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Match Report


Posted Tue 29 Sep 09 at 21:45 PM


Wanderers succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat to Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday evening, with Ian Thomas-Moore's first-half strike winning the tie for John Barnes' side in the clash of the two strugglers at Adams Park.

The veteran striker volleyed home from a tight angle after the Blues had struggled to clear the visitors' third successive corner and it proved to be enough to win it for the Rovers, despite a late attacking surge from Peter Taylor's men.

Even the introductions of Matt Harrold and Ashley Chambers as second-half substitutes wasn't enough to turn the tide for the Blues and they will now need to pick themselves up for the visit of Leyton Orient to South Bucks on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues began the better of the two sides and notched up the opening chance of the game on four minutes. Lewis Hunt had the final say in a nice passing move, crossing for Matt Phillips, but the 18-year-old couldn't direct his header on target.

Peter Taylor's men continued to dominate the early stages with Portsmouth loanee Marlon Pack pulling the strings in centre midfield. The youngster had a hand in the next opportunity, as he sprayed a crossfield pass out to the right hand side and to the run of Hunt; however, the delivery from the Wanderers' number 2 was poor and went behind for a goal-kick.

Chris Zebroski then headed wide a Kevin Betsy cross on 13 minutes before John Barnes' side threatened for the first time. Chris Shuker whipped in a dangerous cross into the Wanderers' penalty area and Michael Duberry had to be alert to head over Scott Shearer's crossbar with Ian Thomas-Moore lurking.

Following a mini spell of Tranmere pressure and their third corner in a row, Thomas-Moore pounced to fire the visitors ahead from the tightest of angles on 16 minutes. The Rovers skipper was the first to react to a ricochet in the Blues box and he dispatched his right foot volley in some style, leaving Shearer with no chance from 10 yards.

Shaleum Logan tried his luck with an audacious 30-yard chip after he broke down the right five minutes later, but his effort didn't trouble Shearer.

Wycombe came surging back, after what proved to be Tranmere's only real spell of pressure during the 90 minutes, to go close with a Betsy header on 24 minutes after good build up from Pack and Zebs, and then Jon-Paul Pittman couldn't keep a cheeky overhead kick down five minutes later.

Pittman then saw a ferocious 20-yard drive knick off Marlon Broomes behind for a corner, when it looked destined for the top corner, before Stuart Green sent a shot goalwards only for another block, this time from Ian Goodison, to come to Tranmere's rescue.

The Blues had the visitors firmly on the back foot at this stage and better communication between JP and Betsy could have brought about a deserved equaliser. Zebroski whipped the ball to the back post but instead of allowing the ball to run to the better positioned Pittman, Betsy took the chance on himself and unfortunately could only poke wide.

Tranmere's back line held firm for the next 10 minutes before the Blues sprung into action just before the half-time whistle. Zebs' effort was deflected wide for a corner and from the resulting kick JP's powerful header brought a good save from Luke Daniels.

The second half began as the first finished with the Blues firmly on top. Phillips was continuing to run Shaleum Logan ragged down the left and Pack was in fine form in the centre of the park.

However, it wasn't until the hour mark that Luke Daniels was next called into action. The Tranmere had to get down well to save JP's header after a well worked short corner between Matt Phillips and Craig Woodman.

A carbon copy of Phillips' cross for Pittman moments earlier was then headed goalwards by Zebs but the on-loan stopper was there again to keep the 1-0 scoreline in tact.

The chances kept on coming for the home side and Green was next to try his luck from the edge of the area, but after good work from Betsy his shot was deflected and rolled comfortably into Daniels' arms on 64 minutes.

A rasping Matty Phillips volley got the Adams Park faithful off their seats moments later and although the effort went a foot over the bar, applause rang round for the technique and finesse the 18-year-old showed in his attempts to draw the Blues level.

Tranmere fired a warning shot on 71 minutes when a Michael Ricketts header was pushed onto the crossbar by Scott Shearer and turned behind for a corner. That chance proved to be an isolated one though as the Wanderers soon regained control and Daniels was twice called into action six minutes later, firstly to push away a Zebroski header and then to claim a Stuart Green strike from 15 yards.

To force the issue, Taylor followed his substitution of Matt Harrold for Lewis Hunt with by replacing Stuart Green and Jon-Paul Pittman with Ashley Chambers and Ian Westlake.

It was the unlikely source of Luke Oliver to next threaten the Tranmere goal, but his effort was cleared off the line from a Woodman corner to add to the frustration around Adams Park.

Saturday's hero, Chambers, had the Wanderers' last chance as the ball dropped to him from a Matt Harrold flick down on the edge of the area, although he couldn't get any power on the shot and with that went any chance of rescuing a point.

The Blues boss will be encouraged by his side's effort and guile throughout the 90 minutes but knows his side will need to be more clinical if they're to beat Leyton Orient at Adams Park on Saturday.

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