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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 08 May 10 at 19:01 PM

REPORT: BLUES SIGN OFF IN STYLE

Wanderers signed off the season with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Gillingham at Adams Park, condemning the visitors to relegation from League One.

Goals from Matt Phillips, Alan Bennett and Kevin Betsy gave Gary Waddock's men a richly deserved three points and ensured the Blues finished a disappointing campaign on a high note.

A sublime strike by Matt Phillips set the home side on their way before Alan Bennett's close range header and Kevin Betsy's smart finish sealed the win, and wins for Exeter and Tranmere meant that the Gills will be joining Wycombe in League Two next year.

Wanderers boss Gary Waddock's final starting line-up of the season showed four changes from the game against Leyton Orient; Matt Bloomfield missed out due to an ankle injury while Alex Revell missed out after his loan deal had expired, while Gareth Ainsworth and Chris Westwood also made way with Alan Bennett, Matt Phillips, Kevin McLeod and Julian Kelly all coming into the side.

The Blues were first to threaten when Kevin McLeod controlled Tom Heaton's punt down field before cutting inside from the left and testing Gills' keeper Alan Julian with a well-struck shot from the edge of the box.

At the other end, Gillingham had a half-hearted penalty appeal for a penalty waved away by referee Taylor, before Matt Phillips threatened down the right for Wanderers but his cross was comfortably gathered by Julian in the away goal.

On 19 minutes Gillingham striker Simeon Jackson saw his volleyed effort from 16 yards deflected behind for a corner, and moments later the lively Phillips again drew a smart save from Gills' stopper Julian. The midfielder fired a low shot from the edge of the area following a partially cleared corner, but Julian saved well with his feet before quickly gathering the ball.

The Blues were dominating possession and were stringing together some neat passing moves. This was illustrated again on 35 minutes when Jon-Paul Pittman and Kevin McLeod exchanged passes down the left flank before McLeod found Lewis Montrose with a nice pass with the outside of the boot.

Montrose set himself from 20 yards before firing goalwards but again Julian in the away goal denied the home side from taking a deserved lead. The Gills' stopper was keeping his side in the game at this point.

Kevin Betsy was next to threaten for Waddock's men after being well teed-up by strike partner Pittman who laid the ball back for Betsy to strike from just outside the area. However, his effort was deflected behind for a corner.

Pittman and Betsy were beginning to get some joy in the final third of the pitch, and at the other end, Wanderers' defence were untroubled by the away side.

As the fourth official indicated there would be two minutes of added time at the end of the first half, Jon-Paul Pittman picked the ball up just inside his own half and set off on a run before picking out Matt Phillips on the right flank.

Phillips ghosted past Gillingham left back John Nutter before unleashing a stunning left footed curling effort that gave Julian in the Gills' goal absolutely no chance. That was the last action of the half and the Blues went in at the break with a fully deserved lead.

Wanderers began the second period in much the same fashion as the first, and Pittman threatened on 58 minutes, picking the ball up on the left flank and setting off on a mazy run through the Gillingham defence, but his cross-shot was gathered by Julian.

At the other end Mark Stimson's side finally created their first opportunity to score. However, Simeon Jackson volleyed his effort over Tom Heaton's crossbar from inside the six yard box after being found by John Nutter's cross from the left.

Moments later the away side created another opportunity when Dennis Oli fluffed his effort from 12 yards following good work by Rene Howe. This, however, was as good as it got for Gillingham.

On 62 minutes Gary Waddock introduced the exciting youngster Kadeem Harris for Kevin McLeod, and the teenager was soon involved in the action, picking the ball up on the left flank before setting off on a mazy dribble only to be upended by a cynical foul.

The Blues had the away side's defence under constant pressure, and that pressure paid off on 72 minutes when Matt Phillips swung over a corner from the right and the unmarked Alan Bennett powered his header past Alan Julian at the back post.

Wanderers had the ball in the net again moments later, however, Pittman's effort was ruled out for offside, while Jackson had another effort for the Gills but dragged his shot wide of Heaton's right hand upright.

Wycombe's lead was stretched even further when Craig Woodman slid a neat pass into Kevin Betsy. Betsy drove into the box and from an acute angle fired his shot across Julian's goal, and with the help of a slight deflection off Gills skipper Mark Bentley, the ball nestled in the back of the net.

Wanderers were in complete control and deservedly three goals to the good. Gareth Ainsworth came on for Lewis Montrose and was immediately into the action, challenging the Gillingham 'keeper in the air and forcing a corner.

The home side had further opportunities to extend their lead, with man of the match Phillips flashing a rasping low drive just wide of the upright before Jon-Paul Pittman turned on the edge of the area and forced a great save from Alan Julian with a powerful strike.

At the final whistle the home fans acknowledged what was a fine performance from the Blues and a great way to sign off the season.

By Gary Anderson

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