A second-half horror show condemned Wanderers to a 3-0 defeat at the Memorial Ground on Tuesday evening.There was nothing between the sides in the first period but Matt Taylor scored a quickfire hat-trick as the hosts took full advantage of a display well below the expected standard from the Chairboys.
Gareth Ainsworth made one enforced change from the side that drew 2-2 at Portsmouth at the weekend as Danny Rowe replaced the suspended Aaron Pierre, while the hosts kept former Chairboys Jermaine Easter and Paris Cowan-Hall on the bench.
Rovers started well and saw a piledriver from Lee Mansell tipped over by Matt Ingram in the opening stages, while the keeper was also equal to Matt Taylor’s low shot from the edge of the box.
Wanderers worked hard to press their opponents high up the pitch and their first chance came on 15 minutes when Garry Thompson did well to hold up Matt Ingram’s long clearance and Matt Bloomfield nipped in to feed Sam Wood on the left of the area, but his first-time shot struck the outside of the post and bounced wide.
Chances dried up during the middle of the half although Wycombe continued to make life difficult for the Pirates, harrying them in dangerous areas to test the defence. At the other end, Taylor drilled wide after a good interchange with Rory Gaffney at the end of a smart move on the edge of the box.
After a quiet start to the second period, Garry Thompson had a sight of goal when Tom Lockyer misjudged Luke O’Nien’s header and allowed the striker a run at goal, only to be tackled in the box when trying to jink onto his right foot.
But a harshly-awarded free-kick just past the hour-mark paved the way for Rovers to break the deadlock as it was squared to Matty Taylor, who rifled a shot into the top corner.
Moments later the lead was doubled when another free-kick was taken quickly and Taylor smashed home from a similar distance just outside the area.
Wycombe were shell-shocked and only a stunning save from Matt Ingram kept his side in it when Taylor met a deep cross from Daniel Leadbitter with a header which looked destined for the net before Ingram clawed it away.
Gareth Ainsworth reacted by making a double change in attack and Ryan Sellers followed from the bench soon after, but before the trio had any chance to make an impact, Wanderers were 3-0 down when two defenders hesitated over a bouncing ball and Taylor completed his hat-trick with a simple finish.
Ingram again impressed with a fingertip save from Lee Mansell’s drive but it was purely damage limitation as Rovers coasted to victory in a game which only came to life in the second half after an even opening.
Wycombe: Ingram, Rowe, Jombati, McCarthy, Stewart, Harriman, O’Nien, Bloomfield, Wood (Sellers 71), Hayes (Amadi-Holloway 67), Thompson (Ugwu 67).
Unused subs: Lynch, McGinn, Kretzschmar, Banton.
Rovers: Nicholls, Leadbitter (Cowan-Hall 79), Brown, Parkes, Lockyer, J.Clarke, Mansell, Sinclair, O.Clarke (Bodin 56), Gaffney, Taylor (Easter 83).
Unused subs: Mildenhall, McChrystal, Harrison, Montano.
Referee: Brendan Malone
Attendance: 6,136 (255 from Wycombe)