Rovers and Wycombe in stalemate

Aug 10, 2019 | Match Reports, News

A nil-nil scoreline will feel like three points not quite grabbed, rather than a point gained, as the Gas had a number of opportunities to steal all three points in their return to the Mem.

The most notable chance came from the left foot of on loan striker Victor Adeboyejo, who rolled a delicate effort towards the Wycombe goal from distance. The crowd watched on in disbelief as the strike beat the outstretched keeper, but glanced off the inside of the left post. Hope still remained as the ball bobbled across the goal line, but it couldn’t quite find its way into the bottom right corner and drifted wide

Rovers boss Graham Coughlan made two changes from the team who started his side’s league opener, with Nichols and Ogogo coming in to replace Rodman and Bennett. This prompted a change of formation for the Gas, as the moved to the diamond-like setup the finished the Blackpool match in.

Another notable change to the team was the inclusion of Jonson Clarke-Harris, who made the matchday squad for the first time this campaign, finding his place on the bench for the start of the game.

It was Rovers who started the brightest, with fans in full voice at kick-off, Tom Nichols was able to riggle himself into space before the 2nd minute just outside the area. As he approaches the apex of the boxes right corner, he played the ball off to the left, into the path of Ollie Clarke, whose first-time shot flew just over the crossbar.

Before the 10th minute mark though, Rovers’ early rhythm was upset by injury to Mark Little, as the right-back went down off the ball. After moments of treatment, it became apparent he would take no further part in play and was replaced by Josh Hare.

Despite the early change in personnel, Adeboyejo was the next player to have a serious crack on goal, as he controlled the ball deep in Wycombe’s half just after 10 minutes had gone by. His touch took him wide towards the right flank, but he took his shot on the turn, blasting at the center of the net. Though the shot possessed plenty of pace, it didn’t trouble Allsop in the Wycombe net.

Just before the 25-minute mark, Wycombe managed to carve out their first opportunity of the game, as Akinfenwa strong-armed Rovers’ defense off the ball before playing in Pattison. He took his shot first time and forced Jaakkola to make a crucial save as the ball headed towards his bottom right.

Nichols carved out a second chance for himself on the 29th minute as a free-kick from deep found Abu Ogogo, he adapted his body shape well to control the ball on his chest before finding Nichols to his right. Nichols took a touch whilst bombarded by defenders, before lacing it with his right. His effort found the target but lacked the pace to test the keeper.

The crowd believed the home side for a fraction of a second as Liam Sercombe flashed a brilliant right-footed free-kick on goal from around 25 yards out. Hit with phenomenal pace, the keeper could only watch thankfully as the strike flew whiskers wide of his right post.

Minutes later, approaching the 40th minute, a brilliant piece of link-up play between Clarke, Adeboyejo and Ogogo almost set the latter through inside the area, but a last-ditch tackle from a Wycombe defender saved the away side.

Adeboyejo was instrumental again just seconds later as he pulled down a long ball before turning and stroking a low effort with his left. From 25 yards out, an effort without pace would have to be superb to beat the keeper, and it almost did. His shot trickled its way past the outstretched glove of Allsop before glancing off the inside of the left post and bobbling across the line. Somehow, it didn’t go in.

As the half trickled into added time a Sercombe free-kick from the left worried the keeper again, as he shot from the angle, forcing the keeper to tip it over for a corner.

The Gas were really knocking on the door prior to half time, but Wycombe well-versed in this struggle as the door remained locked through to the break.

In the opening minutes of the second 45 Rovers started as they ended the first, on top. A free-kick from Sercombe was played wide, where Leahy fired in on the left side towards the box. The cross evaded the head of Tom Nichols before it was knocked half-clear by Adebayo Akinfenwa. It fell to Ed Upson who took a touch and hit the ball whilst midair. However, he struck the ball whilst off balance and watched his strike sail over.

It took a tidy header from Luke Leahy to avert danger as the game approached the hour mark. A deep cross from the left side arrowed towards the far post, and it took nifty movement for Leahy to get between Akinfewa and Gape to head clear.

Onyedinma forced a top close-range save from Jaakkola following a scrappy post-corner battle in the box around the 65th minute, as the ball fell to Onyedinma just outside the 6-yard box on the right side. Jaakkola was alert to the danger though and rushed down Onyedinma well to save from close range.

The 72nd minute caused a roar to reverb around the Memorial Stadium as Clarke-Harris entered the field of play for the first time this season, replacing Tom Nichols.

A free-kick came on the 77th minute as Ollie Clarke rolled the ball perfectly around El-Abd before the Wycombe defender came clattering in to wipe the captain out. Clarke-Harris stepped up to take the free-kick, perhaps seeing the headlines already, he smashed the ball into the wall and watched it bounce clear.

With a minute remaining of normal time, Tom Davies found himself in the right place at the right time as he stopped a Jack Grimmer effort in its tracks centimeters from the goal line. Shortly afterward, with Wycombe putting the Gas under pressure, the full-time whistle came.

Rovers now look forward to a midweek Carabao Cup tie against Cheltenham Town.


Rovers: Anssi Jaakkola (GK); Mark Little (Josh Hare 8′), Tom Davies, Tony Craig, Luke Leahy, Ed Upson (Kyle Bennet, 85′), Ollie Clarke, Liam Sercombe, Abu Ogogo, Victor Adeboyejo, Tom Nichols (Jonson Clarke-Harris 72′).

Subs: Jordi Van Stappershoef, Alfie Kilgour, Josh Hare, Alex Rodman, Kyle Bennett, Deon Moore, Jonson Clarke-Harris

Wycombe: Ryan Allsop (GK), Jack Grimmer, Anthony Stewart, Adam El-Abd, Joe Jacobson, Dominic Gape, Matt Bloomfield, Alex Pattison, Fred Onyedinma (Nick Freeman, 85′), Paul Smyth (Alex Samuel, 71′), Adebayo Akinfewa.

Subs: Cameron Yates, David Wheeler, Scott Kashket, Giles Phillips, Nick Freeman, Alex Samuel, Josh Parker.

Attendance: 7’768 (578 Away)