Wycombe Wanderers 1 Fleetwood Town 0: Match report

Paddy Madden
Paddy Madden

Fleetwood Town ended the League One season with a 1-0 defeat at Wycombe Wanderers.

This season might have ended in defeat but there are glimmers of hope for the 2019-20 season if Town can keep hold of their prize assets and secure the signatures of some of their loan stars.

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton made one change to the side that beat Sunderland 2-1 last time out.

Eddie Clarke moved to the bench as Jack Sowerby returning to the starting XI.

That move saw Town shift formation to a flat back four with Hubsand at left back, Eastham and Coyle in the centre and Burns at right back.

Coyle was also given the captain's armband on what could be his last game for the club.

The defender's loan spell from Leeds United is set to expire and he was given the honour in the absence of Ched Evans and Craig Morgan.

Jack Sowerby, Ross Wallace and Harrison Biggins started in Town's midfield three with Paddy Madden, Ash Hunter and Ashley Nadesan up front.

Evans and Harry Souttar did recover in time from their knocks to feature with their loan spells from Sheffield United and Stoke City coming to an end.

Wycombe were all but mathematically safe from the drop before kick-off with Fleetwood Town accepting their slot in mid-table mediocrity.

Given that nature of the table it was understandable that the first half was one for the flip-flops in totally tropical conditions.

And it was strange that the weather foretold the fortunes of both sides.

The pre-match hail gave way to bright blue skies and sunshine.

When the sun was shining Wycombe dominated and when the rain started lashing down Fleetwood had control.

It was Wycombe who started brightly with Scott Kashket threatening to open the scoring in just the second minute.

His chip beat Cairns but Burns was on hand to clear off the line.

Matt Bloomfield saw his volley kept out by Cairns but then as the heavens opened Fleetwood Town woke up.

Ashley Nadesan broke clear but after his electric pace saw him sprint one-on-one with Allsop his finish was tame with the Wycombe stopper collecting his effort.

Ash Hunter then pounced in the box but Allsop again was on hand to bat away his curling effort.

But as the rain faded away Wycombe came back to end the half strongly.

Jason McCarthy's effort crashed into the post with Cairns beaten but that was to be the last clear cut chance as the half ambled to a close.

In the second 45 Barton shifted formation to a back three with Burns and Hunter deployed in wing-back positions.

And Town dominated the second half with Burns and Hunter given more freedom to impact the game.

The chances flowed for Paddy Madden but the Town hit-man was unable to reach that 20 goal mark.

He started the day on 19 and could have finished with the match ball in the second half.

He blasted over Nadesan's pull-back but then Wycombe fought back with Cairns needed at his cat-like best to come off his line and stop Alex Samuel.

Burns saw his angled effort stopped by Allsop at the near post with Hunter stinging the keeper's palms soon after.

Coyle fired wide and Allsop thwarted Madden by just diverting his effort away.

Town saw shouts for a penalty waved away as Ash Eastham looked to have been felled at the back post.

But the referee waved it away and Wycombe went up the other end and scored.

Joe Jacobson's corner flew all the way home with Town's shouts for a foul on Cairns falling on deaf ears in the 75th minute.

Town were left to rue their missed opportunities but they did not give up.

Barton had thrown Barry Town signing Macauley Southam-Hales and returning Chester loan star Dan Mooney on for their EFL debuts with Barry Baggley also entering the fray in the closing stages.

And Town continued to attack.

Hunter wasted a golden opportunity, as he fired over unmarked in the box.

Madden fired wide and then his header was stopped by Allsop.

Town should have left Wycombe with three points but having wasted opportunities they were left kicking themselves.

Heartening though to see keeper Alex Cairns sent up for a last gasp corner.

There might have been nothing to play for but that shows the fighting spirit of this team.

They did not give up, it was a performance full of flair that perhaps typified Fleetwood's season.

Bright spells, dark spells, at times fantastic football but overall a day tinged with disappointment.

But as the sun beamed down at full-time there is hope, especially with his youth policy that Barton is building something special.

Wycombe: Allsop, Jacobson, Gape, El-Abd, Bean, Bloomfield. Kashket, Harriman, Akinfenwa, Samuel, McCarthy. Subs: Ma-Kalambay, Stewart, Cowan-Hall, Owens, Bolton, Freeman, Frempah.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Burns, Coyle, Eastham, Husband, Biggins, Sowerby, R Wallace, Hunter, Madden, Nadesan. Subs: P Jones, Clarke, Southam-Hales, Baggley, Hill, Mooney, Smith.

Referee: Lee Swabey