League Two - 2nd Leg
WycombeWycombe Wanderers2PlymouthPlymouth Argyle1

Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 Plymouth Argyle (agg 5-3)

By Phil ShepkaBBC Sport at Adams Park
Paul Hayes opens the scoring for Wycombe
Paul Hayes hooked in his second goal of the tie to open the scoring

Wycombe Wanderers secured a League Two play-off final against Southend at Wembley after narrowly beating Plymouth at Adams Park to win 5-3 on aggregate.

Leading 3-2 after the first leg, the Chairboys extended their aggregate advantage when forward Paul Hayes scored from close range.

Defender Alfie Mawson headed in a corner to double the lead on the night.

Ryan Brunt's clever finish gave Argyle some hope, but Wycombe held out to claim a famous victory.

The result extends Plymouth's stay in the fourth tier into a fourth year, but represents a remarkable turnaround for Wycombe under manager Gareth Ainsworth, after needing a final-day victory over Torquay to stay in the Football League last season.

Ainsworth will want to replace his own Wembley memories, having lost to Wycombe as a 21-year-old midfielder for Preston in 1994 - the last time the Chairboys achieved promotion via the play-offs - with positive ones.

His side could not have had a better start to the second leg, when Argyle goalkeeper Luke McCormick failed to deal with Sam Saunders' corner, allowing Hayes to score on the turn.

Sam Saunders
Sam Saunders missed a chance at 1-0 - but it proved to be less important than he feared

It was Hayes' third goal this season against the club he failed to score for in seven games on loan, and he came close to a second, but McCormick did well to deny first Aaron Holloway and then Hayes' tame rebound.

The 31-year-old was causing all sorts of problems, and McCormick needed to be on hand to turn another scuffed effort wide.

But from the resulting corner Mawson headed in at the near post as the hosts stretched their advantage to three goals.

Plymouth boss John Sheridan used all three substitutes at half-time, bringing on forwards Brunt, Jason Banton and Zak Ansah in a bid for an unlikely victory.

Banton, who scored in the first leg, almost got his side on the scoresheet but his cross-shot hit the bar and bounced out.

Plymouth were pressing hard, and their pressure told when subs Ansah and Brunt combined for the latter to cheekily flick a shot home to bring them within two goals of Wycombe's aggregate score.

Ansah was then denied brilliantly by goalkeeper Alex Lynch, before Hayes curled just wide for the hosts.

Wycombe held on, despite Brunt wasting a late chance, to reach Wembley and set up a chance to end their three-year League Two stay, leading to a pitch invasion as the final whistle blew.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth:

"You don't get lucky in these two games, you earn what you get and after two tough legs I want to pay tribute to my players because I felt they handled the situation extremely well.

"I thought the mental side was the most important thing today after what happened down at Home Park, with Plymouth ending in the ascendency. I had to get the mental side right before the game because the physical side is there.

"We played really well in the first half, it was a complete performance which got us a lead that was a mountain to climb for Plymouth in the second half.

"But again the scare came - they scored and worked a good goal, but I thought we defended really well."

Plymouth boss John Sheridan:

"I'm just really disappointed in how we performed in the first half given the situation we were in. The first half was probably the worst performance from any team I've managed.

"We're in a position where we're going into the play-offs and we know the importance of it and we just did not get going.

"In the second half we had a go at it and tried to get something, we put three subs on at the same time and I thought in the second half their keeper's made some good saves.

"We're all down at the moment - it's hard to take the defeat because it's a great chance gone missing."

Alfie Mawson
Alfie Mawson's (r) goal took the tie out of Plymouth's reach
Anthony O'Connor fouls Sam Wood
The tackles flew in with so much at stake for both clubs
Aaron Pierre with Wycombe fans
It's selfie time for Wycombe defender Aaron Pierre as the Adams Park pitch is engulfed by joyous home fans



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 21Lynch
  • 8Bean
  • 26Mawson
  • 6Pierre
  • 3Jacobson
  • 4Yennaris
  • 11Wood
  • 9HayesSubstituted forMcClureat 85'minutes
  • 7Saunders
  • 31EphraimSubstituted forOnyedinmaat 86'minutes
  • 25Holloway


  • 10Bloomfield
  • 15Murphy
  • 16Fletcher
  • 19McClure
  • 20Horlock
  • 22Kretzschmar
  • 23Onyedinma


Formation 3-5-2

  • 23McCormick
  • 5Nelson
  • 16McHughSubstituted forAnsahat 45'minutes
  • 29HartleyBooked at 90mins
  • 2MellorBooked at 79mins
  • 17Reid
  • 19O'ConnorBooked at 31mins
  • 11BlizzardSubstituted forBantonat 45'minutes
  • 13Holmes-Dennis
  • 7Alessandra
  • 9ReidSubstituted forBruntat 45'minutes


  • 1Bittner
  • 3Purrington
  • 8Banton
  • 14Harvey
  • 20Jones
  • 27Ansah
  • 28Brunt
Nigel Miller

Match Stats

Home TeamWycombeAway TeamPlymouth
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Wycombe Wanderers 2, Plymouth Argyle 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Wycombe Wanderers 2, Plymouth Argyle 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryan Brunt (Plymouth Argyle) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Bobby Reid with a cross following a corner.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Joe Jacobson.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jason Banton (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Sam Saunders.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Alexander Lynch.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sam Saunders (Wycombe Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left from a direct free kick.

  9. Booking

    Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle).

  11. Post update

    Aaron Holloway (Wycombe Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Bobby Reid (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Peter Hartley.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryan Brunt (Plymouth Argyle) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Bobby Reid with a cross.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Sam Wood.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Wycombe Wanderers. Fred Onyedinma replaces Hogan Ephraim.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Wycombe Wanderers. Matt McClure replaces Paul Hayes because of an injury.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Jason Banton (Plymouth Argyle).

  18. Post update

    Sam Saunders (Wycombe Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Paul Hayes (Wycombe Wanderers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Aaron Pierre.

  20. Booking

    Kelvin Mellor (Plymouth Argyle) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

As It Stood

13Oxford Utd461516155049161
14Dag & Red46178215859-159
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