Fred Onyedinma’s poacher’s effort earned lower club Wycombe an unlikely 1-0 win with 10 men over Reading, seeking promotion.
It was only the Chairboys’ fifth win of the season and puts them eight points away from safety in the Championship, following a game that featured a red card for Ryan Tafazolli and missed penalties for both teams.
Lucas Joao initially failed on the spot for the Royals, who are still six points away from the automatic promotion spots, while Uche Ikpeazu’s fluff from 12 yards behind ultimately turned out not to be costly for the hosts.
Disregarding their humble stance, Wycombe came out firing with Onyedinma having the first shot angry when his effort in the turn from outside the box flew away.
It took Reading 18 minutes to forge their first chance as Ovie Ejaria played a nice pass to send Andy Rinomhota through, but Wycombe goalkeeper David Stockdale came out to make a really good block.
The hosts then had a good chance of a free kick, but Jordan Obita’s effort lacked power and was easily fielded by Rafael Cabral in Reading’s goal.
Stockdale, who was making his first home start for the Chairboys, then outdid himself a second time in the 33rd minute by superbly tipping a powerful upward drive from Ejaria over the bar.
The heroism of the 35-year-old made the game scoreless at halftime and his teammates took full advantage by taking the lead four minutes into the second half.
A sliced kick from Josh Knight was kept alive by Anthony Stewart’s header at the back post and Onyedinma leaned in to nod closely, with Rafael hesitating.
Reading was huffing and puffing in search of an equalizer and was just about to find one when Josh Laurent put in an effort right after being played by Joao.
The Royals then had an even better chance to level after receiving a penalty as Tafazolli, who was the last man, grabbed Rinomhota in the area and was quickly sent off.
However, Joao recovered the now exhausted hosts by sending his kick against the top of the bar.
Unsurprisingly, the Royals were now pressing hard and they were once again cursing their luck when the head of Tom Holmes from Michael Olise’s corner was tilted by David Wheeler.
Wycombe then missed a big chance to seal the points with five minutes remaining when Ikpeazu was rounded up in the box by Tom McIntyre, but the striker’s low penalty was comfortably saved by Rafael.
Undeterred, Gareth Ainsworth’s team held their own against all odds to keep their hopes of survival pretty much alive.
What the managers said …
Wycombe Gareth Ainsworth: “Of course you think it’s going to be tough now, playing with 10 men against a league team – a top five league team, not to mention nothing else. It was important that I keep my head straight thinking what I wanted We went to a five at the back so I could keep the three in midfield because I felt that was where they were really strong.
“That left us with only one at the top and I thought Uche (Ikpeazu) was fantastic. It was a real team effort – I have (Adebayo) Akinfenwa, who isn’t even in the squad and he screams louder than anyone. and that, to me, is Wycombe. This is who we are, we are together and no matter what, we will go out together in every game. I can’t wait for Sunday ( vs. Norwich) now. “
Reading Veljko Paunovic: “I think we had good situations and a lot of chances, apart from the penalty, but I think we also have to recognize our opponents for preventing us from scoring goals. On the other side we also have to recognize recognize that we have to work on being sharp with our finishes.
“Football is very emotional – we had guys crying in the locker room after the game because of the disappointment. We don’t want to let them do that because we have to bounce back in the next game. We have 14 opportunities ahead of us. . us and the next one is the next game, very soon. “