Conor Chaplin’s late second-half header gave the Sky Blues a well-deserved win, following a dominant performance from Mark Robins’ men.
Luke Thomas was the man who produced the first bright sparks of play at a windswept Ricoh. Dazzling his full-back with quick movement, the Derby loanee fed an accurate cut back to Conor Chaplin, whose shot was blocked.
Thomas then repeated the feat shortly afterwards, beating his marker twice inside ten minutes, to emphasise his intent for the game ahead.
Switching over the to the opposite flank, and the returning Jordy Hiwula, fresh from scoring his first City goal on Tuesday night, lofted a delicate cross towards Jonson Clarke-Harris, with his header comfortably collected by Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop.
After a brief stoppage in play for a Wycombe injury, the Sky Blues attacks continued to flow. Allowed to roam into space, Tom Bayliss probed the Wycombe midfield, playing a one-two with Chaplin, before spreading the ball out to Hiwula.
The forward cut inside on the left-hand side, running at pace, unleashing a well-struck shot, that Allsop, in full flight, succeeded in tipping over the crossbar.
As the first-half approached its final ten minutes, the Sky Blues’ best chance came from a more direct approach.
A Michael Doyle free-kick from the edge of the City half was played towards Clarke-Harris, with his header finding Chaplin inside the box. The striker made a swift turn and struck the ball firmly towards goal, with Allsop’s sharp reactions denying the ball nestling into the bottom corner.
Another Thomas run, a trademark of the first-half, saw the young winger beat his marker and run vertically along the byline to produce a smart save from the Wycombe keeper from close-range.
However, Lee Burge, untroubled throughout the majority of the opening forty-five minutes, produced a fine save down to his left to deny Jason McCarthy, to remind the City backline of the Chairboys’ threat shortly before the interval.
Reiterating the quality in attack that saw Wycombe promoted from League Two alongside the Sky Blues last season, the strike partnership of Craig Mackail-Smith and Adebayo Akinfenwa combined to produce a threatening shot from Mackail-Smith, easily collected by Burge.
Buoyed by their late attacks in the first-half, Wycombe began the second forty-five minutes attempting to pile pressure on the City goal but failed to force a notable save from Burge, in the half’s opening stages.
Despite the advances of Gareth Ainsworth’s team, with genuine pace on the wings, the Sky Blues remained a real threat on the counter-attack, even during the Wanderers most promising periods of play.
A hooked clearance away from one such attack saw Thomas collect the high ball from the edges of the opposition half and speed towards Allsop, leaving a trail of defenders behind him, but a loss of control yards from goal saw the opportunity missed.
Hiwula matched Thomas for endeavour. Twice matched up face-to with Wycombe right-back Michael Harriman, the 24-year-old darted inside-and-out of his marker, seeing his shots fired over the crossbar and blocked for a corner.
Though Wycombe continued to press in the City half, the danger of the Sky Blues’ breaking in behind the Chairboys’ defence remained. Last-ditch tackles and interceptions were the only thing denying Mark Robins’ side clear chances to test Allsop in the Wycombe goal.
As the City supporters inside the stadium drummed up support for the Sky Blues, the team started to regain the same rhythm they had shown in the first-half.
Crisp passing and flowing movement suggested that the home side were reasserting their dominance as the game entered its final twenty minutes; and as Jonson Clarke Harris’ long-range shot fizzed past the post, there was a sense that the game’s momentum was swinging, once again.
Mark Robins’ side, unrelenting in their search for an opening goal, continued to pile on the pressure with a swarm of Sky Blue attacks coming one after another. Hiwula’s shot stinging the palms of Allsop, following another inside run, emphasised the team’s desire to continually push for the game’s opening goal.
With the game entering a frantic pace in the final ten minutes, City’s constant pressure finally paid off when Conor Chaplin met Dujon Sterling’s cross to give City a well-deserved lead.
Sterling bested his marker in the channel and lifted a ball into the 21-year-old striker. Left unmarked after smartly straying from his defender, Chaplin’s cushioned header from the centre of the box simply glided past the outstretched Allsop.
Though Wycombe threatened in injury-time with long balls into the experienced Akinfenwa, the City defence held firm to seal the win for the Sky Blues.
Attendance: 10, 480 (792 away fans)
Goals: Conor Chaplin.
Yellows: Bryn Morris, Randell Williams, Luke Thomas.
Sky Blues XI: Lee Burge (GK), Dujon Sterling, Jordan Willis, Tom Davies (Kelly, 89’), Junior Brown, Luke Thomas, Michael Doyle (C), Tom Bayliss, Jordy Hiwula (Bakayoko, 89’), Jonson Clarke-Harris, Conor Chaplin.
Subs: Liam O’Brien, Dominic Hyam, Jordon Thompson, Liam Kelly, Abu Ogogo, Tony Andreu, Amadou Bakayoko.
Wycombe XI: Ryan Allsop (GK), Michael Harriman, Jason Mccarthy, Adam El Abd (C), Joe Jacobson, Curtis Thompson, Matt Bloomfield (Morris, 24’), Dominic Gape, Randell Williams (Cowan-Hall, 78’), Craig Mackail-Smith (Onyedinma, 78’), Adebayo Akinfenwa.
Subs: Yves Ma-Kalambay (GK), Sido Jombati, Paris Cowan-Hall, Bryn Morris, Fred Onyedinma, Alex Samuel, Scott Kashket.