Scowen winner sends rejuvenated Blues to victory
Wycombe Wanderers 2 Torquay United 1
Vital Wycombe would like to thank guest writer Joe Shennan for the following report.
Josh Scowen`s 62rd minute headed winner gave a re-energised Wycombe a thoroughly deserved victory over Torquay United at Adams Park on Saturday afternoon.
In glorious conditions, Wanderers finally notched up their first home triumph of the season - ending a winless run in Buckinghamshire dating back to March, and at the same time producing a performance that the Community Day crowd of 4,205 can be proud of.
Caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth has in the space of just over a week put the drive, determination and passion back into the playing staff and has transformed the atmosphere at the club whilst also staking his own claim for the managerial role on a permanent basis. After a difficult baptism for the player boss with a 3-0 defeat away at Dagenham, 4 points from 2 consecutive home games (and displays to match) will give Chairboys and Girls real belief that a move away from the relegation zone is imminent.
With Plymouth 'keeper Jake Cole having been the only difference between 1 point and 3 on Tuesday night, Ainsworth understandably started with the same 11 that had performed so rousingly in midweek. And the blues began the game with a similar purpose as Matt McClure, who scored his first goal at Adams Park against Argyle (and seems to have been given a new lease of life since the departure of Gary Waddock) hooked a shot over the bar after decent play involving another youngster, left back Charles Dunne.
Despite a stunning comeback victory over Aldershot in their previous fixture, visitors Torquay, though streetwise and organised, offered little going forward, and Wycombe, with Scowen tenacious in midfield, took the lead after 33 minutes when Gary Doherty, who had nodded just wide earlier on, placed a header perfectly beyond Gulls` 'keeper Michael Poke after Ainsworth had looped the ball into the box following a corner.
It was what Wycombe`s commitment deserved, although defensive frailties came back to haunt them less than 10 minutes later, when Torquay danger man Rene Howe was given too much space on the right hand side of the penalty area, and was able to cut inside before firing a low shot past Jordan Archer at the near post.
The equaliser didn`t appear to affect Wycombe in the slightest however, and they emerged in the second half with a renewed vigour and vitality. Dean Morgan replaced McClure at half time and was instrumental in the eventual winning goal - the former Chesterfield man who has plenty to prove before his short term deal expires in January sent in a cross for the diminutive Scowen to rise highest and power the ball past Poke from inside the 6 yard box.
Scowen`s desire to reach the ball first over physically stronger opponents epitomised Wycombe`s display, and the 19 year old, whose performance evoked comparisons with Michael Simpson, went on to deservedly claim the Man of the Match award after an afternoon of tough tackling and dynamism.
Torquay responded almost immediately with a stunning shot from Ryan Jarvis forcing a flying save from Archer, but Martin Ling`s side looked strangely flat and out of ideas, and Wycombe, with the back four impressively marshalled by Doherty and Leon Johnson, comfortably saw the game out and indeed could have added to their tally had Matt Spring shown more composure when clean through.
Ainsworth, who had been substituted to a standing ovation midway through the second half, led the entire matchday squad to the Valley Terrace at the final whistle for a mutual appreciation session, and a clever bit of PR in front of the watching Football League Show cameras.
The home crowd left buoyant having seen a display which will hopefully kick start a push up the table. Next week`s tough trip to Fleetwood (who humiliated Wanderers in the FA Cup last season) represents an opportunity to further right the wrongs of the last 6 months, and for Ainsworth, a big chance to send his managerial stock rising further. Perhaps the best potential new gaffer is right under our noses.
Team & Ratings: Archer 7, Foster 7, Johnson 8, Doherty 7, Dunne 7, Ainsworth 7 (Morais 6), Lewis 6 (Spring 6), Scowen 8, Grant 7, Kuffour 7, McClure 6 (Morgan 7)
Writer: Joe Shennan