Port Vale boss Darren Moore blamed his relegation-threatened side’s dramatic 2-1 home defeat to Wycombe on a lack of concentration at the back.

Vale’s League One existence now hangs in the balance after a late Nigel Lonwijk strike means they are three points from safety with just two games left.

Wycombe took the lead in the fourth minute when David Wheeler was first to react after Connor Ripley had saved a close-range header from Sam Vokes.

Wanderers could have been two ahead just moments later as Wheeler again found himself free with just Ripley to beat, only to see his effort drift wide.

Vale’s only real effort of the first period fell to Ethan Chislett, whose long-range volley was spectacularly pushed over by Franco Ravizzoli in the Wycombe goal.

The home side began the second period brightly and were level just two minutes after the restart when Chislett slotted past Ravizzoli after finding himself in acres of space.

But with Vale pushing for that all-important winner in their battle to beat the drop, it was Lonwijk who popped up at the other end to win it for Wycombe and heap more misery on Moore’s men.

Moore said: “It was disappointing because you don’t want to lose a game in that manner.

“I really felt like we were in the ascendancy and if we kept our concentration we could get a chance to win the game, but we fell to a really late goal that absolutely knocked the stuffing out of the boys.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb after conceding that early goal and got back into the game early in the second half through Chislett to really give ourselves momentum and hope.

“I still felt that a chance was going to drop our way but what I didn’t envisage was our lapse of concentration at the back that has led to their goal.

“We’ve got two games remaining and we know what to do, we’ve got to dust ourselves down and get ready for another tough game on Saturday.”

Wycombe claimed a second consecutive away win.

Boss Matt Bloomfield said: “I’m disappointed we weren’t further ahead if I’m honest. We could have been three-up after 10 minutes and could and should have been out of sight.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game as Port Vale are fighting for their lives and have got some really good players, so to find an early goal and a late winner, I’m delighted.

“We needed to start the game on the front foot and the game plan was coming off and it wasn’t until the second half that they managed to break us down, but to find the character to go and get the winner was really pleasing.

“I stood on the touchline thinking this was a war of attrition and it was tough to get out at times, but we had fresh legs on the bench so I’m really pleased with the performance of the whole squad.”

Port Vale are right up against it as they battle to avoid relegation from League One following a 2-1 defeat to Wycombe at Vale Park.

Ethan Chislett cancelled out David Wheeler’s opener for the visitors before Nigel Lonwijk scored a late winner, leaving Darren Moore’s side three points from safety with two games of the season left.

Dale Taylor could have opened the scoring for Wycombe after just 40 seconds when he pounced on a defensive error and slid the ball wide from the edge of the area.

Wanderers were ahead just three minutes later, however, when Wheeler was in the right place to blast the ball home after Connor Ripley denied Sam Vokes.

The home side responded well after the early setback and would have been level in the ninth minute had Franco Ravizzoli not made a great save to push Chislett’s effort over the bar.

It was Vale who started brightest after the break and were level just two minutes into the second half when Chislett found himself in space before slotting the ball past Ravizzoli.

The closing stages saw Vale going all out for the win with Jensen Weir coming close on a couple of occasions before Lonwijk sealed victory for Wanderers with only four minutes remaining.

Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield was full of praise for Luke Leahy after his side returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory at Shrewsbury.

The hosts went down to 10 men with just over 20 minutes remaining when Tom Flanagan made a dangerous challenge on Joe Low.

The Chairboys found the breakthrough through ex-Salopian captain Leahy in the 83rd minute after he stroked home a superbly-worked free-kick from the edge of the box.

Wycombe doubled their advantage in stoppage time after Garath McCleary teed up Richard Kone to tap home and leave Shrewsbury six points above the bottom four.

Bloomfield said: “It was a fairly scrappy game, the pitch was playing quite slow and it has been a long and emotional week for us.

“The sending-off happened and sparked the game into life a little bit.

“I thought we took the two goals extremely well and it’s very fitting for Luke – it was always going to happen.

“We made him captain today because he puts so much into our football club in terms of his performances and his personality and character.

“It was his 500th appearance on Wednesday evening and today it just felt right he led us out and he scored a goal as well. I know how fondly he remembers his time at Shrewsbury.

“Kone has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He hasn’t done that recently as much as I would of liked.

“It was a huge step up in terms of level and his performances have been very good.”

Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst was left annoyed by his side’s performance.

He said: “I can see and hear the fans’ anger a little bit in the game but at the end of the game I can’t stand here and say I don’t agree with them.

“It is hard to put into words in truth what we have witnessed. As the game goes on, it was a nothing performance and I am not going to stand here and defend it or lie about it.

“People that were here have certainly seen what they witnessed and it was a performance far from good enough.

“It is a silly and ridiculous challenge and it’s a sending-off.

“The only bit I can say, and it still doesn’t defend it in the slightest and I am really not tempting to, is these sort of situations can occur when free-kicks are not given.

“That one (Leahy goal) which I thought was the important one again, we don’t seem to be getting the rub of the green with any referring decisions.”

Shrewsbury’s relegation fears continue to grow after goals from Luke Leahy and Richard Kone earned Wycombe a 2-0 win at the Croud Meadow.

The host went close in a first half devoid of action after a mix-up between goalkeeper Franco Ravizzoli and Joe Low but Dan Udoh saw his effort blocked.

The first opportunity of the second period came when Tom Bloxham ran through on goal. The forward found Udoh in the box but his strike was cleared for a corner by Ravizzoli.

Shrewsbury went down to 10 men with just over 20 minutes remaining when Tom Flanagan made a dangerous challenge on Low.

The Chairboys found the breakthrough through ex-Salopian captain Leahy in the 83rd minute after he stroked home a superbly-worked free-kick from the edge of the box.

Wycombe doubled their advantage in stoppage time after Garath McCleary teed up Kone to tap home and leave Shrewsbury six points above the bottom four.

Derby boss Paul Warne felt a goalless draw against mid-table Wycombe represented a good point despite its implication in the race for promotion in League One.

The Rams missed the chance to put distance between themselves and Bolton in the hunt for automatic promotion to the Championship.

Derby could not make early pressure pay and were forced to withstand a barrage of chances from the Chairboys in a stalemate that left the Rams two points clear of Bolton having played one game more.

“It’s frustrating,” Warne said. “We’ve got three games left and the players want it so badly that it could impact their performance.

“First half we looked good as we created chances and we passed the ball really well, but we missed two absolute sitters and we need to take one of them.

“The longer the game goes, the harder it is and we were lucky to not lose so this might be a really good point for us.

“It’s that time of the season when teams are fighting for promotion and relegation so the pressure mounts.

“These people aren’t robots, but we need to be a bit more patient, breathe and play the way we’ve played.

“I thought we forced things and there were times I saw individuals rather than a team, not through selfishness, but by someone trying to grab the game to make that moment happen but we didn’t have it.”

Derby almost took the lead within two minutes as Wycombe defender Ryan Tafazolli’s header nearly went past Franco Ravizzoli in goal.

Four minutes later, Derby missed a gilt-edged chance of their own making as Corey Blackett-Taylor shot wide in front of an open net having been set up by Conor Washington.

Washington was then denied by a block from Jack Grimmer before the resulting set-piece from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was tipped over the bar.

From there, Wycombe grew into the game but failed to properly test Joe Wildsmith in the Rams net as Beryly Lubala and Kieran Sadlier were two of several home players to send attempts wide.

Conor Hourihane and James Collins went close for Derby with seconds remaining.

Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield said: “We were a bit shaky for the first 15 minutes or so, but we woke up and played very well for the next 75 minutes.

“We played against a team, and rightly so, who are playing for a place in the Championship.

“They’ve got loads of experience but I thought we were excellent as we got a clean sheet and on another night, we could have won it.

“I believe we could be higher than where we are and tonight we’ve gone toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the league.”

Derby’s push for automatic promotion to the Championship took a hit after they drew 0-0 away at mid-table Wycombe.

The Rams, who have three matches remaining, stay in second but sit just two points ahead of Bolton, who have a game in hand.

The visitors nearly took the lead in the opening two minutes when a Ryan Tafazolli header almost crept past his own goalkeeper, Franco Ravizzoli.

This started an onslaught of Derby attacks as Corey Blackett-Taylor missed an open goal from a Conor Washington cross inside six minutes.

The latter then had his attempt blocked by Jack Grimmer 10 minutes later before Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s resulting corner nearly snuck in, but Ravizzoli tipped the set-piece over.

Wycombe had several chances but nothing that tested Joe Wildsmith in the Rams goal as Beryly Lubala and Kieran Sadlier fired their attempts wide of the mark.

The second half was on a knife-edge, as Joe Low and Gideon Kodua had Wycombe’s best attempts, with Conor Hourihane and James Collins going close for Derby in the final few moments but to no avail.

Portsmouth assistant Jon Harley is not focused on promotion despite a 3-1 victory at Wycombe moving the Sky Bet League One leaders closer to the Championship.

Pompey moved 11 points clear of third-placed Bolton following a stylish performance at Adams Park, in which top scorer Colby Bishop scored twice to make it 18 goals for the season.

Eight points from their remaining six games are required for Pompey to seal their return to the second tier after a 12-year absence, with a top-of-the-table clash with Derby to come on Tuesday night.

Harley, in charge on the touchline due to John Mousinho’s ban, said: “I don’t think that (promotion) is something we really want to talk about too much.

“As boring as it sounds, we’ve got a massive game against Derby coming up, so we just focus on that.

“I think if we focus on one game at a time, then the rest will take care of itself.

“Obviously, there is that going on in the back of our minds, we just want to get there as soon as we can and Derby becomes our next focus.

“The gaffer came down at half-time and had a few words and the key message, really, was let’s show some more energy.

“We knew it was going to be a fight in the second half and everyone stood up to it.

“The energy really rose and I think the game got wrapped up and in the last 20 minutes we felt really comfortable.”

Portsmouth led after three minutes when Bishop’s shot went in via a big deflection off Ryan Tafazolli, but Wycombe quickly levelled through Matt Butcher’s assured finish.

Bishop then doubled his tally after 28 minutes by steering in Abu Kamara’s low cross before Christian Saydee made sure of victory midway through the second half.

Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield said: “I felt we weren’t at our best, but we’ve gone pretty close.

“We had a couple of chances when we were 2-1 down – we hit the bar and had another couple of moments and if one of those goes in at 2-2, I really fancy us at home to have a good last half an hour.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and we had a bit of a sucker punch to go 3-1 down, which took the wind out of our sails a little bit.

“Portsmouth are at the top of the league for a reason.

“They’ve got some good players in forward areas who can hurt you at any moment and in Colby Bishop I think you’ll do well to find a better nine in the league.

“They’ve got some real good players and they’re a benchmark of where we want to get to.”

Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield hailed January signing Matt Butcher’s brilliance after his second-half brace sealed a 2-0 win over Northampton.

Butcher’s double – his first goals for the club – also completed a hat-trick of victories for Wycombe, although he waited until the 69th minute to break the deadlock.

Bloomfield insists the win is a wider reflection on Wycombe’s positive direction, though he remained fully focused on Sky Bet League One despite the fact they have a Wembley final against Peterborough next month.

He said: “As soon as I heard a whisper he (Butcher) was available I knew we had to get him.

“He’s been fantastic since coming to the football club and exactly what we needed.

“There’s been a lot of exciting news lately. There’s been too much talk of Wembley for my liking because I want to focus on these league games.

“The board have been amazing in their support and the hard work behind the scenes to provide better times ahead for this football club.

“I always felt our performances weren’t far away and now the work the boys have put in all season is being rewarded with wins.

“It was a stop-start first half, but in the second we found a spark and fresh energy.

“The boys that came on off the bench did that for us and that’s their job.

“I’m really pleased with the performance and the result. We’ve started to get the results that our performances have deserved.”

In contrast, one win in seven games makes for poor reading in the latter part of Northampton’s season.

Boss Jon Brady insisted he does not want the defeat to signal an end to his side’s campaign as their dismal recent form leaves little to fight for.

He said: “I said to the boys I think it’s a mindset. I don’t want the season to drift, I want to finish strong.

“The game was scrappy. You come to Wycombe and you know you’ll have to battle and fight.

“I thought there was nothing in the game until the first goal and it was a very soft goal, as was the second.

“We come away very frustrated on the day.

“The second one was looped into the back corner and it should be saved, but there you go.

“We had little half chances, but not much more than that. The differences are in both boxes. We shouldn’t concede those two goals.

“Even if we aren’t scoring at the other end, we should come out of that game 0-0.

“We got ourselves in a good position, but we need to be better and get our edge.

“I feel that we’ve lost our edge in our mindset and our play as well.”

Matt Butcher bagged a brace as Wycombe made it a hat-trick of league wins with a 2-0 victory over Northampton.

The mid-table clash looked destined to peter out into a dour draw before Butcher lit up Adams Park with his first and second league goals for the club.

Home goalkeeper Franco Ravizzoli was the first to be tested as he kept out Tony Springett’s effort low to his left.

Louie Moulden denied Freddie Potts a goal to savour from 25 yards after Gideon Kodua headed the ball into his path.

After the break, Dale Taylor was denied by the visiting keeper.

But the deadlock was broken in the 69th minute as Kieran Sadlier took a quick throw to Butcher, who drove into the box and fired into the far corner.

Down the other end, Ravizzoli kept out Kieron Bowie one-on-one.

Butcher’s second was even better as he curled home a fine strike, after being found by Sadlier again, with five minutes to go.

Wycombe manager Matt Bloomfield saw his faith in Franco Ravizzoli repaid in his side’s 1-0 victory over Wigan in what turned out to be a tale of two goalkeepers.

A mid-table clash in Sky Bet League One was decided by an own goal from Sam Tickle, who has been enjoying a successful first season as Latics’ first choice.

His opposite number, Ravizzoli, then made sure the Chairboys won for the third time in four games with three fine saves in stoppage time.

The Argentinian was preferred to Max Stryjek despite his availability after suspension, and Bloomfield said: “I feel like my words to the players are ‘if you’re in possession (of your place) and you perform well, then you deserve to stay in’.

“So I had an opportunity tonight to back up my words with my actions and I felt like it was the right thing to do.

“Franco was fantastic on Saturday at Reading, he really helped us get the victory and there was no way he deserved to be left out tonight.

“Maxie was fully respectful of that, he’s obviously been fantastic for us this season and last season as well, but as with anything in sport you respect when someone’s performed well.

“He’s backed him up well tonight and he’s really played his part, as have all the squad. I thought Franco was excellent.

“I have to be really pleased with the resilience – I think it was a very ‘Wycombe’ defensive display.”

The home side’s winner came after 19 minutes when Josh Scowen’s mishit low cross was fumbled into his own net by Tickle at his near post.

Wigan grew stronger the longer the match wore on but were frustrated three times at the death as Ravizzoli denied Thelo Aasgaard, Charlie Hughes and Jordan Jones.

Latics boss Shaun Maloney said: “Second half we did everything but score, I can’t fault the players in the second half.

“I’m sorry for the fans that I can’t give them at least something to head back with.

“I think they could see the players’ performance and the team’s performance, but the first half cost us.

“The second half was excellent, really good, that’s how I want a Wigan team to play.

“The first half was opposite: everything was slow, everything was comfortable.

“It was a big mistake from our goalkeeper but Sam’s been incredible this season. I’ve said this numerous times, so that’s just an incident that can happen.

“Our general play was really poor, I was really unhappy at half-time, but the players that came on were excellent.

“It’s difficult to sit there after the game with how we played second half and not win the game, but also understand it was the first half that cost us.”

An own goal by Wigan goalkeeper Sam Tickle decided a low-key encounter as Wycombe claimed a 1-0 win at Adams Park.

The game may not live long in the memory, but the Chairboys celebrated a third win in four games that moved them level on points with their visitors.

Wycombe were gifted the lead after 19 minutes when Josh Scowen’s mishit low cross from the right was fumbled into his own net by Tickle at his near post.

The Chairboys almost doubled their advantage in the second minute of the second half as Beryly Lubala headed a peach of a free-kick from Luke Leahy just wide.

Wigan improved and pressed hard for an equaliser, with Thelo Aasgaard and Charlie Kelman both sending presentable headed chances off-target.

The closest Latics came to snatching a point was in the first minute of stoppage time when Jordan Jones teed up Aasgaard, whose header was brilliantly saved by Franco Ravizzoli.

Reading manager Ruben Selles called on his side to rediscover that “extra percentage” after they failed to capitalise on their second-half dominance in the 2-1 defeat at home to Wycombe.

Wanderers went ahead early on through a superb overhead kick from on-loan defender Nigel Lonwijk but Reading equalised with 16 minutes left thanks to Sam Smith’s 10th goal of the season.

However, the visitors then clinched a dramatic 88th-minute victory when Beryly Lubala netted a penalty after Clinton Mola had clumsily fouled Chem Campbell in the home area.

“We are creating and putting ourselves in situations to score,” Selles said. “But we need to find that extra percentage at the end to make the chances count, to make the goals.

“We were not near to being ourselves in the first half. We suffered in certain situations that we should not have suffered.

“We were disconnected in some of those moments, but in the second half we were the team who wanted to do things. We were the best team on the pitch.

“Sometimes that happens in football, when you don’t play well for all of the 90 or 100 minutes, but we were able to come back, to get it to 1-1. And then from one of Wycombe’s few attacks in the second half, it came down to that penalty that we could have easily avoided.

”The atmosphere was fantastic, the crowd was with us even though we were not at our best in the first half.

“In the second half, you could feel it every time we were approaching the goal and when we scored. The environment was really good.”

Wycombe picked up their second win in six league matches, much to the delight of manager Matt Bloomfield.

“I thought that we were absolutely excellent in the first half. Maybe as good as we have been in my tenure here for 45 minutes. We were very good,” he said.

“We could have been further ahead and I was slightly disappointed at half-time that we weren’t.

“It was never going to be the same in the second half and Reading used their athleticism a lot once the game had spaced out.

“They used that incredibly well, we knew that they are a good team.

“We had to dig in at times but we then managed to find a special moment at the end [Lubala’s penalty]. That was incredibly pleasing.

“It was disappointing to give their goal away from a set-piece situation and we knew then that we had to transition into more of a low block.

“It was a case of protecting the space behind us. The athleticism that Reading have was causing us issues.

“As well as a growing team, I want us to be a winning team.”

Wycombe claimed a dramatic 2-1 victory at Reading in their League One clash thanks to a late penalty from Beryly Lubala.

After the scrappiest of openings, from both sides, Wycombe went ahead after 16 minutes in spectacular style through defender Nigel Lonwijk.

The centre-back, scoring a first goal for Wanderers, took advantage of slack home marking with a superb overhead kick.

Reading lacked any threat going forward and Wycombe could have doubled their lead before the break, only for Kieran Sadlier to blaze over from a Garath McCleary cross.

The hosts improved after the interval, with Tyler Bindon almost levelling when nodding against a post from a cross from substitute Charlie Savage.

Sam Smith was then denied by Wanderers keeper Franco Ravizzolo from a tight angle but did better later when rising to meet a Femi Azeez cross to head home his 10th goal of the season.

However, Lubala snatched the points for Wanderers in the 88th minute, converting from the spot after Reading defender Clinton Mola had clumsily felled Chem Campbell in the area.

Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield blamed his side’s ill-discipline for their 4-2 loss to promotion-chasers Barnsley.

The Chairboys twice let a lead slip before substitute David Wheeler was sent off as the Reds completed a resounding comeback.

Dale Taylor and Kieran Sadlier twice put Wycombe ahead, only for Sam Cosgrove and Donovan Pines to respond each time before Corey O’Keeffe and Conor Grant secured the victory.

“Where was it lost? Slight lack of discipline, I think,” Bloomfield said. “There were a couple of soft goals that were entirely preventable from our side, so that feeds into it, and obviously the sending-off doesn’t help.

“I still fancied us at 3-2 down, but obviously with 10 men it’s tough.

“A few things contributed, maybe a slight bit of fatigue crept in with some of our decision-making at times defensively.

“I thought we started the game extremely well. For 30-35 minutes to play like we did against a team that’s looking to try and get up automatically, we have to be pleased with that, but we’re not pleased because we want to win the game.”

Taylor’s 16th-minute opener was cancelled out by an equaliser in first-half stoppage time from Cosgrove, who netted the rebound from a Luca Connell free-kick.

Sadlier then tapped home after good build-up play from Garath McCleary to restore the hosts’ lead, but only for four minutes.

Pines bundled the ball home before O’Keeffe put Barnsley into the lead for the first time with 65 minutes gone.

Wheeler saw red less than a minute after coming on for a heavy tackle on O’Keeffe and the Tykes made certain of their win with a thumping effort from Grant.

Barnsley boss Neill Collins said: “The resilience they’ve shown after going behind and then going behind again, to come back was fantastic.

“The quality of our play when we put it together caused Wycombe real problems. We created some really good moments and the quality of a couple of our goals was excellent.

“So I think overall, coming away from home against a team that’s made it really difficult for teams at home recently is all positive.

“I think we were the victims of our downfall with respect to the two goals we gave away and then when we did go 4-2 in the lead we contrived to give up two or three chances just from poor choices.

“But in the end we regrouped and saw it out pretty comfortably. There’s more positives than negatives of course.”

Barnsley won for the third game in a row as they beat 10-man Wycombe 4-2 at Adams Park.

Dale Taylor had put the Chairboys ahead before Sam Cosgrove equalised for the visitors.

Kieran Sadlier restored Wycombe’s lead, only for goals from Donovan Pines and Corey O’Keeffe to turn the game in Barnsley’s favour.

The hosts then saw David Wheeler sent off seconds after coming on, with Conor Grant thumping in a fourth.

Wycombe struck first when Taylor reacted quickest to a half-cleared cross and placed a first-time strike into Liam Roberts’ net.

But the visitors equalised in first-half stoppage time when Cosgrove scored the rebound after Luca Connell’s free-kick hit the crossbar.

Wycombe regained the lead just after half-time as Garath McCleary slid the ball back for Sadlier to tap home.

But the lead was brief as Pines bundled in a corner to equalise and the visitors then went ahead when O’Keeffe turned in a deflected cross.

Wheeler was sent off for a heavy tackle on O’Keeffe before substitute Grant slammed the ball home to complete the scoring.

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