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Match Report


Posted Sat 22 Jan 11 at 16:56 PM


Wycombe collected their fourth consecutive home victory for the first time in ten years with an excellently-deserved 1-0 win over Rotherham United.

The home side bossed the opening 45 minutes andcould have been out of sight by the break, having taken the lead through Gareth Ainsworth's header from Danny Foster's cross.

Rotherham improved after the break and the Blues had Nikki Bull to thank for a world-class save from Ryan Taylor's downward header.

But the Wanderers created chances of their own and could have deepened the visitors' misery, which was compounded by Jason Taylor's late red card for a kick at Ben Strevens.

Gary Waddock named the same side that won 2-1 at Lincoln City the previous week, which meant Kevin Betsy kept his place despite being rated as doubtful for the clash after sustaining an injury at Sincil Bank.

And after the two teams enjoyed an entertaining battle in the reverse fixture in October, Wycombe started this match at a similar tempo, seeing Stuart Beavon's shot on the turn fly just wide before his excellent volley was kept out by Andy Warrington following a superb through-ball from Andy Sandell.

The keeper was again called into action moments later from a smartly taken free-kick which saw Matt Bloomfield lay it back to Gareth Ainsworth, who flicked it up and volleyed it goalwards from distance.

Wycombe's bright start was reflected in the excellent atmosphere generated in the Valley Terrace, which was particularly heatened when Marcus Marshall hacked down Andy Sandell, forcing the Wycombe left-back to leave the field with an injury with Danny Foster taking his place.

Another cynical foul - this time from Mark Randall on Stuart Beavon - showed that a physical approach was the visitors' only response to the Blues' excellent passing display. But justice was served on 28 minutes when Gareth Ainsworth opened the scoring with a trademark header, beating inexperienced left-back Jamie Green to guide home a superb cross from Danny Foster.

United seemed unable to cope with Wycombe's dominance in all areas and the gap in quality between the sides was more than the two points which separated the teams before kick-off, and Stuart Beavon was a constant nuisance up front, shooting straight at Warrington at the near post on 38 minutes.

As first-half displays go, it was certainly one of Wanderers' best of the campaign so far, with Nikki Bull remaining untroubled throughout while full-backs Danny Foster and Marvin McCoy had licence to roam high into the Millers' half to join the attack. But the undoubted star of the half was Stuart Beavon, whose movement, skill and goalscoring threat had posed relentless problems for the visitors.

Ronnie Moore's side showed signs of improvement after the break and caused most of the early pressure, resulting in a couple of nervy clearances from the Wycombe backline as the threat of Ryan Taylor and Adam Le Fondre became more prominent.

And a foul by Chris Westwood on the latter gave Nicky Law the chance to level matters with a free-kick just outside the area, but his effort curled inches over the crossbar to maintain the Blues' advantage.

However, there had seemed to be a swing in momentum as Rotherham pressed forward, with Wycombe struggling to recapture their earlier comfort in possession. The visitors' first-half frailties hadn't completely disappeared though, and there was a half-chance for the Blues when Matt Bloomfield's header looped up too close to Andy Warrington.

After 68 minutes of being a virtual spectator, Nikki Bull was then called upon to produce the save of the match - if not the season - from Ryan Taylor's downward header. The ball bounced up at speed towards the top corner and Bull's outstretched left arm appeared from nowhere to tip it onto the crossbar and away to safety, earning a huge gesture of appreciation from Gary Waddock on the touchline.

The game was becoming more and more stretched, and a counter-attack from the home side gave Kevin Betsy the chance to double the lead, but his left-footed drive bounced back off the post with the keeper beaten.

Mark Randall then saw his long-range effort flash over the bar before Ben Strevens somehow scooped the ball from underneath the crossbar following Nicky Law's dangerous inswinging free-kick. Ryan Taylor diverted Law's next free-kick over the crossbar and the Blues looked to be set for a nervy finale.

There was almost relief in the form of another Betsy blast which was pushed behind by Warrington, before the keeper tipped Beavon's stunning volley over the top with the ball seemingly destined for the net.

Matt McClure then worked his way into an excellent position in stoppage time but, under pressure from the defender, he could only send his effort wide of Warrington's near post.

There was late drama with a straight red card for Jason Taylor after the midfielder needlessly kicked out at Ben Strevens, but the game will instead be remembered for its entertaining football from the Blues and more importantly, three points which could prove significant by the end of the season.

Matt Bloomfield


6mins: CHANCE - A snapshot on the turn from Stuart Beavon flies just wide.

13mins: SAVE - Andy Warrington denies Beavon with a save from the striker's volley 12 yards out.

15mins: SAVE - Gareth Ainsworth's smartly-worked free-kick goes straight to the keeper.

16mins: YELLOW - Kevin Betsy goes into the book.

22mins: YELLOW - Marcus Marshall's poor challenge on Andy Sandell earns a booking.

24mins: SUB - The foul leads to Andy Sandell being replaced by Danny Foster.

26mins: YELLOW - Mark Randall hacks down Stuart Beavon, joining Marshall in the book.

28mins: GOAL - Gareth Ainsworth opens the scoring with a fine header from Danny Foster's teasing cross.

38mins: SAVE - Warrington keeps out Beavon's near post effort.

44mins: YELLOW - Jason Taylor talks his way into the book.

46mins: SAVE - Matt Bloomfield's shot deflects into Warrington's arms.

50mins: YELLOW - Dave Winfield's foul earns his tenth booking of the campaign.

51mins: CHANCE - Marcus Marshall's effort from 20 yards goes high and wide.

58mins: CHANCE - Nicky Law's free-kick curls just over the bar.

62mins: CHANCE - Ryan Taylor sends his header way over the top.

68mins: SAVE - Nikki Bull superbly keeps out Taylor's header.

71mins: CHANCE - Kevin Betsy hits the post.

74mins: CHANCE - Mark Randall's effort goes just over the bar.

79mins: CHANCE - Ryan Taylor's header flies inches over the top.

82mins: SUBS - Adam Le Fondre and Gareth Ainsworth leave the pitch, with Tom Pope and Matt McClure coming on.

83mins: SAVE - Andy Warrington denies Kevin Betsy at the near post.

84mins: SAVE - The keeper excellently tips Beavon's volley over the top.

92mins: CHANCE - Matt McClure shoots just wide of the near post.

94mins: RED - Jason Taylor sees red for a stamp on Kevin Betsy.

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