Wycombe Wanderers 3, Burton Albion 0.
MATT McClure bagged a brace for the second match in a row as Wanderers’ revival continued against ten man Burton.
He showed he could be the penalty box poacher Blues have been lacking this season as he twice reacted quickest to fire home the rebound from blocked Joel Grant shots.
McClure’s goals bookended a penalty from Grant, with Burton having their captain Zander Diamond dismissed for a poorly-timed tackle on a wet pitch.
Fortune looks like it’s finally smiling on Wycombe, as they got the result their positive performance deserved to claim a second win in succession.
Albion proved to be poor opposition as Wanderers cruised to only their second win on home soil all season.
That was thanks to a rock solid defensive display that gave the Brewers’ forward line nothing, fine attacking displays down both flanks with Grant back to his brilliant best and an masterclass in penalty box play from McClure.
Early chances were few and far between as both sides struggled to get going at a rain-soaked Adams Park, with former Wanderers loanee Chris Palmer the first to fire a shot in anger but it lacked the power to trouble Jordan Archer.
Blues’ first opening of the game resulted in a goal as they took the lead on 12 minutes. McClure laid the ball off to Grant and hesitant defending from Brewers’ skipper Diamond enabled the five-goal winger to get a shot off.
Visiting keeper Dean Lyness did well to turn away Grant’s low effort but he was powerless to prevent McClure from bundling the rebound in from close range for his third goal this week, as the 21-year-old built on his brace at Rotherham on Tuesday.
A lung-bursting run from Bruno Andrade almost saw Wanderers double their advantage. The Portuguese winger won the ball from Jacques Maghoma with a crunching tackle before racing away to the edge of the box, only to be denied when he struck the base of the post with Lyness beaten.
Burton’s fightback extended only as far as forcing a number of corners that were calmly dealt with by the rock steady Dave Winfield, although Archer reacted well to beat the slippery ball away following Billy Kee’s shot.
The conditions made things difficult for the keepers and Archer needed two goes to hold on to Palmer’s swerving free-kick, recovering to clutch it as the Burton cavalry charge arrived eager to tuck away the rebound.
All of Burton’s last 17 goals have all been scored in the second half of matches but Wanderers were first out the traps after the break, as Morgan smacked a shot from a narrow angle against the post with Lyness beaten all ends up.
Fans were allowed some breathing space ten minutes into the second half with a Wanderers penalty, when McClure was sent tumbling to the ground by Diamond’s rash challenge as he looked to get onto the end of Sam Wood’s incisive pass.
A red card for the Albion skipper followed and Grant stepped up to coolly despatch the resultant spot kick, sending the ball into the opposite corner Lyness was diving towards.
A third wasn’t long in coming as Grant’s header was cleared off the line but nobody in a yellow and black shirt tracked McClure, and the youngster, now full of confidence, smashed home the rebound.
Such was the way he was playing, the Northern Ireland U21 international will have been disappointed to have planted a header from Jesse Kewley-Graham’s inviting cross inches the wrong side of the post, thereby missing out on claiming a hat trick.
Youngster Junior Morias then came close to his maiden Blues goal when a great pass from Ade Azeez – signed on loan from Charlton Athletic on Thursday – sent him free, but Lyness stood up to foil him one-on-one.
The result moves Wanderers up to 19th in the table and they finally look to be moving in the right direction.
Wanderers: Archer, Lewis, Winfield, Johnson, Wood, Grant (sub Azeez), Scowen (sub Ehui), Kewley-Graham, Andrade, Morgan, McClure (sub Morias). Substitutes not used: Harrison, Ainsworth, Oli, Hause.