OH football how we have missed you.
Wycombe took one massive step into a Wembley final after a truly bonkers and thrills ’n spills League One play-off at Fleetwood.
Joey Barton’s Fleetwood were thumped by Wycombe Wanderers in the League One Play-Off first-leg [/caption]
Wycombe Wanderers Alex Samuel celebrates scoring his side’s fourth of the night after a pulsating contest[/caption]
We had three goals in the first six minutes, two red cards, a saved penalty, two more strikes and a smoke canister thrown on to the pitch.
It felt last night it had not just been football that has been put on hold all these months – but winter had been released from lockdown too.
The wintery gale-forced chilly conditions at Highbury were the sort you would expect in February. This was proper football weather in July.
And Wycombe stunned the Cod Army after just 90 SECONDS.
David Wheeler won a header from a long ball forward, Fleetwood failed to clear and on-loan Bournemouth striker Nnamdi Ofoborh fired home an absolute low belter from 25 yards.
It was the Nigerian Under-20 star’s first-ever senior goal.
But that lead only last a couple of minutes after ref Tony Harrington awarded Fleetwood a penalty.
He adjudged that keeper Ryan Allsop had fouled Lewis Gibson.
It was a soft one – but Che Evans rolled the ball into the left corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.
David Wheeler (left) scores his Wycombe’s third as they took a giant stride towards Wembley[/caption]
A fan of Fleetwood Town managed to halt the game by throwing a smoke bomb on to the pitch from over the stand[/caption]
The wind was causing huge problems and in a crazy start Wycombe were soon back in front.
Joe Jacobson took a corner from the right side – and in the gusty conditions the ball went straight in with keeper Alex Cairns flapping and pushing it into his own net.
With the wind favouring Wycombe in the first half, it was worth having a pop whenever possible.
And Jacobson was not too far away moments later with a ferocious free-kick.
Ofoborh then tried his luck again from distance but this time his effort was deflected wide.
And then came the game’s big flashpoint in the 33rd-minute when Lewie Coyle was sent off for bringing down Jacobson.
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It seemed a harsh decision as Coyle appeared to get a bit of the ball but was sent off for his follow through.
And the Wycombe defender stepped up to belt a penalty– but incredibly Cairns saved it to his left before also saving Wheeler’s follow-up.
But there was no denying the Chairboys from moving 3-1 up in first-half stoppage time.
Jack Grimmer’s shot was deflected into the path of Wheeler – and the free-signing from QPR smashed it home from 20 yards.
And the tie could almost have been killed by the Wycombe grabbing a fourth – thanks to another goalkeeping howler by Cairns.
The Fleetwood keeper dropped a long punt into the box and the ball fell to Alex Samuel, who had the easy task of rolling the ball into an empty net.
And the 10-man Cod Army were in real danger of being overrun but Cairns this time managed to save one – blocking from Jack Grimmer who was clean through.
With seven minutes left, Fleetwood’s night went from bad to worse when sub Paddy Madden was sent off.
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Madden thought he should have had a penalty after falling under a challenge from Darius Charles – but he was booked for diving.
But, in the aftermath of the booking, he stormed over to remonstrate with the linesman and was shown red for dissent. Madden kicked an advertising hoarding before being led away by a member of the Fleetwood coaching staff.
Incredibly, despite no fans being present, a red smoke canister was thrown on to the pitch, believed to be over a fence from outside the stadium.
A bonkers evening and why we love football.