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Blues ride their luck and bank the points

Blues ride their luck and bank the points


Wycombe Wanderers 2 Tranmere Rovers 1

The Blues fell behind to an early wonder-goal but fought back superbly to lead 2-1 at half time.

Had they continued in the same vein after the break, a comfortable victory looked likely, but caution took over and Rovers dominated the second-half and will consider themselves unfortunate to have returned home with nothing.

With several relegation rivals out of action due to the icy weather, and other results going their way, today's crucial victory has moved the Blues up four places to just outside the relegation zone.

Manager Gary Waddock reacted to last week's horror show at Brentford by dropping right-back Danny Foster and moving Louis Laing over to replace him. The youngster looked solid and polished during the first half and barring a couple of blips after the break, had an excellent game.

Winger Joel Grant was dropped to the bench where he was joined by new-signing Anthony McNamee as Waddock put safety first with old-warhorse Gareth Ainsworth on one wing and the solid but unspectacular Ben Strevens on the other.

Central midfield consisted of Matt Bloomfield and James Harper with Stuart Lewis also dropping to the bench.

Rovers took the lead after only 5 minutes when Adam McGurk's 30 yard swerver dipped under Nikki Bull's crossbar to give the Blues the worst possible start.

Wycombe's first effort of note came after 19 minutes when Ainsworth headed a Stuart Beavon cross onto the roof of Rovers' net.

The equaliser came after 23 minutes when Ainsworth delivered a peach of a cross from the right and new-boy Matty Whichelow leapt like a salmon to nod the ball home.

The Blues took the lead after 30 minutes when a lovely passing move down the left culminated in Rovers' keeper Williams making a fine save, Matt Bloomfield having his follow-up blocked and Ainsworth seizing the day to fire the ball home from a tight angle with the aid of a deflection.

Beavon fired a long-range effort narrowly over the bar after 36 minutes and that was it for first-half action.

Right from the start of the second-half Wycombe appeared to be sitting too deep and almost inviting Rovers to attack.

What followed was 45 minutes of the Blues riding their luck with the occasional breakaway to trouble the visitors.

After 61 minutes, Dave Winfield lost the ball on the edge of his own area and Mustapha Tiryaki hit the crossbar with Bull well beaten.

Four minutes later a Rovers' corner caused an almighty goalmouth scramble and the ball was twice cleared off the line before the danger was finally averted.

Rovers hit the woodwork again after 72 minutes when a John Welsh free-kick thumped the junction of post and crossbar with Bull a spectator.

Waddock eventually stemmed the tide by changing formation with the introduction of Stuart Lewis for Whichelow after 79 minutes.

During the final five minutes of normal time Wycombe twice threatened the Tranmere goal.

Their first effort saw Beavon head McNamee's cross narrowly wide, and moments later Bloomfield burst through on goal only to have his shot smothered by Fon Williams.

It looked like Wycombe's luck had finally run out in stoppage time when Lateef Elford-Alliyu turned the ball home in the midst of another goalmouth scramble only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.

When the final whistle sounded there was a great roar from the frozen faithful as the Blues banked the points and raised expectations all over again.

Line-up & ratings
Bull (6), Laing (6), Winfield (6), Johnson (6), Basey (6), Ainsworth (7) (McNamee 68 (6)), Harper (5), Bloomfield (6), Strevens (5), Whichelow (6) (Lewis 79 (5)), Beavon (7) (McClure 90 (n/a))

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Writer:Len
Date:Saturday February 4 2012
Time: 8:26PM

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