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Match Report


Posted Mon 25 Apr 11 at 17:42 PM


Wanderers leapfrogged Shrewsbury Town into third place in League 2 with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra, with Scott Rendell hitting a first-half brace to win the game.

Gary Waddock's men enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening 45 minutes and went ahead when Rendell glanced home an excellent free-kick from Andy Sandell on 42 minutes.

However, the visitors almost levelled immediately when Shaun Miller went down in the area, only to see Nikki Bull make a superb save from Clayton Donaldson's spot-kick to maintain the lead.

Rendell then slotted home a penalty of his own after a foul on Gareth Ainsworth and later saw a second effort from 12 yards saved by Rhys Taylor to deny him a second hat-trick in Wycombe colours.

In glorious spring sunshine at Adams Park, the Blues began brightly and marked their intentions with a snapshot from Stuart Lewis which fizzed wide with just 27 seconds on the clock. With Ben Strevens taking Matt Bloomfield's place in the side, Wycombe were able to commit more bodies forward with a 4-4-2 formation than in the goalless draw at Torquay on Good Friday.

By contrast, Crewe looked sluggish and misplaced a number of passes and crosses while leaving a lot of space for Wanderers to exploit in front of the back four. However, it was the visitors who produced the first shot on target with Nikki Bull denying Shaun Miller before the resulting corner caused panic in the home box.

Wycombe continued to look the better side and came close to breaking the deadlock on 16 minutes when Stuart Lewis' looping cross was nodded goalwards by Ben Strevens, although the covering defender applied enough pressure to ensure the striker could only head the ball over the bar.

Moments later, another foray forward resulted in Kevin Betsy laying it off for Gareth Ainsworth 20 yards out, but the captain's first-time effort flashed a couple of yards wide.

The game settled midway through the half and the hosts struggled to vary their attacks, giving the Crewe centre-backs the opportunity to win the aerial battles with too many balls being lofted to a white shirt.

It was Wycombe's pace and trickery which looked more likely to carve the visitors apart and when Kevin Betsy wriggled past Danny Blanchett and drew a foul, Andy Sandell's free-kick curled a yard wide of the post.

But Sandell's next set-piece made the difference on 42 minutes when his superb cross was glanced home by Scott Rendell, taking the striker's tally to 17 for the season.

However, the tide could have turned within an instant when Shaun Miller took a tumble inside the box following minimal contact from Danny Foster. Nikki Bull was incandescent with rage at the decision, but pulled off a stunning save to deny Clayton Donaldson to preserve the lead.

It was a frantic few minutes, as Gareth Ainsworth was then tripped eight yards out, giving Rendell the opportunity to double the Blues' advantage. The man they call Scott Pen-dell showed just why, sending the keeper the wrong way with a typically cool finish and creating a phenomenal buzz around Adams Park as the Blues finished the half well and truly on top.

Wycombe overcame a couple of nervy moments at the start of the second period and stamped their authority once again, with Rendell looking sharp in his pursuit of a hat-trick while Gareth Ainsworth thundered a drive high and wide on 53 minutes.

The Blues were clearly feeling ambitious, as summed up by Stuart Lewis' half-volley which wasn't too far wide on the hour-mark, and they added more pace to their attack with the introduction of Marvin McCoy on the right side of the midfield, with Gareth Ainsworth coming off.

Ben Strevens then went for the acrobatic following Marvin McCoy's long throw-in, as Wanderers continued to seek for a bigger winning margin which could prove vital in terms of goal difference compared to Shrewsbury's.

They should have grabbed a third goal when Stuart Lewis' run into the box was halted by a handball, but Scott Rendell's tenth penalty of the campaign was saved by Rhys Taylor, with the keeper reacting quickly to deny the striker's rebound from close range.

The save perhaps gave Crewe a lift, with a couple of long-range efforts missing the target, but in truth Wycombe were comfortable and Matt McClure should have broken his professional duck when he was put through in stoppage time, but his attempted chip was plucked out the air by Taylor.

Shrewsbury's 0-0 draw at home to Accrington means Wycombe are now third with two games remaining, and could be promoted next weekend if they beat Bury and Shrewsbury lose at Cheltenham.

Winning 50/50 draw number: 172741. Prize money: £659.50.

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