By Joshua Richards
WYCOMBE’S extraordinary season reached its watershed moment in the most challenging circumstances last weekend.
Amid snowy conditions at Bury described by some as ‘unplayable’, Wycombe’s teenage loanee Fred Onyedinma fired in a 68th-minute equaliser to the joy of 270 travelling fans.
It earned the Chairboys their 51st point of the season – eclipsing the 50 they amassed throughout the whole of last term to survive on the final day.
What’s more, it kept Wycombe top of League Two and you now have to go back to September 8 for the last time they were outside the automatic promotion spots.
Their turnaround in fortunes has been mesmeric and inspired by several of the same faces that found life so tough under boss Gareth Ainsworth last term.
Among the handful of new additions that have helped add some real quality is Joe Jacobson.
The 28-year-old Welshman experienced relegation from League One with Shrewsbury last term, yet the defender did not for a moment feel he was jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire at Adams Park.
“I didn’t think we would be in a relegation scrap,” Jacobson insists. “I spoke to the manager and he told me what he wanted to do with the team, who he wanted to bring into the squad and how he wanted to play. He thought we could have a go this year.
“From the first day I trained, the atmosphere wasn’t one of a club with relegation on their minds. So credit to the gaffer and his staff who have given us a licence to play, because it’s paid dividends.
“From where we were last year, our first priority was to get to 50 points. If we could do that, we knew only then could we start thinking about targeting promotion or winning the league.
“We just needed to get as many points as we could, as quickly as we could, and only now that we’ve done that can we start to forget the priority at Wycombe is staying in the division. But we are not under any pressure to attain promotion.
“There are clubs with far bigger budgets in this division, who I’m sure will be looking to add to their squad this month. We’re only third or fourth favourites for promotion despite being top, but we’ll keep going.”
Wycombe were the division’s top scorers before the weekend and had lost just once on the road. But their progress could ultimately be halted by an inability to resist offers for their most impressive performers.
Winger Paris Cowan-Hall was snapped up by Millwall after hitting five goals in his last six games in Wycombe colours, while 21-year-old midfielder Josh Scowen departed for Barnsley earlier this month.
Meanwhile, defenders Aaron Pierre and Alfie Mawson, plus goalkeeper Matt Ingram – all 21 years-old – have caught the eye.
Jacobson has faith that Ainsworth can keep his squad competitive regardless of what the future holds.
“It shows what a great job the gaffer and the staff are doing, producing good talent that have jumped up a league or two and I’m sure they can go on to do special things,” he added.
“It keeps the club going as well. Of course we want to keep as many of our players as we can, but the gaffer has been able to bring in Marcus Bean and Fred Onyedinma to fill the gaps and we’ve still got results.”