Report: Swindon 1 Wycombe 0 (from WWFC)

Yves Ma-Kalambay

Wanderers succumbed to a second 1-0 loss to Swindon Town in 10 days, this time in the Checkatrade Trophy, as they exited the competition at the group stage.

Matt Preston headed home the only goal of the game with three minutes remaining after the Robins had resisted a strong spell of Wycombe pressure at the start of the second half.

Gareth Ainsworth named himself on the bench while Yves Ma-Kalambay was handed a debut between the sticks and Luke O’Nien, Matt Bloomfield, Paris Cowan-Hall and Dayle Southwell were given the opportunity to get vital minutes under their belts.

In a cagey opening period, chances were few and far between despite plenty of industry from both frontlines, but it was the defences who found themselves on top with neither keeper being tested.

Ma-Kalambay routinely held a free-kick from Paul Mullin while Cowan-Hall flashed a shot wide under pressure from just inside the area, before Ebere Eze drilled over the top after juggling the ball neatly 15 yards out.

Adam El-Abd deflected Kaiyne Woolery’s powerful effort wide before the break, while there was more energy at the beginning of the second period, with Dayle Southwell forcing two saves from Reice Charles-Cook before Matt Bloomfield’s excellent low shot was well held.

At the other end, Kaiyne Woolery was caught in two minds as he raced onto a through-ball and opted to place it beyond Ma-Kalambay with the outside of his right boot rather than strike it with power, and saw the ball trickle a couple of yards wide of the far post.

Cowan-Hall had a shot saved and Eze curled one wide, both from distance, before Kellan Gordon blasted over on his left foot after Woolery did well to lay it into his path.

Then came a speculative bicycle kick from Cowan-Hall when Southwell’s cross looped up towards him on the penalty spot, but Charles-Cook was equal to it, and substitute Harry Smith fizzed a shot just wide of the far stick as chances began to present themselves for both sides.

Keshi Anderson flicked the ball wide from Timi Elsnik’s curling free-kick, but there was a concern when Adam El-Abd hurt himself whilst challenging the forward and Marcus Bean was required to come on in his place in the centre of defence.

Swindon’s second substitute John Goddard let fly from 20 yards but was denied by Ma-Kalambay, and the keeper tipped the same player’s shot behind for a corner, from which Keshi Anderson hooked a loose ball over the top from close range.

Sam Saunders replaced Nick Freeman as Wanderers shifted to a diamond in midfield with 11 minutes remaining, and as the Robins’ pressure increased, Ma-Kalambay tipped Donal McDermott’s free-kick over the bar and held Smith’s low shot from the corner of the box.

But there were only three minutes left on the clock when Matt Preston broke the deadlock, losing his marker to send a bullet header past Ma-Kalambay from an inswinging free-kick.

Wanderers applied late pressure in a bid to find an equaliser to take the game to penalties, with Eze’s low drive being saved in the finals seconds, but their defeat coupled with West Ham’s win at Bristol Rovers sends Wycombe out of the competition at the group stage, with still one game against the Hammers to play.

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