Wycombe Wanderers 5, Hartlepool United 0.

WHAT a difference a week can make.

Wanderers’ new-look team put Hartlepool to the sword as they exorcised the demons of the two dismal defeats that had preceded it with a crushing victory.

Paul Hayes and Gary Doherty – both signed on loan from Charlton 24 hours before the game – were both on target inside the first ten minutes as Blues threatened to run riot from the off.

Stuart Beavon put Blues three up by half time as they looked a side totally transformed from the one that had slumped to the bottom of the table.

More goals for Hayes and Beavon followed after the break as the belief Wanderers can stay up came flooding back.

They played with a confidence and swagger that has been missing for so long as they sliced the visitors apart time and again.

Fears the team could take a while to gel with so many new faces – Gary Waddock made a total of six changes from last week – proved unfounded as one of the debutants, Hayes, opened the scoring after just five minutes. Picking the ball up just inside the Hartlepool he left Sam Collins for dead despite the defender having a considerable head start on him and was through on goal.

Visiting keeper Scott Flinders kept out his initial shot but could do nothing to stop the striker from rolling it home from a narrow angle at the second attempt.

Not to be outdone Hayes’ Charlton Athletic team-mate Doherty doubled the lead five minutes later. Hayes’ shot took a nick off a defender and went behind from a corner, which was emphatically headed home by the former Spurs man when the kick came in.

Hartlepool peppered the home goal with half-hearted attempts that were no trouble for Nikki Bull to deal with, but Wanderers looked fired up for this one.

They were a side transformed from the limp display at Walsall last week as Doherty won every header, Stuart Lewis and Craig Eastmond covered every blade of grass in an energetic engine room display and the front two of Hayes and Beavon had Pools constantly on the back foot.

Hayes laid on a peach of a pass for the advancing Grant Basey, but Flinders came out to make a brave block at the full-back’s feet.

In more familiar surroundings Basey then hurled himself at the ball to stop Antony Sweeney from halving the deficit, with the striker having the goal at his mercy before the left-back’s intervention.

That piece of defending was exemplary compared to what Basey’s opposite number Evan Horwood produced as Beavon effectively killed the game off before half time. Horwood made a total hash of a ball dropping from the sky and Beavon was on it like a flash, and he poked it beyond Flinders for his 15th goal of the season.

Pools boss Neale Cooper was incandescent with rage at his players as the half time whistle blew, grabbing hold of some of them and shoving them down the tunnel to give them the mother of all rollickings in the dressing room.

His mood didn’t lighten as Wanderers made a confident start to the second period, with Anthony McNamee flashing a volley off target and Beavon shooting narrowly over after Flinders miskicked straight to him.

Then a second moment of comedy from Pools’ goalkeeper gifted Blues a fourth. Flinders booted the ball against the retreating Hayes’ back and it rebounded into Beavon’s path, and Wanderers’ top scorer rolled it across goal for his new strike partner to tap home.

Hartlepool at least started to threaten even though it was far too late by this stage, with substitute Paul Murray almost having an instant impact but he saw his effort expertly cleared off the line by Marvin McCoy.

The same player then blazed over the roof of the stand – which his manager was at least able to give a wry smile to – before Nikki Bull was finally forced into action with a fine block from Neil Austin’s curling effort.

A goal looked likely as Pools started to crank up the pressure but when it did come it arrived from a Wanderers player, and a familiar name on the scoresheet. Beavon’s tenacity saw him win the ball back in the visiting penalty area and the striker then doubled back on himself before finding the net via the post.

The floodgates had now well and truly opened and it was a question of how many Blues would score as Basey’s curling free-kick bounced back off the bar and McNamee bent one into Flinders’ midriff.

In the end Wanderers missed out on setting a new club record victory for a Football League win as substitute Matt McClure glanced a header off target with the game’s final chance.

Wanderers: Bull, McCoy, Laing, Doherty, Basey, Hackett, Lewis, Eastmond (sub Bloomfield), McNamee, Hayes (sub Strevens), Beavon (sub McClure). Substitutes not used: Foster, Ainsworth.

Attendance: 4,408