Boro kicked off 2021 with a hard fought 3-1 win at Wycombe Wanderers.

Neil Warnock had told his players they would have to stand up and be counted, and stand up they did against a determined and spirited Wycombe side.

What Wycombe lack in class they make up for in guile and Boro had to work hard for a win that was secured by goals from Marcus Browne, Marcus Tavernier, Chuba Akpom and bags of team spirit. 

Boro were initially caught cold and were trailing inside five minutes when Uche Ikpeazu cut inside from the right before curling the ball beyond the reach of Marcus Bettinelli.

Warnock’s side responded by dominating possession, slowly getting to grips with a robust Wycombe style. Tavernier almost got on the end of a Marvin Johnson cross and moments later Akpom appeared to have a good penalty shout waved away when he was hauled down in the box.

Akpom also had a shot blocked after he turned well following a Marcus Browne ball into the box, but Boro were soon level.

Browne, making his first start since injury, was the scorer when he got on the end of a Paddy McNair corner and headed the ball home.

Moments later, it took a great reaction save from Ryan Allsop after good work by Tavernier as Boro looked to make their quality count over Wycombe’s uncompromising approach. 

And it was soon 2-1. Akpom played a role in teeing up Tavernier who cut inside before delivering an unstoppable finish. 

Bettinelli made a good save to deny Anis Mehmeti when the home side did threaten  while Tavernier touched the ball over another great delivery from Johnson. 

The pairing combined again after good work by Marc Bola, but Tavernier’s header went over the top. 

Wycombe did come close to levelling, first through a Ryan Tafazolli header which grazed the post and then Scott Kashket hit the bar. Bola also cleared the danger after another ball into the box. 

The home side had two goal line clearances to thank from preventing a third when McNair whipped in successive corners, and the width of the goal line itself denied Tavernier when his shot bounced down off the bar with Allsop beaten. 

But it was 3-1 with 10 minutes remaining when another corner caused panic and Akpom converted from close range to cap off a real hard working victory for Boro.