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Report: Rochdale 3-2 Wanderers

28 September 2013

Goals from Matt McClure and Jo Kuffour gave the Wanderers hope of a famous comeback, but they were ultimately left to rue a slow start as they lost 3-2 at Rochdale.

Gareth Ainsworth made one enforced change with Jo Kuffour replacing the suspended Dean Morgan.

Steven Craig (ill) and Josh Scowen (ankle) weren’t yet fit enough to travel, but Jon-Paul Pittman returned to the squad. Charlie Horlock made his first appearance on the bench after being recalled from his loan spell at Hendon.

The hosts started brightly and took the lead with only four minutes on the clock. Top scorer Scott Hogan received the ball on the edge before cleverly turning past Leon Johnson and firing high into the top corner.

Kuffour shot straight at Josh Lillis two minutes later as Ainsworth’s men tried to settle into the contest.

However, the hosts looked a threat every time they broke forward and they doubled their advantage in the ninth minute. A quick break led by Hogan saw Joe Bunney receive the ball just inside the area and he drilled a low effort past Ingram.

Two became three five minutes later when Wanderers fell asleep at a set-piece and a short corner found its way to an unmarked Michael Rose, who curled a superb strike into the far corner, again giving Ingram no chance.

Wood forced Lillis into another save in the 27th minute after winning the ball on halfway and breaking forward, but his 25-yarder was comfortable for Rochdale’s keeper, despite bouncing before it reached him.

Ingram did well a minute later to keep hold of Hogan’s shot after the midfielder had cut in from the right, before parrying away another strike from Rose.

Knott was inches away from reducing the deficit in the 33rd minute following Chairboys’ best move of the half. McClure won possession in the Rochdale half and the ball broke to Wood, who played Knott in on goal. The Sunderland loanee reached the ball before Lillis and dinked it over the keeper, but it drifted just wide of the post.

Chairboys did get on the scoresheet before the break when McClure curled home a clinical effort from just inside the area with four minutes of the first half remaining. It was the first time that the striker had really been able to find space in the box and he made no mistake after being picked out by Knott.

McClure had a great chance to add a second two minutes later, but he blazed over the bar from close range after the hosts failed to deal with a Kretzschmar corner.

Ainsworth made two changes at the break with Pittman and Matt Bloomfield replacing Hause and Kretzschmar, meaning the Blues switched to a 4-3-3 formation.

Ingram kept the Wanderers in the contest soon after the restart when he tipped over Matt Done’s effort after the winger had been picked out by Ian Henderson, who waltzed through two soft challenges.

The keeper’s heroics were rewarded in the 57th minute when Kuffour made the score 3-2. McCoy did well on the right to turn his man and send over a deep cross, which Kuffour controlled before curling over the head of Lillis and into the far corner.

Both sides were struggling to keep the ball, but Chairboys did threaten when Leon Johnson headed over at the far post before Knott curled a shot into the arms of Lillis after a fine passing move.

McClure headed Bloomfield’s free-kick over the bar with seven minutes remaining and Ainsworth then made his final chance, brining on Anthony Stewart for Knott and pushing Gary Doherty further forward.

The move almost paid dividends as Wycombe looked set to equalise in injury-time, but Johnson was adjudged offside.

Wanderers: Ingram, McCoy, Hause (Pittman 46), Doherty, Johnson, Kretzschmar (Bloomfield 46), Lewis (c), Knott, Wood, McClure, Kuffour.
Subs: Horlock, Dunne, Stewart, Arnold, Spring.

Rochdale: Lillis, Bennett, Lancashire, O'Connell, Rose, Done (Cummins 80), Dicker, Lund, Henderson, Bunney (Vincenti 61), Hogan.
Subs: Thomson, Rafferty, Eastham, Hery, Camps.

Attendance: 2,303

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