Wycombe took control of their Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final as they beat 10-man MK Dons 2-0 in the first leg on Thursday night.
Ryan Tafazolli’s header late in the first half put the Chairboys in front at Adams Park, while Josh McEachran’s dismissal left MK at a disadvantage, before Sam Vokes scored a late header for the home side.
It leaves Liam Manning’s side, who just missed out on automatic promotion, with a mountain to climb in the second leg on Sunday evening.
Wycombe take charge of tie
It was a clash of styles from the off, and there wasn’t too much surprise in seeing MK take control in the early stages. Scott Twine – the Sky Bet League One Player of the Year – created an opportunity for strike partner Troy Parrott on 15 minutes with a fine through pass, only for the Tottenham loanee to bend his effort wide from just inside the box.
Wycombe soon grew into the game, though, and slowly built the pressure on their opponents before taking the lead on 39 minutes. A brilliant Joe Jacobson corner found the head of Tafazolli, who rose in the six-yard box to nod in.
MK tried to battle their way back into the game, but were left with 10 men with 21 minutes to go as McEachran picked up a second yellow card for a poor challenge on Josh Scowen, just a few minutes after he had been needlessly booked for a push during a melee between the two sides.
And they took advantage of their extra man to double their lead on 82 minutes, as Vokes played the ball into Garath McCleary before getting into the middle and heading in the resulting cross to send the home fans wild.
What the managers said…
Wycombe’s Gareth Ainsworth: “It’s really important to say it’s only half-time. I made my players aware before the game that we had a lot of play-off experience and that would count. We’re off to MK on Sunday and we’ll have a similar outlook and play the same way.
“But they are a dangerous animal now. They are 2-0 down and have nothing to lose, whereas we are usually the underdogs being Wycombe. But the boys were fantastic tonight, we’re really proud of them.”
MK Dons’ Liam Manning: “It was a tough game. We started really well, first 30 minutes we played to our style and caused them problems. Then obviously with Wycombe what they have got they are so dangerous and we saw that with the first goal, then after that we stopped doing what we needed to do to be successful, and got drawn into a physical battle.
“But we are still in it and there is a lot of football to play. We need to impose our game because we won’t beat Wycombe at their style of play. But we’ve shown over this season we can bounce back, and you have to see that challenge as an opportunity.”
Man of the Match – Sam Vokes
Lee Hendrie on Sky Sports Football:
“He led the line and worked hard, in particularly in the second half. He capped a brilliant performance with a super goal.”
The second leg of the semi-final is on Sunday from 6pm on Sky Sports Football, with kick-off at 6.30pm.