Oct 27 2012 By Greg Burns at Adams Park
Wycombe 1-3 Oxford
INJURY-HIT Wycombe shipped three soft goals as they slumped to defeat against derby rivals Oxford.
Oxford ended a six game losing run away from the Kassam Stadium while Wycombe were unable to improve on their midweek toothless home draw with Barnet.
At least in that stalemate they kept a clean sheet and looked reasonably solid.
They looked anything but in this defeat and conceding at the start of both halves meant Wanderers were always chasing the game.
Their afternoon got off to a terrible start when a hopeful ball upfield was cushioned down by Yellows' striker Tom Craddock for strike partner James Constable to rifle in the opener after just three minutes.
Wycombe – missing key forwards and with Jo Kuffour limping off before half-time – struggled to create chances yet again.
It wasn't until just before the break that they tested Oxford stopper Ryan Clarke who was alert with a smart double save to deny Charles Dunne and Joel Grant.
And they shot themselves in the foot immediately from the restart when another punt upfield was enough to expose the Blues backline and allow Craddock to superbly rifle the ball into the top corner for 2-0.
A Blues lifeline arrived on 49 minutes when referee Neil Swarbrick pointed to the spot after Dave Winfield was fouled in the box.
Up stepped Grant to slot away his second penalty in three games and raise hopes of a Wycombe comeback.
For the first time in the game they had a sense of urgency and belief they could break down a stubborn and well-organised Oxford outfit.
That was until a blunder from Blues goalkeeper Nikki Bull gifted their derby rivals their third of the game on the hour mark.
Bull dropped the ball trying not to carry it out of play but the ball fell to Sean Rigg who crossed for John Mullins to head in on 61 minutes.
It drained the new-found resistance from Wanderers.
Grant flashed a shot wide with 20 minutes to play before fellow Blues midfielder Stuart Lewis drilled a half-volley narrowly over the bar on 77 minutes.
But defeat leaves Blues outside the bottom two on goal difference and with the question having to be asked - is the honeymoon period well and truly over for Gareth Ainsworth?
WANDERERS: Bull, Stewart, Doherty, Winfield, Dunne, Ainsworth (Morias 61), Lewis, Scowen, Wood (Spring 78), Grant, Kuffour (Logan 38).
Subs (not used): Harrison, Hause, Angol, Taylor.
Booked: Kuffour (20 mins), Lewis (22 mins).