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Match Reports

Report: Bristol Rovers 0-1 Wycombe

Sido wins it for the Wanderers.

19 January 2019

Wycombe recorded back-to-back wins in Sky Bet League 1, earning a hard-fought three points at Bristol Rovers thanks to Sido Jombati's second-half header.

The defender met Joe Jacobson's deep free-kick to break the deadlock and played his part at the other end to keep the Pirates at bay, helping the Blues record a first away clean sheet of the league season.

Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the side that started in the thrilling 3-2 victory over Doncaster the previous week, with Scott Kashket and Alex Samuel coming into the frontline while Matt Bloomfield and Nathan Tyson made way.

Adam El-Abd planted a header wide from an offside position inside the first minute before Tareiq Holmes-Dennis curled a free-kick into the wall at the other end, and Jack Bonham fumbled Nick Freeman’s powerful low shot from distance, with Tony Craig rescuing his keeper with a vital clearance ahead of the onrushing Samuel.

The game then entered a scrappy period with neither side able to threaten, while Rovers had Stefan Payne booked for a foul on Nick Freeman. Their first meaningful effort came on the half-hour mark when Payne fed former Blues loanee Alex Jakubiak, and his lay-off was curled on target by Alex Rodman from 20 yards, but Ryan Allsop was equal to it, tipping the ball behind for a corner.

There was not another moment of note until the clock struck 45, when the visitors struggled to clear the ball effectively and Upson’s side-footed effort from the edge of the area looked destined for the target before being diverted off-course by a brave block from El-Abd, ensuring the teams would return down the tunnel with the deadlock still intact.

Rodman fired a free-kick into the wall on 46 minutes before Ollie Clarke drilled over from the rebound, and Curtis Thompson’s trip on Payne earned him an entry into the referee’s notebook.

But then came the breakthrough, from an unlikely source. After a stoppage for an injury to Kashket, which resulted in Matt Bloomfield taking his place, Joe Jacobson’s deep corner found Sido Jombati unmarked and the Portuguese defender turned it home from close range for his first goal of the season on 57 minutes.

Rovers a triple substitution soon after, with Chris Lines, Gavin Reilly and Sam Matthews replacing Ed Upson, Stefan Payne and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, while Nick Freeman was another name in the referee’s notebook, collecting a yellow card for a foul.

However, the game still struggled to capture the imagination of those inside the Memorial Stadium, being played at a slow tempo with sloppy passes and niggly fouls disrupting the flow of either side.

There was nearly a breakaway second goal for the Chairboys when Alex Samuel burst into the Pirates’ half and fed Freeman away to his left, but when his low cross ultimately fell to Curtis Thompson, the midfielder saw not one but two low shots blocked by defenders.

It was Freeman’s last action, with Nathan Tyson taking his place on 74 minutes, but Rovers began to build up a head of steam, with Jakubiak losing his marker in the box before seeing his low cross cleared behind by Jason McCarthy.

Alex Rodman flashed a header straight at Allsop which was beaten away before the home striker lashed the rebound over from a tight angle, and then Wanderers made their second change, as Adebayo Akinfenwa replaced Alex Samuel with five minutes remaining.

As the game entered five minutes’ stoppage time, Paris Cowan-Hall was unable to convert Tyson’s excellent low cross from close range, and then Ollie Clarke misfired at the other end, failing to sort out his feet in time to meet Chris Lines’ deep free-kick.

That was their final hope of a late equaliser as the visitors held on for three points which moves them back into the top half of the division.

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