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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 22nd March 2014
Football League Two
Wanderers were made to pay for several missed first-half chances against League Two leaders Rochdale as the visitors took theirs in the second-half and went away 2-0 victors. The result came after team news had seen Wanderers forward line switch again, with Matt McClure and Steven Craig ruled out with hamstring injuries and replaced by Dean Morgan and Reece Styche. Elsewhere, Stuart Lewis returned in midfield from his recent injury in favour of Reading loanee Nick Arnold.
The match saw another bright start for Wanderers on home soil as they forced several corners, and then saw Matt Ingram's long clearance on 10 minutes headed on by Morgan on the right of goal to set up Styche, with the Forest Green loanee flicking the ball over the defender before seeing his deft shot from 15 yards hit the right hand upright. The encouraging signs continued when Max Kretzschmar saw a free-kick tipped over by Josh Lillis in the Dale goal on 23 minutes. But the warning signs of why Dale are sitting top the League came on 39 minutes when only an amazing reaction save from Matt Ingram prevented Peter Vincenti's shot from the right of the six yard box breaking the deadlock. Wycombe went close again at the start of the second period with Lewis heading over and then Kretzschmar shooting over from a good position. But the harsh reality of the fine line between fighting for promotion and relegation came on 51 minutes when a Rochdale took the lead against the run of play when Sam Wood's headed clearance was sweetly volleyed past Ingram from 18 yards by Jamie Allen. It almost became 2-0 on 68 minutes but for Ingram's finger tips deflecting Michael Rose's left footed strike onto the crossbar. However, it was effectively game over for Wanderers on 74 minutes when Vincenti scrambled the ball from close range after Wycombe failed to clear their lines.
There was no way back for Wycombe and the table now has Wanderers in 21st spot, three points above the relegation zone on 42 points. Portsmouth are 22nd, also on 42 points but with an inferior goal difference after losing 1-0 at home to York City. Northampton are 24th with 39 points having drawn 1-1 at Morecambe having led until the 75th minute. Bottom placed Torquay are adrift on 36 points following a 1-0 home defeat to Newport County. Wanderers now travel to 5th placed Burton Albion on Tuesday evening (25th March), with Northampton at home to Wimbledon, Portsmouth away to Rochdale and Torquay away to York. It's then onto 2nd placed Scunthorpe United the following Saturday (29th March), in what will be a week of crucial results in the fight against relegation from the Football League.
Full-time - Wycombe 0 Rochdale 2
Post match reaction:
Commenting after the game, Gareth Ainsworth said, "Rochdale probably had less chances than us and less corners, but stuck their chances in the net and that wins games. That's why they’re top of the league, you‘ve got to take those chances. We’ll be working on that and we’ll go again Tuesday, but if we keep performing like that, I've said all along we'll be fine. That performance was good enough it’s just that final thing of sticking it in the net and we’ll be working on that. We need to put the ball in the back, of the net, it’s precious at this stage of the season. Your injuries, your suspensions all come into it. It’s about reaction in front of goal and slotting those chances home, We know we can do it we just need someone to take the mantle and start scoring goals and keep the club in the football league and we can build again for next year."
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