Hatters defeated on home soil again
The Hatters slipped to a third straight home defeat as two second half goals were enough to give Wycombe all three points on Boxing Day.
After a goalless first half it took the visiting Chairboys just six minutes after the restart to take the lead when Garry Thompson tapped home from close range.
And the Town’s misery was complete on 66 minutes when Paul Hayes headed home to give Wycombe a third successive victory at Kenilworth Road.
The Hatters began unchanged following last week’s 3-2 win at Exeter, shooting towards the Kenilworth Road end. Shortly after the opening exchanges, Danny Green picked up a ball on the left flank and threaded a neat ball through to Paul Benson. He then passed the ball on to Cameron McGeehan whose shot from outside the box went harmlessly over the bar.
On 10 minutes, Craig Mackail-Smith was fouled over on the right, 10 yards into the Wycombe half. Green stepped up to take the free-kick, crossing the ball deep into the Wycombe penalty box. The ball dropped to Paul Benson, who took a knock with the ball going out. The resulting corner taken by Green claimed by the Wanderers keeper.
On 24 minutes, Mark Tyler’s slightly mis-kicked clearance found its way along the deck to the waiting Olly Lee. Picking up the ball, and making his way into the Wycombe area, Lee placed a ball nicely through to Mackail-Smith, who put a neat cross over the Benson on the far post – only for the resulting header to go just wide of Ingram’s goal into the Kenilworth Road spectators.
A few minutes later, on 29 minutes, former Hatter Michael Harriman made a surging run forward, setting up Hayes for a shot on target, but Tyler gathered neatly at the near post.
The next 10 minutes passed with very little in the way of incident – with neither team seemingly able to put together much in the way of flowing football.
On 42 minutes Mackail-Smith put a decent looking cross into the box from the right hand side, but the ball was gathered by the diving Ingram.
Then, two minutes later, just in front of the Luton keeper, Sean Long made a well-timed clearance from Hayes, who had picked up on a ball into the box from McCarthy after some good work down the right.
Moments later, Magnus Okuonghae made another valuable clearance, this time with his head, while under pressure from Pierre.
And so the first half ended goalless, and without much in the way of Boxing Day action.
With no changes for the Town at the start of the second half, play kicked off once more.
Early possession for the visitors almost causes Tyler a problem on 48 minutes as Thompson’s shot was well blocked by Jake Howells, sending the ball spinning out for a corner.
A minute later, Lee, struggling to get through a mêlée of Wycombe defenders goes on a run into the box, but is challenged sending him to the ground – but no foul.
Moments later – it was bad news for the Town as Wycombe took the lead. Harriman went on a jaunty run down the right hand side playing the ball to Thompson. Captain Scott Cuthbert was unable to cut the ball out, and with Tyler already diving to his left Thompson placed the ball in the back of the Luton net.
With a great deal more in the way of action in the second half, the atmosphere inside Kenilworth Road went up a notch. The Luton players responded, with a lovely passing move down the left. Howells played in Mackail Smith who went on a searching run into the Wycombe box, but eventually the move came to nothing.
A short break in play followed as the linesman on the far side took a tumble and received treatment from the Luton Physio. Unfortunately he was unable to continue, so the fourth official took his place on the line.
The break doesn’t help the Hatters, however, as a shout for a foul on Cameron McGeehan falls on deaf ears, and the ball runs free to Thompson with only Okuonghae to beat he puts a cross in for the waiting Hayes who gives the visitors a two-goal advantage.
Moments later, Mackail-Smith took a speculative shot from outside the Wycombe area, which sailed narrowly over the Wycombe bar once more.
With a two-goal deficit to overturn, and 20 minutes left, Andy Awford decided to throw caution to the wind, bringing on three attack minded players in the shape of Josh McQuoid for Alex Lawless, Jack Marriott for Paul Benson and Luke Guttridge replacing Danny Green.
The changes bring about a definite change in tempo, and a slick passing move between Howells and Mackail-Smith down the left, almost presents a chance for the Town, but once more it’s cut out by the Wycombe defence.
On 72 minutes Wycombe sensed a third goal, looking to put the game to bed, Thompson raced through but Cuthbert did well to get back and clear the danger. As the clock ticks down, once more Wycombe threaten a third, as Thompson lets fly with a rasper from the edge of the box but his effort flies over.
Then an opportunity for the Town to pull one back, with Guttridge putting a ball into the box, which finds McQuoid unmarked but he can't direct a header goalwards.
With the Town still two goals down, the fourth official raised the digital board, showing eight minutes of added time.
Late corner for the Town and Jake Howells takes – looping a left footed cross into the box – but once more the Wycombe defence hold firm.
In the dying seconds of the match a foul on Jack Marriot eight yards outside the area resulted in a free-kick. McGeehan stepped up to take it, but the ball was sent well wide of the target – and that was that on a disappointing idea.
Luton: Tyler, Cuthbert, Okuonghae, Long, Howells, Lawless (sub Green), McGeehan, Green (sub Guttridge), Lee, Benson (sub McQuoid), Mackail-Smith.
Subs not used: Smith, Griffiths, Justham, Musonda.