The Hatters made it through to the second round of the Emirates FA Cup with a comfortable 2-0 win over fellow Sky Bet League One club at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.
Andrew Shinnie marked his 50th appearance for the club with the opener four minutes before half-time, then Harry Cornick joined the Scot on three goals for the season to seal their passage through to Monday night’s draw with just under 20 minutes to go.
The win made it five games unbeaten in all competitions for Jones’ side, who have now gone 15 matches without defeat at Kenilworth Road since Accrington won here last March.
Jones made one change to his starting line-up from last week’s goalless draw at Rochdale, with Cornick coming in from the start as Danny Hylton served the first game of his three-match suspension (four including Checkatrade Trophy) for his sending off in Lancashire.
That meant James Shea was in goal, behind a back four of Jack Stacey, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley and James Justin. Glen Rea anchored the midfield alongside Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Shinnie and Elliot Lee, with Cornick up front alongside James Collins.
The Town started like a train, Cornick racing onto a short back-pass from Joe Jacobson in the second minute, only to be denied by a good save by Ryan Allsop as he let fly from 18 yards.
Collins was next to have a go on five minutes, although his 25-yarder was too high, as the Hatters zipped the ball about on a surface soaked by a pre-match downpour.
Cornick fizzed a low ball across the penalty area that no-one could get on the end of before Shea had to race out of his box to make a block tackle on Alex Samuel and set the Hatters playing again.
Wycombe had a sight of goal on 18 minutes when Jason McCarthy’s right-wing cross found Fred Onyedinma, but the on-loan Millwall striker’s header looped harmlessly over Shea’s crossbar.
The Hatters were the side playing on the front foot though, and Bradley headed Justin’s 25th minute corner narrowly wide before Lee sent a 25-yard free-kick to almost exactly the same part of the advertising board after Cornick had been fouled by McCarthy three minutes later.
McCarthy became the first into referee Craig Hicks’ notepad in the 34th minute when he took Justin out as the Hatters full-back flew down the left after another long spell of Town possession.
The breakthrough deservedly came four minutes before the break, and the move started with Bradley instantly controlling a difficult ball pinged back to him inside his own area by Shinnie.
The centre-half showed great composure, not to mention footwork, to keep the ball and trigger a passing sequence that, apart from Marcus Bean briefly intercepting for Wycombe on the Town left, soon switched to the right wing where Mpanzu fired a wonderful pass to find Shinnie.
The Scottish midfielder drifted inside and unleashed a beauty of a left-footed shot that arced around Allsop and in off the far post from 25 yards.
Shinnie turned architect three minutes later, finding himself in exactly the same position but this time slipping Collins into the area, and although the striker looked to have marked his 400th career appearance with a superb finish, the flag was already up for offside and it remained 1-0 going into half-time.
Bradley, who was a rock all afternoon alongside the equally obdurate Pearson, came close to opening his Hatters account three minutes after the break when he met Justin’s left-wing corner with a thumping header that Dominic Gape headed off the line.
Shinnie soon hobbled off, to be replaced by Jorge Grant on his return from injury, and Wycombe had a couple of openings – Samuel cutting back for Gape to scuff his shot well wide, before Shea made a comfortable save from Paris Cowan-Hall.
On the hour the Hatters went close again, Pearson getting an initial shot away from Justin’s low corner, which landed at the feet of Lee, who swivelled and fired towards goal, but Allsop pulled off a terrific block.
Lee wriggled his way across the edge of the penalty area to fashion a shooting chance on 67 minutes, and after his effort was deflected wide, Rea met Grant’s corner but couldn’t direct his header on target.
Wycombe made a double substitution with just over 20 minutes to go, introducing former Hatters striker Craig Mackail-Smith and Randell Williams in attack for Samuel and Cowan-Hall.
But it was the Town who went two goals to the good in the 72nd minute, with Chairboys skipper Adam El-Abd presenting the opportunity on a plate to Cornick.
The centre-half appeared unaware of the former Bournemouth man lurking behind him as he back-heeled it in the vague direction of his goalkeeper from 25 yards out. Cornick snapped up the chance, firing across Allsop and into the far corner for his third goal of the season.
Almost immediately Shea was forced into a good save at his near post by Williams, but Grant was soon crossing dangerously towards Collins at the other end, then – after McCarthy had headed it behind – the on-loan Nottingham Forest midfielder saw a 25-yard free-kick deflected just over the bar after Lee had been fouled by Bean.
Collins had a hooked effort cleared off the line on 77 minutes, but the Hatters were comfortably seeing the game out until Pearson fired a low shot on goal, then produced a tremendous block on Mackail-Smith at the other end in injury-time.
Kazenga LuaLua, who had come on for man-of-the-match Lee with three minutes of normal time left, called Allsop into action one final time with seconds remaining, but the Hatters didn't need the extra buffer, they were already safely through as ball number 35 in Monday's draw with a thoroughly professional performance.
TOWN: Shea, Stacey, Pearson, Bradley, Justin, Rea (c), Mpanzu, Shinnie (Grant 52), Lee (LuaLua 87), Cornick, Collins. Subs: Stech, McCormack, Jarvis, Jones, Sheehan.
Goals: Shinnie 41, Cornick 72
WYCOMBE: Allsop, Jombati, Jacobson, Gape, El-Abd (c), Bean (Kashket 85), Cowan-Hall (Williams 69), Thompson, Onyedinma, Samuel (Mackail-Smith 69), McCarthy. Subs: Stewart, Yates (GK), Freeman.
Yellows: McCarthy, Bean
REFEREE: Craig Hicks
ATT: 5,343 (786 away)