York City 2, Wycombe Wanderers 0.
A DOMINANT first half display from York City condemned Wanderers to a second successive defeat that keeps them in the relegation mire.
Blues were simply swept aside in the first 45 minutes as the Minstermen demonstrated just how big a part confidence plays in football.
Heading into the game unbeaten in seven, winning five along the way, City attacked from the off and could have been in front well before Ryan Bowman’s eighth minute penalty opened the scoring.
Josh Carson effectively sealed things in first half stoppage time with a second – but it was a surprise it took so long for it to come.
And things went from bad to worse at the end for Wanderers as debutant Sam Togwell - who had earlier given away the penalty - picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time.
Home skipper Russell Penn led the York charge as he absolutely bossed the midfield, directing proceedings as City launched attack after attack down the channels.
On the rare occasions Wycombe did manage to send the ball forward it was gobbled up all too easily by Keith Lowe – unlucky to see a first half header disallowed – and John McCombe, who were able to send the ball back from whence it came with the minimum of fuss.
It was a worrying loss of form at just the wrong time for Wanderers, as they slowly inch back towards the dreaded drop zone after losing for the second time in the space of a week.
Blues had been warned to expect a workmanlike performance from their opponents, but they were outplayed as City showed they could play some good football as well.
They served notice of their intent in the very first minute as overlapping full back Lanre Oyebanjo broke down the right and pulled the ball back to Michael Coulson, whose effort from close range was blocked on the line by Marvin McCoy.
Coulson was at the heart of much of what City did in a lively start, putting in a tantalising low cross that was inches away from being touched home by Bowman before being crowded out by three Wanderers defenders as he looked to get a shot off.
And the hosts were rewarded for their positive start as they took an early lead. Togwell didn’t make the good impression he was looking for on his debut as he clumsily brought down Carson in the area, resulting in a penalty that was emphatically despatched into the bottom corner by Bowman.
The lead looked to have been doubled shortly afterwards as central defender Keith Lowe powerfully headed home Will Hayhurst’s corner but referee Steven Rushton disallowed it. With City players still celebrating what they assumed was a second goal Wanderers swiftly took the free kick, but Dean Morgan wasted their second chance as he shot wide.
City had Blues on the ropes early on as Hayhurst’s next corner delivery crashed back off the bar with Matt Ingram flapping at air and the impressive Coulson having a shot blocked by Anthony Stewart after ghosting into the area unchallenged.
York’s dangerman Coulson then latched onto an incisive through ball from Adam Reed before his cross was once more too far away from Bowman for it to be tapped home, and skipper Russell Penn curled wide from just outside the box as the hosts continued to dominate.
Little was seen from Wanderers from an attacking perspective and Nick Arnold rather summed things up by ballooning a rare opening for the visitors wildly over the bar.
Indeed it was a York player who came closest to getting Blues back on terms as Ben Davies only just cleared his own bar as he cleared an excellent cross from Arnold behind for a corner.
Sam Wood’s subsequent delivery from the set piece was dreadful, failing to beat the first man, and the ball was quickly played up to Carson. He strode forward and fired towards the bottom corner, and although Ingram got both hands to it he could only divert the ball into the top corner as City grabbed a second with the half time whistle imminent.
The second half didn’t bring with it a change in fortunes as Carson cleverly disguised his pass for Hayhurst, but the midfielder fluffed his lines and shot tamely at Ingram.
Gareth Ainsworth had seen enough already and reacted by replacing the ineffective Morgan with Steven Craig, and the Scotsman almost netted with his first touch as he jabbed Jo Kuffour’s pass goalwards only to be denied by a sharp low stop from keeper Nick Pope.
Craig’s presence at least meant the ball was now sticking up front for Wanderers but York continued to have the better of things as Hayhurst forced a mistake from Wood in his own penalty area, with the Blues defender relieved to see Ingram bail him out with a fine low save.
Chances started to dry up for the previously dominant hosts, with Hayhurst having an effort blocked by Leon Johnson.
Content their job was done York slacked off, and they almost paid for it as Craig latched onto a loose ball and crashed a shot against the post, and the striker wasn’t expecting the ball to drop back into his path as he scraped the rebound wide of the far post.
Things ended on a sour note as Togwell was handed his second yellow card of the game deep into stoppage time to land himself a suspension.
Wanderers: Ingram, McCoy, Johnson, Stewart, Wood, Togwell, Arnold, Bloomfield, Kretzschma (sub Jeffrey), Kuffour (sub Styche), Morgan (sub Craig). Substitutes not used: Horlock, Pittman, Kewley-Graham, Pierre.
Attendance: 3,455 (248 from Wycombe)