01:41PM, Wednesday 08 July 2020
Wycombe Wanderers are one win away from being a Championship club after marching past Fleetwood Town to reach the League 1 play-off final.
The Chairboys didn’t have things all their own way in Monday’s 2-2 draw at Adams Park, but went through to meet Oxford United in next Monday’s final at Wembley after winning 6-3 on aggregate.
Their 4-1 first leg win over Joey Barton’s Fleetwood laid the groundwork for this semi-final success, but Barton said before kick-off his side weren’t out of contention and they made the perfect start when Danny Andrew netted in the first half.
However, the Chairboys effectively put the tie to bed when Fred Onyedinma restored Wycombe’s three goal cushion early in the second half. Fleetwood regained their lead on the night with a Ched Evans penalty, but they failed to convert any further chances and Onyedinma added a second in stoppage time to make it 6-3 on aggregate and see Gareth Ainsworth’s side cruise through.
Oxford United now stand in the way of the Chairboys and promotion to the second tier of English football for the first time. The contest is already being referred to as ‘the M40 final’. The U’s narrowly beat Portsmouth on penalties in the other semi-final which finished 2-2 on aggregate.
Afterwards Ainsworth said: “"I can't thank the boys enough, their efforts have just been phenomenal all week, all four weeks since they got back from lockdown all they've been focusing on doing is being their best and I asked them to be better than they were on Friday.
"It was a tough ask but they've defended unbelievably against what I would say is the best away footballing team we've had down here all season."
"We defended really well, it's about those headers, those moments in front of your own goal that you'll die for to defend and I've got this pack that will die for each other out there."
Barton told BBC Radio Lancashire: "I asked the lads to respond and give a good account of themselves and I thought they did that.
"First leg the damage was done really and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb, but I thought that performance really showed how tight-knit we are as a group and we'll come back stronger.
"Over two legs, Wycombe deserved to go through finding the back of the net six times and you can't begrudge that.
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