Wycombe Wanderers 3, Carlisle United 1.
WANDERERS began their Adams Park season with a bang as they swept Carlisle away with three second half goals.
Aaron Pierre’s header, a penalty from skipper Paul Hayes and Peter Murphy’s second goal in two league matches ensured Wycombe kept up their 100 per cent start to the new campaign with an accomplished win.
Carlisle had drawn level within two minutes of Pierre’s opener as Brad Potts, the liveliest and most creative of the visiting players, slotted home from six yards.
But it was the only black mark against Wanderers as they saw off a side relegated from League One with something to spare.
It’s been all change around Adams Park; not just in terms of personal, with three new signings all getting on the scoresheet, but also in terms of style of play, application and attitude.
Paris Cowan-Hall showed some sparkling wing play at times, the industrious Murphy hoovered up every loose ball in midfield and man of the match Hayes led the visiting back four a merry dance throughout.
Such was their dominance United were left chasing shadows and Alex Marrow’s late dismissal only served to underline the chastening the Cumbrians had been given.
They had an early glimmer of the hosts’ goal as indecision at the back allowed Potts to break clear of the home defence and Matt Ingram denied him twice, parrying his first effort before getting a touch on the follow-up to turn it round the post.
Sido Jombati continued where he left off against Millwall as he strode forward to good effect and sent over a cross that Murphy crashed against the bar from six yards, before Hayes’ opportunistic 25 yard volley found the Carlisle fans behind the goal rather than the back of the net.
Cowan-Hall got into a more presentable shooting chance with a volley after Matt McClure had intelligently nodded another fine delivery into his path, but the winger made a hash of it and blazed it high and wide.
Wanderers were starting to turn the screw as McClure curled an effort inches wide of the post with keeper Mark Gillespie scrambling, before Cowan-Hall killed an Ingram stone dead with a superbly deft first touch before snatching the chance wide with his second, having found himself clear of the visiting defence.
Hayes managed to work Gillespie, forcing the keeper to stretch and cling on to his effort, but the Blues skipper was clearly having his shirt pulled by Courtney Meppen-Walter before and during the action of getting his shot off.
Keen to get more of a hold on the game Carlisle boss Graham Kavanagh made a double substitution at half time as captain Gary Dicker and Matty Robson were both removed in favour of Pat Brough and former Ireland international Stephen Elliott, but it made little difference as Cowan-Hall scooped over within a minute of the restart and Wood placed his shot a shade too high from a McClure pass.
Brough’s first involvement in the game was to clear a Wood cross-shot off the line, but there was nothing he or the rest of the Carlisle defence could do from the midfielder’s next delivery as it produced the opening goal. Wood played a short corner to Hayes and swung the ball into the area, where Pierre climbed above the defence to power a header into the net.
It was a lead that was short lived however, as two minutes later Elliott broke past the home defence and latched onto a pass, and although he was forced out wide by the angle of the ball he was still able to stand up a cross into the corridor of uncertainty for Potts to bundle home the Cumbrians’ first goal of the season.
As they might have done last season, heads didn’t drop in the Wanderers ranks and they went back on the attack almost immediately as McClure clipped a shot narrowly wide of the far post.
But United had been buoyed by bouncing back straight away from falling behind and debutant Kyle Dempsey did all the hard work by skipping past the challenges of Jombati and Alfie Mawson before scuffing his end product tamely into the keeper’s hands.
Wanderers though continued to be the more adventurous though and had the chance to go back in front as O’Hanlon carelessly handled Ingram’s long ball into the box and gave away a penalty. It was an opportunity Blues didn’t pass up on, as Hayes coolly despatched the spot kick into the opposite corner to the one Gillespie was diving towards.
Just as had been the case earlier another goal followed straightaway but Blues weren’t about to make the same mistake of giving away the lead as easily as they made the game safe. Hayes was again involved as he collected Cowan-Hall’s channel ball and flighted the ball over to the far post for Murphy to effortlessly nod home.
Carlisle’s frustrations were summed up as Marrow brainlessly kicked out at Max Kretzschmar and received his second booking with the game already over.
Wanderers: Ingram, Jombati, Pierre, Mawson, Jacobson, Cowan-Hall (sub Rowe), Murphy, Kretzschmar, Wood, Hayes (sub Craig), McClure (sub Holloway). Substitutes not used: Richardson, Morias, Bloomfield, Walker.
Attendance: 3,121 (310 from Carlisle)