Phil Parkinson’s Sunderland tenure got off to a terrible start with a yet another poor performance in the lads third defeat of the season.
Darius Charles’ strike in the first half was enough to seal the points in a poor game at Adams Park. Sunderland in truth, never looked like finishing past Ryan Allsop in the Wycombe goal. It was stop start game which suited the Chairboy’s to the ground.
Before kick-off the new boss made a few big calls as Lee Burge made his first league start replacing out of form Jon McLaughlin, Duncan Watmore made a surprise return to the first team and Aiden McGeady returned to the starting 11 in place of Chris Maguire.
Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth was high up in Stewart Donald’s list for a new manager and added another intriguing element in an already big fixture for the promotion places in League One.
Sunderland had the first chance of the game with McGeady cutting in on from the left, but his shot from the edge of the area was just over the bar.
Sunderland had the ball in the back of the net as Charlie Wyke put home Denver Hume’s cross, but the linesman lifted his flag to deny the lads.
It was a real physical game and it was no surprise that Wycombe were trying to bully and beat the lads in a physical battle.
Joe Jacobson’s free-kick in a dangerous area forced Burge into a good stop as the keeper clawed it away and denied Wycombe from taking the lead.
Wycombe scored the opening goal 30 minutes into the game as a freekick was played into the box to Adebayo Akinfenwa who knocked it down to Darius Charles and finished it high into the top corner leaving Burge with no chance.
The hosts almost made it two from another set-piece as it was cleared to Nick Freeman whose effort was drilled just wide of the post.
Wycombe came so close to scoring a freak goal as Jordan Willis’ clearance was blocked by Matt Bloomfield and looped over Burge and hit the roof of the net.
With five minutes of the half to play Sunderland put together a great little move that should have ended in a better result. Connor McLaughlin nodded it down for Wyke who set Watmore through down the right-hand side, but his pull-back was cleared behind for a corner before it could be met by McGeady.
Jacobson was a real threat from free-kicks and his latest effort just whistled past the post and had Burge scrambling to his left.
As the first half ended it was a poor first half display from the lads who had given away cheap fouls and played into Wycombe’s hands. 45 minutes into Parkinson’s tenure and already a big team talk was needed.
Parkinson made one change at the break as Will Grigg replaced Wyke in search for more energy up top.
It was an even opening ten minutes to the second half, but Sunderland were really struggling to retain possession and start any meaningful attacks.
The lads first chance of the second period was through McLaughlin on the right-hand side - Hume made a great run down the left and got to the by-line to cross and it found the full-back who dragged his effort wide
Chris Maguire was the latest Sunderland player to enter the fold and replaced Duncan Watmore on the right-hand side.
With just over 20 minutes to play Sunderland were still hadn’t registered a shot on target which just about summed up the problems for Parkinson’s men.
The game had no flow to it at all and was constantly stopping and starting and this was ideal for Wycombe. With ten minutes to play it looked more and more unlikely that the lads would get an equaliser.
Akinfenwa came so close to sealing the three points as his header from a free-kick was just wide of the post – a great chance missed.
McGeady almost scored a stunner in the final moments as his effort from range was brilliantly tipped onto the bar by Allsop.
As the referee blew the full-time whistle Parkinson will have realised the size of the task to get this group of players winning matches and moving up the table.
Full Time: Wycombe 1-0 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Lee Burge