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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 0 Wycombe Wanderers 2

16 October 2021

Rovers fell to a 2-0 defeat to second placed Wycombe Wanderers with first half goals from Anthony Stewart and Adebayo Akinfenwa securing three points for the visitors.

Rovers were behind after just two minutes when a corner was headed in by Stewart and found themselves two behind when Akinfenwa headed in from Garath McCleary’s cross.

Jordy Hiwula hit the crossbar shortly after while Tiago Cukur forced a good save right on half-time. The second half brought the return of Jon Taylor after a seven month layoff. He had an effort saved at the near post and created a chance for fellow substitute Ethan Galbraith whose well-struck volley forced a smart stop from David Stockdale.

Richie Wellens – who was serving the first of his two-game touchline ban - made one change from the side that was victorious over MK Dons two weeks previously with Tiago Cukur replacing Ethan Galbraith. It appeared to be an attacking set-up from the manager with Joe Dodoo, Rodrigo Vilca and Jordy Hiwula also named among the starting XI.

It was a disastrous start for Wellens’ men with the visitors taking the lead within three minutes. Joe Jacobson’s corner hit Anthony Stewart and looped over Pontus Dahlberg – the defender didn’t appear to know much about it.

Rovers didn’t allow the goal to affect them though and Dodoo registered the side’s first shot on target just two minutes later with an effort that was blocked by Jordan Obita. This led to a series of good chances for Rovers.

Cukur made a burst down the right and picked out Vilca unmarked in the box, but his volley didn’t connect. Dodoo got the ball twice in the box but was unable to trouble keeper David Stockdale with his shots while Hiwula’s effort from 20 yards was pulled narrowly wide of the near post.

Tommy Rowe could also count himself unlucky when he was adjudged to have fouled Stewart while breaking into the Wycombe box but the visitors continued to be a threat from crosses.

Jason McCarthy headed narrowly wide from Garath McCleary’s corner and perhaps would have been annoyed not to hit the target and McCleary’s next cross into the box – as they so often do – ended with a goal.

Adeabayo Akinfenwa rose above Ro-Shaun Williams to head beyond Dahlberg to put the side 2-0 up.

Rovers had two decent chances to get one back just before the half-hour mark. Neat play by Ben Close found Hiwula in space for the first. The winger blazed past the defender and cut inside and squared the ball to Vilca, but the man from Peru’s effort took a deflection which led it to fall kindly for the visiting shot-stopper.

The second also came from a smart ball out to Hiwula. This time the winger opted to go himself, he got the better of McCarthy but his effort clattered against the crossbar.

Just as the first half ticked into five minutes of added time, Rovers could perhaps have been awarded a penalty. The Wycombe defender appeared to go through the back of Vilca in an attempt to head the ball but referee Sebastian Stockbridge – who was a late replacement for Craig Hicks - was unmoved by the appeals of Rovers players and fans.

Stockdale made a really good save down to his right to deny Cukur whose effort looked to be creeping just inside the far post. The Turkish U21 international did well to get the shot away after good play between Close, Hiwula, and Dodoo had got the ball to him in the box.

The second half started slowly with the visitors happy to take their time over every set piece and throw in. Close’s first-time volley on the 55th minute the first shot from either side – he wasn’t able to control the effort though and sent the effort high into the stands.

Rovers made their first change shortly after with Ethan Galbraith replacing Vilca which pushed Close into a more advanced role. Wycombe quickly followed suit with Akinfenwa replaced by David Wheeler and Matt Smith came on for Bostock.

But it was the introduction of Jon Taylor that gave the fans a lift. He replaced Joe Dodoo with just over 20 minutes remaining as he made his first appearance since March.

Rovers began to boast more and more possession with the energy Smith and the smart passing of Galbraith keeping them on the ball but a disciplined Wycombe meant that much of the play were in areas that weren’t worrying to Gareth Ainsworth’s side.

Taylor registered a shot on target but he lacked the power to really trouble Stockdale and the keeper made a relatively comfortable save at his near post and he was in the action again soon after driving at the heart of the Wycombe defence before laying it off to Galbraith.

The Northern Irish international struck the ball sweetly but his effort was met by a good save from Stockdale.

At the other end, McCleary had a chance to volley on target when a blocked effort spun kindly into his path but it was straight at Dahlberg.


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