Wycombe booked their place in the League One play-off final with a 6-3 aggregate victory over Fleetwood, following a 2-2 draw in the semi-final second leg at Adams Park.
Danny Andrew marked his return to the starting line-up by reducing the aggregate deficit (22), but a mistake from Harry Souttar allowed Fred Onyedinma to slide past Town goalkeeper Alex Cairns and level the tie on the night (47).
Repeating his exploits from the first leg, Ched Evans calmly dispatched a penalty after a foul from Joe Jacobson on Barrie McKay (60) but Onyedinma sealed the victory in style late on (90+4) putting a comeback out of reach.
Gareth Ainsworth’s men will now face Oxford in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium on Monday, July 13, where the two teams will face off for a place in the Sky Bet Championship.
How Wycombe booked their place at Wembley
Despite seeing his side suffer a heavy defeat on their own patch in the first leg, there was no sense of resignation from Fleetwood boss Joey Barton and his determination was reflected in his team, who stamped their intentions on the game midway through the first half.
McKay kept a hopeful cross alive and forced Anthony Stewart to head away, yet his clearance fell perfectly into the path of Andrew, who rifled a shot beyond Chairboys stopper Ryan Allsop and into the bottom-left corner.
The Chairboys continued on the back foot, but having reached the play-offs with the lowest average possession of any side in League One this season (41 per cent), this was nothing new. They were, however, slightly fortunate when McKay’s shot appeared to hit Stewart’s arm shortly afterwards.
Seconds after the break, Wycombe were handed a gift. Australian international Souttar looked to have dealt with the threat of Onyedinma after a surging run down the left flank, but as he turned to clear, he passed the ball into the path of the former Millwall forward, who reacted rapidly to tap home.
A cool spot-kick from Evans maintained the belief in the visitors, but the impressive Onyedinma had the final say in stoppage time, when he slipped past two Fleetwood defenders on his way to bending a low effort into the back of the net.
Man of the match – Darius Charles
Staring at the possibility of his professional career being ended by a serious hip injury in the not-too-distant past, the defender might never have imagined he could be playing for a place in the Championship for the first time in his 15-year professional career.
To prevent aggravation to the injury, Charles’ game-time is closely monitored by the club’s medical staff, but despite two hectic games in three days, he showed just why Gareth Ainsworth has continued to put faith in him, with a commanding display alongside Anthony Stewart in the heart of defence that helped keep a lively Fleetwood frontline from putting the Chairboys’ Wembley date in jeopardy.
What the managers said…
Wycombe’s Gareth Ainsworth: “Where this place has come from, where we were, is unbelievable and the players deserve all the credit. We had a real test tonight, one of the best footballing teams I’ve seen at Wycombe. They’ve got a good thing going at Fleetwood. Fred Onyedinma relieved the pressure with his second because, believe me, I still thought we could be caught. They deserve it and I’m so, so proud.
“We will have a big study on what we are going to do and how we are going to go forward but there are a few legs that need a rest for the minute. Next Monday we’re one game away from dreamland. For this club, it’s amazing and I’m so proud to be the manager.”
Fleetwood’s Joey Barton: “We knew that it was going to be tough after the opening skirmishes and giving two goals away in six minutes [in the first leg] which we haven’t done in the entirety of the season, but it is what it is. I must give massive credit to Wycombe. Gareth and his boys earned that over two legs and now they have a chance of getting into the Championship, which is an incredible achievement.
“It would have been easy to come here and just roll over because of the enormity of the task. I’m really proud of my players tonight.”