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Match Reports

Report: Tranmere 0-2 Wycombe

Akinfenwa nets 50th Wanderers goal; Jacobson provides goal and assist on 33rd birthday and 500th career appearance.

17 November 2019

Wycombe Wanderers returned to the League 1 summit on a memorable afternoon for goalscorers Adebayo Akinfenwa and Joe Jacobson, televised live on Sky Sports.

Akinfenwa capped a strong spell of first-half pressure with a precise header to break the deadlock from Joe Jacobson's assist - the striker's 50th goal for the club - before Jacobson marked his 500th career appearance and 33rd birthday with a penalty shortly after following a foul on David Wheeler.

Rovers improved after the break but Ryan Allsop stood firm to preserve yet another clean sheet as Wycombe made it three league wins on the spin ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup first round replay against the same opposition at Adams Park.

Gareth Ainsworth made three changes from the side that started when the two teams met in the FA Cup first round eight days earlier, with Jack Grimmer returning at right-back while Adebayo Akinfenwa and Scott Kashket came into the frontline, with Sido Jombati, Rolando Aarons and Alex Samuel missing out.

Tranmere started brightly, just as they did last weekend, and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy blasted into the side netting following a patient build-up down the right, and they proceeded to enjoy the greater possession with Hepburn-Murphy mis-controlling a fine through-ball which could potentially have taken him through on goal.

But Wanderers settled, and sparked panic from a corner from Joe Jacobson – making his 500th career appearance on his 33rd birthday – as keeper Scott Davies failed to gather before the ball was scrambled clear.

Then a superb counter-attack, launched by Ryan Allsop into a smart combination into Dominic Gape and Scott Kashket, resulted in another corner following a burst from Grimmer, and moments later another impressive build-up resulted in a free header for Akinfenwa, which landed straight in the arms of Davies.

Two penalty shouts from Kashket were waved away by referee John Busby – the second in particular looking a like spot-kick once he got the wrong side of the defender and had his heels clipped – and then a lay-off from Akinfenwa caught David Wheeler on his weaker left foot and his low first-time drive was collected by the keeper.

Kashket was proving too hot to handle, and prompted Liam Ridehalgh to halt a surge with a late trip which earned the left-back a yellow card, as Wanderers continued to impose themselves and carry the greater goal threat.

A rare Rovers counter-attack was superbly thwarted by a slide tackle from Matt Bloomfield as Hepburn-Murphy closed in, before the breakthrough came courtesy of a trademark Adebayo Akinfenwa header.

A Tranmere handball presented Jacobson with the chance to deliver a free-kick, and his set-piece was typically spot-on, finding Akinfenwa with enough space to plant his header past the keeper.

Within a couple of minutes, the lead was doubled. Wheeler was shoved to the ground as a Jacobson corner entered the box and the referee pointed to the spot, giving the birthday boy the chance to mark the occasion with a coolly-take spot-kick as Davies dived left.

2-0 is how it stood at the break, and the deficit prompted Tranmere to make two changes at the break, introducing pacy wingers Morgan Ferrier and Corey Blackett-Taylor at the expense of left-back Ridehalgh and central midfielder David Perkins.

Jack Grimmer went into the book soon after the interval, before Matt Bloomfield had a near-post drive parried behind for a corner and Wheeler sent a glancing header narrowly wide.

Bloomfield then collected a knock which forced his withdrawal from the game, with Nick Freeman taking his place, and the game became stretched as Rovers looked to up the tempo with a view to clawing their way back into the match.

Alex Samuel then took the place of Kashket just past the hour-mark, and he was tripped during a breakway by Darren Potter, who went into the ref’s notebook.

Curtis Thompson followed soon after, halting Hepburn-Murphy’s progress – the striker’s final action before being replaced by Paul Mullin.

The resultant free-kick – taken by Blackett-Taylor – was expertly tipped away by Allsop, and the same attacker then saw a shot bravely blocked by Darius Charles as the ball bounced awkwardly round the box.

Blackett-Taylor was growing into the game, and cut in from the left to unleash a fierce strike which was thankfully straight at Allsop, as Tranmere continued to attack down the left with a view to targeting the already-booked Grimmer.

Connor Jennings then drilled over the top from 25 yards, with Wycombe standing firm to prevent any penalty area entries, before Gareth Ainsworth made his final chance, introducing Nnamdi Ofoborh for David Wheeler.

Then Ferrier was off-target with an ambition shot from range, before a good spell from Wycombe resulted in Freeman lashing a chance just wide from 20 yards with the keeper beaten.

Connor Jennings had a late chance which was well palmed to safety by Allsop, and the referee soon called time on a third successive league win which returns the Blues to pole position.

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