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Worthington Bitter Cup Exit: Wycombe 0 Bristol Rovers 1
If it ain't broke don't fix it seemed to be Lawrie Sanchez's philosophy as he picked the same starting eleven that beat Wrexham 5-2 last Saturday. However I dare say he'll be out with the super glue after his side forgot to slip on their scoring boots this evening.
I was reading the programme before the match and Alan Parry was recapping on the moment we beat Bristol Rovers at the end of last season which meant they were relegated to Division 3. He said, "I felt genuinely sorry for them that night". So right on queue at the kick off the Syan Stand were singing 2-1 and we sent you down.
Rovers reacted by scoring after just four minutes. From a free kick inside the Rovers half, it was lumped into the Wycombe box. However an ugly challenge on Jason Cousins meant the goal was disallowed. This challenge forced Lawrie to substitute Cousins for Chris Marsh ten minutes later with Rogers switching to the centre back role and Marsh playing in the right back position.
The only real bright spots from tonight's game were the new floodlights, upgraded during the close season and Rovers' away strip, which made them indistinguishable from the stewards. I wished I had worn my sunglasses.
Wycombe failed to convert a number of decent chances during the game, the first of which fell to Rammell on the quarter hour mark. Not an easy chance but he slid in at the back post to send his right-footed volley over the bar. To make matters worse, Rovers' Nathan Ellington, who Wycombe failed to capture in the summer, looked pretty lively all night but thanks to some strong defending from Rogers and Marsh, he never looked like scoring.
Ellington was the star in the Bristol team and if he lasts another three months in the bottom division I would be most surprised.
This is my first report for the Bucks Free Press website and I wanted plenty of action to report on but my concentration lapsed when one fan starting shouting for Wycombe. A guy in front mentioned he sounded like Norman Wisdom and all I could hear for ten minutes was Mr Grimsdale.
After 25 minutes, Taylor was forced to dive to the feet of Kevin Gall but there was no doubt that Wycombe played the prettier football with plenty of passing and good movement. What we lacked was that deadly finish, which is sad after scoring five in one game just a matter of several days ago.
In the first goal scorer sweep I had picked Paul Emblen and on 30 minutes he drove in the ball, only for it to be blocked by Trought, which cost me four quid.
Just before the half time whistle the moaner next to me became frustrated by the passing game Wycombe were using and shouted "don't try and walk it in". Darren Currie must have heard it and let go with a left foot drive from 25 yards out, which went wide of the post.
Into the second half and the first action saw Currie again jinx his way through three defenders, he found the space but the shot was weak. It was only a matter of time before there was a goal and sadly it came for Bristol Rovers on 66 minutes, scored by the ex gooner David Hillier.
Currie became the villain when his sliding tackle won the ball and rather than hoof it into row Z, he did a neat back pass which resulted in Rovers winning the ball. A cross found Hillier unmarked and he drove it home from close range.
This brought the crowd to life and the noise lifted the Wycombe players but not sufficiently enough to turn good pressure into goals and the closing moments turned a bit desperate in terms of Wycombe's attacking and Rovers' defending.
With minutes to go, Bullman threaded a nice pass into the centre of the box for McSporran to run onto but the keeper saved with his legs, and in injury time Currie tried to make amends for his earlier error with another long range shot which went wide of the keeper's left hand post.
In defeat you have to take something positive from the game and the only thing I can think of at the moment is that if we had equalised, the game would have gone to extra time and I would have been burning the midnight oil writing this report.
Final Score Wycombe Wanderers 0 Bristol Rovers 1
Starting Line Up
Taylor, Vinnicombe, Cousins, (Marsh 17) McCarthy, Emblen, Rammell, (Ryan 63) Rogers, Currie, Bulman, Simpson, Brown (McSporran 68).
Howie, Foster, Thomson, Mauge, Hillier, Gall, Weare, (Cameron 70) Wilson, Ellington, Trought, Jones.