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Match Report


Posted Sat 04 Feb 12 at 16:54 PM


Wycombe survived a second-half onslaught from Tranmere Rovers to record a crucial 2-1 victory which lifted them out of the bottom four.

In one of only four games in League 1 to survive the cold weather, all the goals came in the first half, with Adam McGurk opening the scoring on six minutes with a swerving effort from distance.

The hosts - inspired by a superb display from captain Gareth Ainsworth - drew level through a close-range header from debutant Matty Whichelow before Ainsworth netted the decisive goal from a tight angle.

Rovers hit the bar twice and had two efforts cleared off the line after the interval but the Blues stood firm to notch up a second successive home victory.

James Harper and Matty Whichelow were given their Adams Park debuts while Gareth Ainsworth and Leon Johnson returned to the side, with Danny Foster, Joel Grant and Stuart Lewis all missing from the side that lost at Brentford the previous weekend.

It took just six minutes for the first goal to be registered and it came well out of the blue as Adam McGurk tried his luck from 30 yards, seeing his swerving effort beat Nikki Bull all ends up and find the back of the net.

The setback stunned Adams Park and it took another 10 minutes for another chance to develop when Ainsworth headed a deep cross just over the bar from eight yards.

Wycombe were the better of the two sides and enjoyed more possession but struggled to make it count in key areas until Whichelow grabbed his debut goal, which came courtesy of a superb assist from the captain. Ainsworth skipped past his man and delivered the most inviting of crosses which was gratefully received by the Watford loanee, nodding home from close range.

The Blues began to boss the game with Ainsworth at the heart of everything, and he was the man to put the hosts ahead on 31 minutes. A stunning move down the left resulted in Whichelow's cross being headed towards his own goal by David Buchanan, and although the keeper produced a fantastic save, he couldn't prevent Ainsworth scrambling it home from a tight angle after Matt Bloomfield had also been thwarted in the six-yard box.

While Wanderers continued to look lively going forward, there were no further chances of real note at either end before the break, before Rovers began to show signs of improvement in the second half.

Mustafa Tiryaki should have scored when he robbed Dave Winfield on the edge of the box and casually took the ball forward before bending his effort against the crossbar, and there were cries for a penalty moments later when John Welsh went down in the box.

They went even closer on 66 minutes when the Blues were twice forced to clear the ball off the line in quick succession, and then John Welsh rattled the bar with a superb free-kick which left Nikki Bull a helpless spectator six minutes later.

Wycombe strengthened their defensive options by bringing Stuart Lewis off the bench into the midfield and the torrent of Tranmere attacks began to fade, while Stuart Beavon had a shot blocked and sent a header wide at the other end as the Blues tried to make the points safe.

Matt Bloomfield had a shot blocked in stoppage time as the third goal continued to elude the hosts before Tranmere thought they'd levelled from another goalmouth scramble only to be denied by the assistant referee's flag.

Matt McClure then came off the bench for his first appearance since a nasty ankle injury sustained in August, but seconds later the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the game and secure the Blues' status outside of the bottom four.

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