Preview: Wycombe Wanderers v Tranmere Rovers
Wycombe Wanderers entertain Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday in their 3rd league game of the season.
It's early days yet, but two league games, two wins, five goals scored and only one conceded is what you call a good start.
Having already shown the travelling fans that things are looking up, Gareth Ainsworth's new-look Chairboys treated the Adams Park crowd to an exciting 3-1 victory over Carlisle United on Saturday.
It was the first home game of the season, and an important first step towards changing the mindset of a home crowd conditioned to fearing the worst over the last few years.
Old habits die hard, so when the game was still goalless at half-time despite plenty of pressure from the Blues, it felt natural to expect the visitors to nick one in the second half and pocket all three points.
But this Wycombe side is a different kettle of fish to the one we watched last season and they started the second half exactly as they ended the first, culminating in Aaron Pierre's excellent opener after 55 minutes.
The only negative in an otherwise superb performance was the team switching off after the goal and allowing the visitors an immediate equaliser with their first notable attack of the afternoon.
This prompted a brief purple patch from United and more ingrained anxiety in the crowd that this would lead to an inevitable collapse.
It turned out to be quite the opposite as Ainsworth's men regained control of the game and ran out comfortable winners courtesy of a Paul Hayes penalty and a second goal of the season from Peter Murphy.
After the game, it was a pleasure to reflect on a performance where we rarely looked like conceding and frequently threatened to score. Whisper it softly, but If they keep this up, expectations will rise, the anxiety will wane and enjoyment levels will soar. It could be fun again.
This is only the third time Wycombe have won their first two games in a Football League season. 1994 and 2004 were the other years, and on both occasions the Blues failed to make it three, drawing 0-0 at home to Bristol Rovers in 94 and 1-1 away at Northampton in 04.
Third time lucky.
On the injury front, Stuart Lewis and Josh Scowen must be close to a place in the squad, but Gary Doherty will be out until October. With no new injuries reported, it's possible that Ainsworth could name an unchanged side for a fourth consecutive game.
Here's Dale Jenkins with a look at Rovers...
Tranmere Rovers were relegated from the third tier on the final day of last season following a defeat at home to Bradford City. Off-field developments in the summer saw ex-FA chief executive Mark Palios and his wife Nicola complete a controlling interest in the club. Ronnie Moore was sacked as Tranmere manager in May for breaching betting rules and replaced by former Exeter City assistant manager Rob Edwards.
Tranmere signed former Wycombe target Matt Gill in the summer from Exeter City as well as striker Elliot Richards and right back Danny Woodards from relegated Bristol Rovers. Andy Robinson returned to the club from Shrewsbury Town Michael Ihiekwe (Wolves), Experienced striker Kayode Odejayi signed from Rotherham United, Marcus Holness (Burton Albion), Matt Hill (Sheffield United and Marc Laird (Southend United) will shore up the defence, while Clayton McDonald (Grimsby Town) and Gerardo Bruna (Blackpool) complete the summer business.
The club lost talismanic forward Ryan Lowe and defender Ash Taylor to Bury and Aberdeen respectively for undisclosed fees. Giant ex-Wycombe goalkeeper Jason Mooney left for York City, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro departed for Shrewsbury Town, James Wallace signed for Sheffield United, Joe Thompson joined Lowe at Bury and finally left back Evan Horwood left for Northampton Town on loan. Long-serving centre half Ian Goodison was released alongside Callum Morris.
It has been a tough beginning in the fourth tier for recently relegated Tranmere, with just a solitary point to show from their opening two league fixtures. On the opening day Rovers required a 93rd minute volley from substitute James Rowe at Prenton Park to equalise against York City who had led through a 67th minute Keith Lowe header . A twelfth minute goal from Michail Antonio was enough for Nottingham Forest to leave Merseyside with a 1-0 League Cup victory three days later.
On Saturday Tranmere visited Shrewsbury Town and led by a single goal at the interval courtesy of Abdulai Bell-Baggie`s close range finish following Mark Laird`s cut back. The away side held out until stoppage time approached when substitute Andy Mangan tapped home a Mickey Demetriou cross at the far post. Left full back Demetriou then completed a remarkable late turnaround by heading home Mangan`s cross for the winner as Rovers left Shropshire empty handed.
Here are some early season stats...
Tranmere's season so far
Lg2: York City (H).....................Drew 1-1
LgCup: Nottingham Forest (H)......Lost 0-1
Lg2: Shrewsbury Town (A)...........Lost 1-2
Wycombe's season so far
Lg2: Newport (A).......Won 2-0
LgCup: Millwall (A)......Lost 0-1
Lg2: Carlisle (H)........Won 3-1
League positions & comparison with last season
Tranmere (Level points - 1 division lower)
After 2 games this season Rovers are 17th in Lg2 with 1 point
After 2 games last season they were 18th in Lg1 with 1 point
Wycombe (3 points better off)
After 2 games this season the Chairboys are 2nd with 6 points
After 2 games last season they were 13th with 3 points
Tranmere Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
Wycombe Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)
Discipline - (All Competitions)
Tranmere........0 Red Cards - 1 Yellow Cards
Wycombe........0 Red Cards - 3 Yellow Cards
Tranmere's League Record last season
Home - W:6 D:8 L:9 - GF:30 GA:39 - Pts:26
Away - W:6 D:3 L:14 - GF:22 GA:40 - Pts:21
Total - W:12 D:11 L:23 - GF:52 GA:79 - Pts:47
Final position: 21st in League One
Wycombe's League Record last season
Home - W:6 D:6 L:11 - GF:20 GA:27 - Pts:24
Away - W:6 D:8 L:9 - GF:26 GA:27 - Pts:26
Total - W:12 D:14 L:20 - GF:46 GA:54 - Pts:50
Final position: 22nd in League Two
In 10 previous meetings there have been 6 wins for Tranmere, 3 for Wycombe and 1 draw.
At Adams Park the tally is 3 wins for Rovers, 2 for the Blues and 0 draws.
2001/02: LG1 Tranmere 1 Wycombe 1
2001/02: LG1 Wycombe 2 Tranmere 1
2002/03: LG1 Wycombe 1 Tranmere 3
2002/03: LG1 Tranmere 1 Wycombe 0
2003/04: LG1 Tranmere 2 Wycombe 1
2003/04: LG1 Wycombe 1 Tranmere 2
2009/10: LG1 Wycombe 0 Tranmere 1
2009/10: LG1 Tranmere 0 Wycombe 3
2011/12: LG1 Tranmere 2 Wycombe 0
2011/12: LG1 Wycombe 2 Tranmere 1
The Man In The Middle
Tuesday`s referee is Brendan Malone from Wiltshire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2010. In January he sent Steven Craig off in the 20th minute of Wycombe's 1-0 home defeat to Oxford. Last season he issued 3 red and 70 yellow cards in 30 games, and so far this season his tally is 0 red and 0 yellow cards in 2 games.
Wycombe 1 Tranmere 0