demonstrating he could be a handful for Boro’s centre-halves.

Wycombe's McClure scores into an empty net after Sam Beasant is beaten

Wycombe's McClure scores into an empty net after Sam Beasant is beaten - Credit: Archant

The first piece of action to stir the home crowd came in the eighth minute when Charlie Lee, with seemingly nothing on having picked up the ball wide in the box, fizzed a fierce effort at goal that cracked against the woodwork and went behind.

Play was halted for around five minutes after Dembele suffered a head injury, the commanding centre-half exited the field for eight minutes to be bandaged up.

Just shy of the half-hour mark industrious play from Charles down the right saw the powerful frontman make the byline, but his bundled cross into the box drifted agonisingly wide.

But the forward was rewarded for his persistence in the 32nd minute.

A beautiful flick on from Lee found Charles bursting through the middle. Wycombe keeper Matt Ingram sprinted out of his goal and attempted to takle Charles. With the two in a crumbled heap on the floor, and the ball still alive, Charles picked himself up to curl a fine effort into the unguarded net.

But the lead lasted just four minutes.

Stevenage were caught napping at the back, and after Craig had caused all sorts of problems, the ball was worked to experienced striker and Wanderers captain Paul Hayes, and he made no mistake with a superb finish past a despairing Beasant in the Boro goal.

The it got worse for the home side.

A free-kick routine, after Paris Cowan-Hall had been fouled on the edge of the box by Dembele, completely outfoxed Stevenage, and a low ball in from Wood was tapped home unchallenged by Peter Murphy.

It’s one of those that will be watched over and over again - step-overs, dummy runs and pretend confusion from Wycombe’s players caught Boro completely off-guard.

Stevenage boss reacted to a disappointing opening 45 by making a double substitution at half-time, bringing on Tom Pett and Adam Marriott for Dembele and Andy Bond.

The first moment worth mentioning for the home side came in the 59th minute when Wycombe centre-half Aaron Pierre misjdged a long ball, and Marriott nipped in, However despite Pierre quite clearly holding Marriott’s arm to prevent a run at goal, the referee refused to give a decision to Boro.

Boro fans began to find their voices in the hope their side could get back into the game, and Charles provided cause for optimism in the 65th minute when he blazed down the left confidently, but his ball looking for Marriott in the box was collected by Wycombe custodian Ingram.

Wycombe introduced ex-Boro midfielder Stuart Lewis into the fray in the 73rd minute. The 26-year-old played 30 games for Stevenage in the 2007/08 season.

Sadly for him, the first thing he did of note was get booked in the 78th minute for comments aimed to the referee after Wells was fouled by Hayes.

Stevenage had a succession of corners as they began to turn the screw, but Wycombe managed to hold out as the clocked ticked onto 83 minutes.

Westley threw on Ryan Johnson for Charles late on in a desperate hope to claim something from the game, but the final nail in the coffin was hammered in a minute from time.

With Boro’s defence playing a high line as they chased the game, a swift Wycombe counter saw the ball played to substitute Matt McClure from Lewis, and he had the simple task of prodding home past the advancing Beasant.

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