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Rovers 3 Wycombe Wanderers 1

29 February 2020

Goals from Niall Ennis, Kieran Sadlier and a late own goal from Jason McCarthy meant Rovers got back to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over high-flying Wycombe Wanderers.

Rovers had to weather some early pressure from a confident Wanderers side, but the home side gained the ascendancy around on the half-hour mark and Niall Ennis’ calm finish right on half-time ensured they led at the break.

While the introduction of Adebayo Akinfenwa in the second half did change the game a little with the former Rovers striker getting on the scoresheet soon after he came on, the Chairboys were level for less than five minutes. Kieran Sadlier taped in from Ben Whiteman’s free kick.

An own goal from Jason McCarthy who turned in a fantastic Jason Lokilo cross late on to give Rovers the three goals and the three points.

Darren Moore made three changes to the side that narrowly lost out to Shrewsbury Town the weekend before with Madger Gomes and Kieran Sadlier coming back into the fray while Danny Amos made his first League start this season.

Lokilo made his first appearance on the bench since joining on loan from Crystal Palace on deadline day – Cameron John dropped out of the squad to make way for the young Eagle.

Wycombe Wanderers came into the match with plenty of confidence on the back of two wins and showed exactly why they were third in the table. They had plenty of possession in Rovers' half but the home side remained disciplined and it took 15 minutes for the Chairboys to create any kind of chance.

A ball crossed in from the right by Jason McCarthy found the run of Alex Samuel into the centre of the box, but the Welshman was well martialled by Tom Anderson.

Samuel turned provider moments later, his cross found Paul Smyth who saw his first-time effort blocked and his follow-up shot saved.

Seny Dieng had another important part to play when Joe Jacobson’s corner-kick nearly dipped straight under the bar. The keeper watched the ball well and did enough to palm the danger away.

Rovers managed one half-chance in the opening 20 minutes – with Kieran Sadlier employing a turn of pace to beat his man and knock a cross towards the back post. The ball was well controlled by Niall Ennis to tee-up Devante Cole, but Rovers No.44 found his effort blocked at the edge of the box.

Rovers first real chance of the first half came from a free-kick as Sadlier was dragged down just outside the Wanderers box. It gave Amos chance to show what he can do from a dead ball – his left-footed effort bobbled and bounced shin height through the bodies in the box. It seemed simple enough for Ryan Allsop, but he got it all wrong and bumped the ball back into the middle of the box. Joe Wright reacted fastest, but it was always going to be difficult for the centre-back who was at full stretch and was only able to toe the chance wide.

Rovers had the best of the closing 15 minutes and Amos probably thought he was destined to score as he somehow danced his way past four Wanderers players with a combination of skill and luck driving from the left and ending with the ball at his feet at the top the penalty box. His effort was blocked.

The home side made the most of their pressure with the final kick of the regular 45 with Ennis finishing off a nice piece of passing play. Ben Whiteman toed the ball out to Gomes who crossed into Ennis. Ennis’ first touch took him away from the first challenge and his second was used to calmly dink the ball over the keeper for his sixth of the season.

Both Jacob Ramsey and Amos went close to doubling the lead in stoppage time. Ramsey demonstrated excellent strength to hold off the challenge of the defender and dig out a shot which Allsop pushed around the post. Amos’ resulting corner almost caught the visiting keeper off guard as it very nearly dipped straight under the crossbar.

Rovers continued their form from the end of the first half into the second and created their first chance directly from kick-off. Sadlier was given time on the right to send a cross into the box which was only just above Ennis.

They created an even better chances minutes later when an excellent toed through-ball by Cole seemed to have been perfectly weighted to find the well-timed run of Ramsey. Allsop did extremely well to get off his line quickly and thwart the danger.

Tom Anderson then had two chances to extend the lead both headers at the back post. The first was his best came from another excellent delivery by Amos. The Northern Ireland youth international drilled his free kick along the six-yard line and Anderson rose highest was on target but it was cleared off the line.

The second came from a left-footed delivery by Sadlier – but the centre-back was only able to head wide on this occasion.

Wycombe levelled the score with their first chance of the second half. The introduction of former Rovers forward Akinfenwa in place of Samuel gave the visitors a new dynamic and he capitalised from close range when Rovers failed to effectively clear a corner.

The Chairboys were level for less than five minutes as Sadlier bagged his twelfth of the season. Some good play between Cole, and Ramsey down the left earned the home side a free kick in a dangerous area and Sadlier was on hand to tap Whiteman’s cross in at the back post.

Jason Lokilo was brought on with 20 minutes remaining and had a big part to play in Rovers’ third. His cross into the box was sublime needing only a touch – that touch came from Jason McCarthy who touched it passed his own keeper.

Cole was hacked down by Anthony Stewart in the box in the third minute of five minutes added on but the officials saw nothing wrong with the challenge and waved away the home sides appeals for a penalty.

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