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Wycombe's dominant second-half display gives them hope of automatic promotion

No buzz from Barnet at the Hive

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth
1 of 1

Sky Bet League Two
Barnet 0 Wycombe 2
               Jacobsen (pen) 52
               O'Nien 72

Automatic promotion is in Wycombe's hands with nine matches remaining in Sky Bet League Two and whether they take this golden opportunity will depend largely on whether Wanderers can repeat their second-half performance at the Hive.

Sky Bet believe in Gareth Ainsworth's side - Wycombe are 4-5 to finish in the top three with Notts County 5-2 and Mansfield 3-1 - and they will move into the automatic slots with a positive result from their game in hand at Crawley on Wednesday.

This 2-0 win at Barnet was deserved on a thoroughly dominant second-half display as Wycombe were eventually able to assert their authority on the relegation-threatened hosts following a poor first half.

Maybe the insipid opening 45 minutes were due to the bitterly cold conditions or possibly a consequence of Wycombe's poor recent run of one point from a possible nine, but Ainsworth got a reaction after the interval.


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"Fair play to Barnet, they kept us quiet in the first half but we kicked it up another notch in the second half and got the result we wanted," Ainsworth told Wycombe's Twitter feed.

By the full-time whistle it was a stroll in the snow for Wycombe, who won the shots-on-target count 8-0 and claimed maximum points thanks to a Joe Jacobson penalty and Luke O'Nien's free kick.

O'Nien was lucky to be credited with the second - Ricardo Santos's decisive flicked header should have been an own goal - but there was nothing fortunate about the outcome.

The threat from Wycombe came in wide positions where Nick Freeman was the best player on the pitch and Craig Mackail-Smith's runs from out to in were difficult to track in support of Adebayo Akinfenwa.

Cult hero Akinfenwa was kept quiet but there were other forward threats apart from the 16-goal beast, while defensively Wycombe were solid enough in a 4-1-2-3 formation where midfielder Dominic Gape sits just in front of centre-backs Sido Jombati and Adam El-Abd.

Tougher tests are sure to come for Wycombe, who travel to promotion rivals Notts County over Easter, but Ainsworth's side are credible challengers for a top-three finish.

Sky Bet League Two standings

The opposition

Reports have suggested Barnet had been playing better than their results, yet this was a step backwards both in terms of performance and the league table, with the Bees hitting rock-bottom.

Maybe it would have been different had John Akinde not smacked the bar from six yards out in an even first half, but worryingly for boss Graham Westley, his side showed little fight after going behind.

Right-back Richard Brindley had a difficult afternoon after coming on as a first-half sub for the injured Mauro Vilhete and Barnet never looked like staging a comeback as heads dropped.

Westley also made a strange change with wide player Shaquile Coulthirst replaced by centre-back Charlie Clough when goals were needed, a switch which brought a negative reaction from the home faithful.

It was sad to see them go down with such a whimper. Akinde was isolated, their set-pieces were poor and whatever plan there was to get back into the game failed.

Barnet, 1-4 for relegation, have won twice since Christmas and should be cannon fodder for Luton in front of the Sky cameras on Saturday.

Teams - Barnet 4-2-1-3: Ross; Vilhete (Brindley 42), Santos, Sweeney, Tutonda; Watson, Bover (Taylor 65); Weston; Coulthirst (Clough 75), Akinde, Nicholls.

Wycombe 4-1-2-3: Brown; Moore, Jombati, El-Abd, Jacobson; Gape; Bloomfield (Thompson 85), O'Nien; Mackail-Smith (Tyson 57), Akinfenwa, Freeman (Kashket 79).


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By the full-time whistle it was a stroll in the snow for Wycombe, who won the shots-on-target count 8-0
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