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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 7th May 2005
Football League 'League Two'
Ref do you want your ball back? Wanderers ended the 2004/5 campaign with a defeat, going down 1-0 at Bristol Rovers. The result sees Wycombe finish 10th in the table, missing the play-off zone by seven points having taken just nine points from the final nine games of the season.
Team news for Wycombe saw Lance Cronin given a debut in goal after Frank Talia was ruled out with a groin strain. Nathan Tyson failed to recover in time from his deadleg and Adrian Caceres was given his first start. Meanwhile, Rovers had been given special dispensation by the Football League to bring in two players on the day before this match due to injuries to their squad. The new faces were Woking and former Oxford United striker Jefferson Louis plus Exeter City defender Alex Jeannin. It was decision that Wycombe boss John Gorman was not happy with, commenting before the game "They may have a crisis but so have we and we've not made a fuss about it. I've not been informed that these facilities are available and I never would have dreamed that you could do this on the last day of the season."
Although there was little riding on this game, it was disappointing for many concerned at Wycombe. It was Rovers who adapted better to the end to end wind and bumpy surface to run out victors and leave Wycombe wondering what might have been from an eventful season. The only goal of the game came in the 12th minute from ex-Wanderers loanee Richard Walker. The former Villa trainee headed in at the near post after Chris Curruthers had delivered from the left. The other highlights of an otherside drab first-half was an incident where referee Andy Penn was hit between the legs by a quickly taken free-kick by Rovers. He continued after treatment but was replaced at the break by Assistant Bob Desmond. Elsewhere the play was broken up on two further occasions when both Matt Bloomfield and Joe Burnell were required to change their shirts and shorts because of blood from minor cuts. It all added to a fragmented opening 45 minutes where chances were limited for both sides. Cronin did well to tip over a lob from Jeannin on 38 minutes while Wycombe came closest to equalising when Caceres sent his under weight shot straight at Ryan Clarke in the Rovers goal after a run in from the right.
With the wind behind them in the second-half it was Wycombe who looked the side more likely to score. A Matt Bloomfield cross from the left was cleared away at the far post on 56 minutes while Johnson's conversion to striker prompted a late rally. Johnson's run into the box on 70 minutes ended when he went to ground following a challenge by 'keeper Clarke. Wanderers claimed a penalty but the referee thought differently and booked Johnson for diving. Two minutes later Caceres saw a header brilliantly palmed away by Clarke for what proved to be Wanderers final serious attack. Youth Teamer Ikechi Anya was introduced in the final stages but was unable to have an influence on the result.
Final Score - Bristol Rovers 1 Wycombe 0
Speaking after the game to BBC Three Counties Radio Wycombe Manager John Gorman said "I just felt today that we missed characters. Rob Lee has been magnificent for us and it proves that some days when these experienced players are not playing, 'Rhino' for instance, they are a miss. There were a lot of young players out there today. I gave then a chance to show what they can do." Gorman added "We didn't play well. I've no excuses. I'm angry because I wanted to finish the season off on a high but sometimes circumstances doesn't allow that. I think if I'd had my full team out today and lost I would have been more angry. I'm angry because I gave people a chance to show what they can do and they didn't take it."
Rovers fans show their appreciation to the travelling support from WycombeMeanwhile, Rovers boss Ian Atkins commented in the post match press conference "If you take into account the circumstances surrounding the team going into this fixture, then for me it was the result of the season. We had people who turned up yesterday that only had 30 minutes to work with us on the shape of the team. A player on loan, a player on non-contract, and I think in that respect it was a great result. Wycombe are a quality side and we knew that we might not have a lot of the ball against them, so to beat them like that I thought was fantastic, and I thought the performances of the players was fantastic." He concluded "We've played nicey-nicey stuff here this season and got caught out, and now we're doing that to our opponents."
Wycombe: Cronin, Senda, Easton, Johnson, Williamson, Uhlenbeek (sub 69 Nethercott), Burnell, Bloomfield (sub 81 Anya), Philo (sub 55 Martin), Dixon, Caceres - subs not used: Williams, Claridge
Bookings: Johnson (unsporting behaviour)
Scorers: none
Bristol Rovers: Clarke, Edwards (sub Trollope), Anderson, Elliott, Bass, Jeannin, Lescott, Carruthers, Williams (sub 89 Soares), Louis (sub 86 Haldane), Walker - subs not used: Forrester, Lines
Bookings: none
Scorers: Walker (12)
Referee: A Penn Attendance: 7,358 (530 away sections)
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