Relegation of Wycombe from the Sky Bet Championship has been confirmed, but they bowed out in style with a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside.
Gareth Ainsworth’s side have dropped down to League One after gaining promotion via the play-offs last season, despite recording their highest win of the season last afternoon.
Scores from Fred Onyedinma, Garath McCleary and Jason McCarthy ensured Wycombe went out with a bang, although their worse goal difference before kick-off meant they never had a realistic chance of safety.
Ainsworth’s side climbed to 22nd in the table – ahead of Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham – thanks to other results.
Middlesbrough’s season was effectively over when their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs were dashed last month. Neil Warnock may be disappointed with his side’s defeat on the final matchday, but he will focus his summer efforts on putting together a squad capable of successfully challenging for promotion next season.
His opposite number, Ainsworth, would certainly like to see the current season extended by another two or three games.
His Wycombe side had far too much to do after winning just two of their first 21 league games, but have managed to pull away with five wins from their last eight.
At the Riverside Stadium, they were superior from the start against Middlesbrough, scoring twice before the break and deserved an even bigger half-time lead.
The Chairboys opened the scoring in the 14th minute when the Boro backline was ripped open by Ryan Tafazolli. Onyedinma ran free on goal but his shot was deflected into the bottom left corner by Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jordan Archer.
Archer stopped Admiral Muskwe’s shot after the Wycombe striker had created space on the left side of the penalty area, and also made a brilliant save to prevent McCleary from putting the ball in the net after dribbling through the box.
McCleary’s industrious running caused problems for the Middlesbrough defense throughout the afternoon and the Jamaican extended his side’s lead eleven minutes before the break.
His pass found Uche Ikpeazu in the penalty area, and after the Wycombe striker ran past Grant Hall and laid the ball back from the touchline, McCleary continued his run and slotted the ball home from close range.
Wycombe almost got a third goal before the break when Onyedinma got around Hayden Coulson and fired a shot that went just over the bar. Middlesbrough had nothing left to play for, but Neil Warnock’s frustration was clear to see as he gave instructions in the dressing room.
By the break, the hosts had managed nothing more and Wycombe remained the dominant team.
Just before the break, the visitors scored their third goal when Tafazolli headed the ball across goal from a corner kick and McCarthy had only to nod in.
McCleary almost scored the fourth goal when he slipped past Coulson, but his shot was blocked by Jonny Howson.