Report: Wycombe Wanderers 0 Stevenage 1
Lawrie Wilson scores late winner as Boro finish year on a high
Wycombe Wanderers 0 Stevenage 1
npower League 1
LAWRIE Wilson scored a late winner to ensure Boro finished 2011 on a high.
Wilson’s shot, from a Luke Freeman pass, just nine minutes from time saw Boro retain their play-off place going into the New Year and the win also extended their unbeaten league run to 11 games.
Wilson may have got the goal but it was Freeman who was the star man for Boro, seemingly carrying the team on his own at times as he created all sorts of problems for Wycombe down the left following his introduction midway through the first half.
But Freeman had started on the bench with manager Westley opting for Stacy Long on the left of midfield while in the centre of the park Phil Edwards stood in for the injured Joel Byrom (back strain).
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The first effort on target of an uninspiring first half came some 20 minutes into the game with Joel Grant stinging Chris Day’s palms from 35 yards. John Halls then sent a low free kick the goalkeeper’s way, but Day again got behind the ball only to fumble it out for a corner.
Boro’s first effort followed soon afterwards but Chris Beardsley was moving away from goal when Scott Laird’s free kick came in and the striker could only head wide of Nikki Bull’s goal.
On Monday, at Colchester, Boro’s front men played with vim and vigor but here their attacking play was unconstructive to the point that on 37 minutes Westley decided that he had seen enough and hauled off Long and Don Cowan and replaced them with Freeman and Chuks Aneke.
Straight away Aneke had an impact in the sense that the on-loan Arsenal man linked the front line and midfield well by collecting the ball from deep before running at the Wycombe back line and bringing Boro’s wide men into play.
Wycombe started the second half on the front foot, but as in the first period for all of their possession down the wings they rarely troubled the Boro back line.
Crosses occasionally came in and were immediately dealt with by Jon Ashton and Mark Roberts, while for all their pace and trickery on the wings Joel Grant and Anthony McNamee flattered to deceive and were often snuffed out by Laird and Ronnie Henry.
That was until 20 minutes to go when Marcello Trotta had a great chance to put his side ahead. The striker pulled away from his marker eight yards out and his header across goal to the far post was helped around the far stick by Day.
Day had been the busier of the two goalkeepers and he was forced into action again a moment later as this time Stuart Beavon tried his luck from the edge of the box.
Day was unable to hold the shot in his chest and Trotta, following up, tried to hip the ball over Day but his touch was heavy and he knocked it over the crossbar instead.
By this time Freeman was looking the most likely to create something for Boro with his direct running and his willingness to take players on, and he didn’t disappoint.
Bombing on down the left, the winger was teed up by Michael Bostwick and his low pass along the six-yard box was directed home by Wilson to put Stevenage ahead with just nine minutes to go.
Then it was Wycombe’s turn to make a change and within a minute of entering the scene that wily veteran Gareth Ainsworth had forced Day into a low save with his legs when an equaliser had looked to be on the cards.
Boro themselves could have made it 2-0, but Freeman, for once, was wasteful. Byron Harrison, on for Beardsley, had turned his defender with ease in the box but when he passed to the unmarked Freeman eight yards from goal the winger took a touch before putting it was of Bull’s goal.
But it did not matter as Boro held on for yet another win in what has been quite a pleasing Christmas schedule for Graham Westley and his men.
Wycombe (4-4-2): Bull, McCoy, Foster, Winfield (Basey 65), Johnson, Grant, Halls, Bloomfield, McNamee (Ainsworth 82), Trotta, Beavon. Subs: Harding, Strevens, Harris.
Stevenage (4-4-2): Day, Henry, Laird, Roberts, Ashton, Long (Aneke 37), Wilson, Edwards, Bostwick, Cowan (Freeman 38), Beardsley (Harrison 86). Subs: Julian, Shroot.