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Match Report


Posted Sat 01 Oct 11 at 14:43 PM


Two goals from Ashley Grimes condemned Wycombe to a 2-1 defeat as Rochdale came from behind to claim all three points in a tame affair at Spotland.

Wanderers went ahead after just six minutes when Scott Donnelly fired home from a tight angle following a neat interchange with Stuart Beavon, although the hosts posed a constant attacking threat in the first half and earned their equaliser when Grimes fired home from just inside the box.

Both teams struggled to create chances after the interval but Dale's winner came courtesy of a lapse in concentration in the Wycombe defence, with Grimes latching on to a long clearance from the keeper and lifting over Nikki Bull.

The Blues were unable to muster a leveller in the closing stages and will need to find a response in successive home games against Cheltenham Town (Johnstone's Paint Trophy) and Walsall.

There was one change from the seven-goal thriller with Preston North End, Joel Grant returning to the side at the expense of captain Gareth Ainsworth.

After weathering an early storm which included a superb save from Nikki Bull to deny David Ball's point-blank header finding the back of the net, Wanderers took the lead on six minutes thanks to Scott Donnelly's close-range finish.

Donnelly and Stuart Beavon exchanged passes 20 yards out before the former rounded Jake Kean and nicely found the bottom left-hand corner.

Ashley Grimes volleyed an acrobatic effort just wide before he levelled on 21 minutes, curling the ball past a helpless Nikki Bull after being given too much time on the edge of the Wycombe box.

Dale left-back Pim Balkestein then drove a 35-yard effort just past Bull's left-hand post, while, at the other end, Kean had to be alert to tip Andy Sandell's free-kick behind for a corner.

Rochdale continued to look the more enterprising of the two teams and the hosts nearly went ahead on their next attack, but David Ball shot wide from 20 yards after cutting in from the left touchline.

But it was Wycombe who should have gone in at the break in front, Donnelly striking over the top after being expertly picked out by a Beavon backheel.

The open nature of the game continued after the interval with Nikki Bull tipping David Ball's thundering volley over the bar and Andrew Tutte shooting wide from 25 yards, while Stuart Beavon struggled to make proper contact with Scott Donnelly's teasing free-kick at the back post.

However, Wanderers' passing game never really got going and they were caught with a sucker punch when Rochdale took the lead in the most basic of manners. Jake Kean's long clearance downfield caught the visiting defence napping and Grimes raced through to lift the ball over Nikki Bull under pressure from Leon Johnson.

Rochdale had improved defensively as the game grew old and they took a grip of the midfield too, restricting Wycombe's creativity and limiting the chances the visitors were able to create. Despite the industry of Beavon up front, it took until the 77th minute for the Blues to register their first shot on target of the second half when Donnelly's tame half volley was easily saved by Kean.

The keeper was called into action moments later when he needed to dip Beavon's looping header over the bar and then save the striker's snapshot from the edge of the box, although in truth the chances were anything but clear-cut and the home side looked reasonably comfortable as they held on to their lead.

At the other end, Bull did well to get his body behind Andrew Tutte's powerful low drive as time ticked away, and Dale did just enough to see off the threat of a couple of late set pieces to clinch the points.

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