League Two - 1st Leg
PlymouthPlymouth Argyle2WycombeWycombe Wanderers3

Plymouth Argyle 2-3 Wycombe Wanderers

By James LawBBC Sport at Home Park
Steven Craig
Steven Craig netted the third goal for Wycombe after a quickly taken free-kick

Wycombe Wanderers won the first leg of their League Two play-off semi-final at Plymouth, but two late goals have given Argyle hope of victory in the tie.

Wycombe's front three - Paul Hayes, Aaron Holloway and Steven Craig - all netted before the hour mark to put the visitors in complete control.

But Zak Ansah and Jason Banton both scored for Plymouth in the last five minutes to keep the tie alive.

The second leg takes place on Thursday at Adams Park.

For long periods, it seemed Wycombe - who finished 13 points and three places ahead of Plymouth in the final league table - would go into that match with their place at Wembley on 23 May almost guaranteed, but there is still work for them to do.

Wanderers narrowly missed out on automatic promotion despite boasting the best away record in the Football League, while the Pilgrims only confirmed their play-off place with a final-day victory at promoted Shrewsbury and are looking to end their four-year absence from League One.

Form guide
Plymouth suffered their first home defeat since losing to Bury in February.
Wycombe have lost just one of their last 18 away matches in all competitions.

Plymouth started the stronger but Wycombe went ahead when Hayes, who had a goalless seven-game loan spell at Argyle in 2013, showed predatory instincts to score after Alfie Mawson's close-range header was parried by Luke McCormick.

A potential turning point came midway through the first half when Craig appeared to use his hand to cushion the ball for 22-year-old Holloway, who swept the ball home from 20 yards for 2-0.

Plymouth's players protested to no avail, and although the hosts dominated possession and territory in the first half, they did not test goalkeeper Alex Lynch - who was making his first senior start for Wycombe - enough in the opening 45 minutes.

Early in the second half, Wycombe further increased their lead when Craig was left completely unmarked from a quick free-kick and he smartly finished past McCormick at the near post.

Wycombe appeared to be in charge and the game was petering out, but a piece of magic from Ansah turned the game around.

The youngster, who is on loan from Charlton, unleashed a swerving effort from 30 yards, giving Lynch no chance.

It visibly lifted the Plymouth players and fans and, in the 89th minute, substitute Banton clipped in speculatively and the ball crept inside the far post.

Despite defeat, the full-time whistle was greeted with cheers by the home crowd and Plymouth will have momentum heading into Thursday's second leg.

Plymouth manager John Sheridan told Sky Sports: "We made it tough. I was pleased with the way we played in the first half, but to find ourselves 2-0 down, we were struggling and then you go three (down) and you're down and out.

"But credit to the players, they responded well and they've given us a chance. We can go there believing. It's 3-2 and we're right back in the tie now."

Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth: "What a game. Our fans were fantastic. A one-goal lead we've got going into the next leg - we'd have taken that this morning.

"At times it looked like we could have had a 3-0 lead but nobody has come here and done that to Plymouth. I'm really proud of the boys. I knew they'd have chances and they took them well.

"We start again on Thursday. We're going to have to cut out the mistakes and capitalise at the other end."

Gareth Ainsworth
Gareth Ainsworth's Wycombe have lost only one of their last 18 away matches in all competitions
Paul Hayes
Paul Hayes netted the opener for Wycombe against his former club Plymouth
Jason Banton's late goal means Plymouth are only one goal behind heading into Thursday's second leg
Luke McCormick
Plymouth goalkeeper Luke McCormick showed his despair after Argyle's defeat
Wycombe hope to go up via the play-offs after missing out on automatic promotion by one point



Formation 3-5-2

  • 23McCormick
  • 5Nelson
  • 16McHughBooked at 28minsSubstituted forAnsahat 53'minutes
  • 29HartleyBooked at 23mins
  • 2Mellor
  • 20JonesSubstituted forBantonat 53'minutes
  • 17Reid
  • 19O'ConnorBooked at 58mins
  • 13Holmes-Dennis
  • 9ReidSubstituted forBruntat 65'minutes
  • 7AlessandraBooked at 72mins


  • 1Bittner
  • 3Purrington
  • 8Banton
  • 11Blizzard
  • 14Harvey
  • 27Ansah
  • 28Brunt


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 21Lynch
  • 8Bean
  • 26Mawson
  • 6Pierre
  • 3Jacobson
  • 4Yennaris
  • 11Wood
  • 25HollowaySubstituted forMurphyat 77'minutes
  • 7SaundersBooked at 45mins
  • 12CraigSubstituted forOnyedinmaat 71'minutes
  • 9HayesSubstituted forBloomfieldat 45'minutes


  • 10Bloomfield
  • 15Murphy
  • 16Fletcher
  • 20Horlock
  • 22Kretzschmar
  • 23Onyedinma
  • 31Ephraim
Peter Bankes

Match Stats

Home TeamPlymouthAway TeamWycombe
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Plymouth Argyle 2, Wycombe Wanderers 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Plymouth Argyle 2, Wycombe Wanderers 3.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Jason Banton (Plymouth Argyle).

  4. Post update

    Marcus Bean (Wycombe Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Tareiq Holmes-Dennis (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Fred Onyedinma (Wycombe Wanderers).

  7. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  8. Post update

    Delay in match Nico Yennaris (Wycombe Wanderers) because of an injury.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Brunt (Plymouth Argyle).

  10. Post update

    Nico Yennaris (Wycombe Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Brunt (Plymouth Argyle).

  12. Post update

    Sam Saunders (Wycombe Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  13. Goal!

    Goal! Plymouth Argyle 2, Wycombe Wanderers 3. Jason Banton (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kelvin Mellor with a cross.

  14. Goal!

    Goal! Plymouth Argyle 1, Wycombe Wanderers 3. Zak Ansah (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lewis Alessandra with a headed pass.

  15. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  16. Post update

    Delay in match Sam Saunders (Wycombe Wanderers) because of an injury.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryan Brunt (Plymouth Argyle) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Bobby Reid with a cross following a set piece situation.

  18. Post update

    Lewis Alessandra (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Joe Jacobson (Wycombe Wanderers).

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Wycombe Wanderers. Peter Murphy replaces Aaron Holloway.

As It Stood

13Oxford Utd461516155049161
14Dag & Red46178215859-159
View full League Two table

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