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Preview: Bristol Rovers v Wycombe Wanderers


Wycombe Wanderers were brought back down to earth with a bump in midweek as they were beaten 3-0 by a classy Bradford City side in a re-arranged League Two clash at Adams Park.

Gareth Ainsworth unsurprisingly stuck with the same 18-man squad which had thumped York City 4-0 at the weekend but there was never any likelihood of a repeat with the visitors coming out of the blocks to take the lead after only 48 seconds.

Midfielder Nathan Doyle was afforded far too much space on the edge of the area and crashed a right-footed shot into bottom right-hand corner of the net giving home goalkeeper Jordan Archer no chance. The first half was controlled by the Bantams who retained possession far better than their hosts, who were comfortably kept at arms length.

The half ended with the predictable disappointment of midfielder Josh Scowen collecting his tenth booking of the season in only his 24th league appearance. The second half followed in a similar vein with Doyle and man-of-the-match Gary Jones showing Scowen and Stuart Lewis just how it's done as they dominated the middle of the park.

Just when it looked like the Chairboys might apply some late pressure on the visitors as they searched for an equaliser, the assistant referee intervened with a bizarre yet crucial decision. For some reason he awarded a foul against substitute Bruno Andrade on defender Andrew Davies and the Bantams counter-attacked quickly with winger Will Atkinson driving a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of the Wanderers and within two minutes they had conceded a third. Defender Dave Winfield tripped substitute James Hanson just inside the box to concede a penalty and Doyle sent Archer the wrong way to find the bottom left-hand corner to notch his second of the game.

Striker Dean Morgan was denied a late goal by a smart save from ex-Blues loanee Matt Duke and in injury-time winger Joel Grant's deflected shot beat Duke but flew inches past the wrong side of the post. It summed up an evening where nothing went right for the home side.

It was only Wycombe's third defeat in 14 league matches and ends a run of three successive victories. After the two previous defeats (away at Cheltenham Town and at home to Exeter City) the team has bounced straight back to win away at Plymouth Argyle and at home to Chesterfield.

The loss will also temper those who have been getting excited at the up-turn in form under Ainsworth and have been dreaming of a possible trip to Wembley for a play-off final in May. There is still work to do to secure our Football League status, with three more victories likely to be sufficient. That search starts with a trip to the Memorial Stadium this weekend with the Chairboys facing in-form Bristol Rovers.

Wycombe Wanderers will be making their 15th visit to Bristol to face the Pirates this weekend with the first coming way back in November 1982 when the two sides faced each other in a F.A. Cup first round tie at Eastville. The hosts were more than a little lucky to snatch a 1-0 win with Mark Hill missing a great chance to equalise when he was put clean through on goal only to blaze over the bar after the ball took an unfortunate bobble.

The next meeting came almost exactly eleven years later in another F.A. Cup first round clash, this time at Bath City's Twerton Park. The then third division hosts took an early lead after dominating the early exchanges but striker Tim Langford levelled from close range to snatch an equaliser against the run of play. With just under twenty minutes remaining Rovers goalkeeper Brian Parkin's dreadful clearance when straight to Dave Carroll and he coolly slotted the ball under Parkin to find the bottom corner and seal a 2-1 victory.

The March 1995 meeting at a wet Twerton Park was decided by striker John Taylor's first minute header as the sides clashed in a second division fixture for the first time. The meeting in May 1996 was one to forget however as the side simply went through the motions under Al*n Sm*th on the final day of the season with Carroll scoring a consolation goal in a 2-1 defeat.

The December 1996 clash was the first at the Memorial Stadium and it certainly was memorable Some dubious goalkeeping from John Cheesewright had seen the Pirates race into a 3-1 lead but a second half comeback saw the visitors level through spectacular goals from Mickey Bell and Michael Simpson before Terry Evans bundled the ball home from close-range in the 86th minute to win 4-3 and record a first away victory of the campaign under John Gregory.

There have been some notable meetings at the Memorial Stadium with the 3-1 defeat in February 1998 providing to the last game in charge of the Chairboys for Gregory who moved back to take the hot-seat at Aston Villa. In March 1999 Mission Impossible began as Lawrie Sanchez's side claimed a vital 2-0 victory courtesy of Jason Cousins brave early header and a typically clinical finish from Sean Devine.

There was a largely forgettable 1-0 defeat in March 2000 but the 2-1 victory on the 2nd of May 2001 certainly won't be forgotten by the Pirates as spectacular long-range strikes from Danny Senda and Dannie Bulman condemned the hosts to a 2-1 defeat which saw them relegated to the third division.

There would be a gap of more than three and a half years before the sides would again, and this time in came in the Football League Trophy. Keith Ryan took caretaker charge for the third and final time before John Gorman took over the reigns but sadly it ended it a 1-0 defeat. There was another final day of the season meeting six months later in May 2005 and there was a repeat of the scoreline as a lacklustre performance saw the Chairboys beaten 1-0.

The next visit on New Years Eve 2005 was much more enjoyable as three points were won courtesy of a brace from striker Tommy Mooney as the Blues won 2-1. They repeated that scoreline in August 2006 with Mooney scoring with a sublime chip over goalkeeper Steve Phillips to add to an earlier goal from Kevin Betsy.

The last meeting between the sides came in January 2010 as Gary Waddock's side fought to escape relegation from League One. Matt Harrold's early penalty was cancelled by a quick-fire brace from Chris Lines just before half-time but Alex Revell levelled from a second penalty three minutes into the second half. Stuart Beavon then headed home the winner from Dean Keates near-post corner with just under ten minutes remaining to seal a 3-2 victory.

Player boss Gareth Ainsworth will have to make at least one change against the Pirates with midfielder Josh Scowen serving the first of a two match ban after collecting his tenth booking of the season in midweek. There could be another change with loan winger Bruno Andrade rated doubtful after suffering suspected ankle ligament damage.

Midfielder Matt Spring could be handed a rare start or alternatively loanee Michael Harriman may be pushed forward into midfield with full-back Marvin McCoy coming in at right-back. Ainsworth may even consider playing himself whilst striker Jo Kuffour will be hoping for a starting role against one of his former clubs.

Defender Gary Doherty is back in full training after recovering from surgery on his back but is unlikely to be risked. A trio of players remain in the treatment room and may not play again this season. Midfielder Matt Bloomfield is still struggling with a pelvic shear which is preventing him from training whilst defender Danny Foster is recovering from a second operation on his knee. Full-back Grant Basey continues his rehabilitation following surgery on his anterior cruciate ligaments.

Here's the current list of player availability...

Josh Scowen (Midfielder) - suspended (serves the first of a two match ban after picking his tenth booking of the season in midweek)

Bruno Andrade (Winger) - doubtful (suffered suspected ankle ligament damage in THAT challenge with Bradford City defender Andrew Davies in midweek)

Gary Doherty (Centre Back) - very doubtful (returned to training last week after recovering from back surgery)

Matt Bloomfield (Midfielder) - ruled out with a groin injury (no timescale given for a return to first team action)

Danny Foster (Right Back) - ruled out with a knee injury (set to undergo a second operation and may not play again this season)

Grant Basey (Left Back) - ruled out with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury (continues his rehabilitation following surgery and is unlikely to play again this season)

The Chairboys starting eleven could look something like this (4-4-2):

Jordan Archer

Marvin McCoy - Anthony Stewart - Dave Winfield - Charles Dunne

Joel Grant - Michael Harriman - Stuart Lewis - Sam Wood

Dean Morgan - Jo Kuffour

Subs: Lee Harrison, Kortney Hause, Leon Johnson, Gareth Ainsworth, Matt Spring, Matt McClure, Dennis Oli


Bristol Rovers have enjoyed a renaissance under new boss John Ward, who was appointed as successor to former boss Mark McGhee eight days before Christmas.

Goals from defender Lee Brown and striker Eliot Richards sealed all three points for the Pirates as they recorded a 2-0 win over Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium last weekend. They have now won four and drawn one of their last five league games and sit in 19th place in the League Two table. They are five points above the drop zone and would climb to within four points of the Chairboys with victory this weekend.

Ward named an unchanged starting line-up against the plucky non-leaguers with the same seven players named on the bench and he is unlikely to make any changes this weekend. Seven players remain in the treatment room with defender Adam Virgo, a one-time target of former manager Gary Waddock, close to a return to training following knee surgery. Defender Jim Paterson is sidelined with a hamstring problem whilst midfielder Ollie Clarke is recovering from surgery on a knee ligament injury. Ex-Wanderers goalkeeper Scott Bevan hasn't played since undergoing surgery on his wrist last summer.

A trio of players have been ruled-out for the rest of the season. Defender Gary Kenneth has damaged his anterior cruciate knee ligaments and he is now set for eight months on the sidelines. Midfielder Matt Gill, a transfer target of ex-Blues boss Peter Taylor, is recovering from knee surgery whilst striker Matt Harrold, another former Chairboy, continues his rehabilitation following surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament.

Bristol Rovers should line up like this: (4-4-2):

Steve Mildenhall

Michael Smith - Mark McChrystal - Tom Parkes - Lee Brown

Danny Woodards - Oliver Norburn - Seanan Clucas - John-Joe O'Toole

Joe Anyinsah - Ryan Brunt

Subs: Conor Gough, Clayton McDonald, Fabian Broghammer, David Clarkson, Ellis Harrison, Eliot Richards, Tom Hitchcock


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 13th place with 42 points from 31 games and Rovers in 19th spot with 35 points from 30 games.


Rovers Home Record.......W 5 - D 3 - L 6 - Pts 18...Ppg 1.29 (Rank-16)

Wycombe Away Record...W 6 - D 2 - L 7 - Pts 20...Ppg 1.33 (Rank-7)


Rovers's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Fleetwood (A)...........Won 3-0

Lg2: Rotherham (A)..........Won 3-1

Lg2: Barnet (H)................Won 2-1

Lg2: Cheltenham (A).......Drew 1-1

Lg2: Oxford (A)................Won 2-0


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Wimbledon (A)..........Drew 2-2

Lg2: Dagenham (H)...........Won 1-0

Lg2: Gillingham (A)............Won 1-0

Lg2: York City (H)..............Won 4-0

Lg2: Bradford (H)...............Lost 0-3


Rovers Goal Stats (33 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 39...Cups: 2...Total: 41

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 52...Cups: 8...Total: 60

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 20...Cups: 1...Total: 21

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 24...Cups: 5...Total: 29

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 3.....Cups: 0...Total: 3

Failed to score...................Lg: 10...Cups: 1...Total: 11


Wycombe Goal Stats (35 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 38...Cups: 4...Total: 42

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 43...Cups: 8...Total: 51

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 18...Cups: 4...Total: 22

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 26...Cups: 8...Total: 34

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 10...Cups: 0...Total: 10

Failed to score...................Lg: 9.....Cups: 2...Total: 11


Rovers's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

David Clarkson.......7

Tom Eaves.............7

Eliot Richards..........4

Jo Anyinsah............3

Fab Broghammer....3

Four other players have each scored 2 goals.

Eight other players have each scored 1 goal


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Matt McClure............9

Joel Grant................8

Dean Morgan............7

Gareth Ainsworth......2

Bruno Andrade.........2

Jo Kuffour................2

Dave Winfield...........2

Sam Wood...............2

OG..........................2

Stuart Beavon..........1

Matt Bloomfield.........1

Gary Doherty...........1

Kortney Hause.........1

Josh Scowen............1

Matt Spring..............1


Rovers Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Tom Eaves.........26 on-target...15 off-target...2 against woodwork

David Clarkson...22 on-target...17 off-target...2 against woodwork

Eliot Richards......16 on-target...22 off-target...0 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Dean Morgan......26 on-target...22 off-target...6 against woodwork

Joel Grant...........20 on-target...23 off-target...0 against woodwork

Matt McClure.......14 on-target...16 off-target...1 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

Rovers.......164 on target...153 off target...8 against w'work (Rank-14)

Wycombe...126 on target...132 off target...9 against w'work (Rank-21)


Most Assists

Rovers - Eaves, Richards & Brown....3

Wycombe - Josh Scowen..................5


Discipline - All Comps

Rovers...........6 Red Cards - 52 Yellow Cards

Wycombe.......5 Red Cards - 58 Yellow Cards


League Form Guide

All Season


Rovers.......Pld: 30...W: 9.....D: 8...L: 13....Pts: 35...Pts per game: 1.17

Wycombe...Pld: 31...W: 12...D: 6...L: 13....Pts: 42...Pts per game: 1.35


First-half of the season

Rovers..........Pld: 23...W: 4...D: 7...L: 12....Pts: 19...Pts per game: 0.83

Wycombe......Pld: 23...W: 7...D: 5...L: 11....Pts: 26...Pts per game: 1.13


Second-half of the season

Rovers..........Pld: 7...W: 5...D: 1...L: 1...Pts: 16....Pts per game: 2.29

Wycombe......Pld: 8...W: 5...D: 1...L: 2...Pts: 16....Pts per game: 2.00


Last Five league Games

Rovers........WWWDW - 13 points (Rank-1)

Wycombe.....DWWWL - 10 points (Rank-3)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Rovers...........DLWLW - 7 points (Rank-12)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Wycombe.....WLWDW - 10 points (Rank-7)


Against Top Half Opposition

Rovers..........Pld: 15...Pts: 19...Pts per game: 1.27...(Rank-8)

Wycombe......Pld: 16...Pts: 17...Pts per game: 1.06...(Rank-15)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

Rovers..........Pld: 15...Pts: 16...Pts per game: 1.07...(Rank-22)

Wycombe......Pld: 15...Pts: 25...Pts per game: 1.67...(Rank-11)


First 45 mins v Second 45 mins - Performance Comparison

First-Half


Rovers.........W: 7.....D: 9....L: 14...'Pts: 30' (Rank-22)

Wycombe.....W: 11...D: 10...L: 10...'Pts: 43' (Rank-7)


Second-Half

Rovers..........W: 11...D: 10...L: 9.....'Pts: 43' (Rank-9)

Wycombe......W: 8.....D: 11...L: 12...'Pts: 35' (Rank-18)


League Goals scored in First-Half

Rovers............16 (41%) (Rank-18)

Wycombe........21 (55%) (Rank-4)


League Goals scored in Second-Half

Rovers............23 (59%) (Rank-11)

Wycombe........17 (45%) (Rank-21)


League Goals conceded in First-Half

Rovers............30 (58%) (Rank-23)

Wycombe........19 (44%) (Rank-12)


League Goals conceded in Second-Half

Rovers............22 (42%) (Rank-9)

Wycombe........24 (56%) (Rank-13)


Record when scoring the first goal

Rovers scored first.......14 times (W:9 - D:3 - L:2).. Ppg: 2.14 (Rank-16)

Wycombe scored frst....16 times (W:10 - D:4 - L:2) Ppg: 2.13 (Rank-17)


Record when conceding the first goal

Rovers conceded first...14 times (W:0 - D:4 - L:10) Ppg: 0.29 (Rank-21)

Wyc'be conceded first...13 times (W:2 - D:0 - L:11) Ppg: 0.46 (Rank-14)


Previous Meetings

In 30 previous meetings there have been 13 wins for Wycombe, 13 for Rovers and 4 draws.

In Bristol the tally is 7 wins for the Chairboys, 7 for Rovers and 0 draws.

1982/83 FAC: Rovers 1 Wycombe 0

1993/94 FAC: Rovers 1 Wycombe 2

1994/95 Lg1: Rovers 1 Wycombe 0

1995/96 Lg1: Rovers 2 Wycombe 1

1996/97 Lg1: Rovers 3 Wycombe 4

1997/98 Lg1: Rovers 3 Wycombe 1

1998/99 Lg1: Rovers 0 Wycombe 2

1999/00 Lg1: Rovers 1 Wycombe 0

2000/01 Lg1: Rovers 1 Wycombe 2

2004/05 FLT: Rovers 1 Wycombe 0

2004/05 Lg1: Rovers 1 Wycombe 0

2005/06 Lg2: Rovers 1 Wycombe 2

2006/07 Lg2: Rovers 1 Wycombe 2

2009/10 Lg1: Rovers 2 Wycombe 3


The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is Mick Russell from Hertfordshire was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2004. Earlier this season he took charge of Wycombe's 1-0 win at Fleetwood Town. During the current campaign he's issued 4 red and 73 yellow cards in 32 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Bristol Rovers 3 Wycombe 0

Len: Bristol Rovers 2 Wycombe 1




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 14 2013

Time: 11:44AM

 

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