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Bristol Rovers 3
Wycombe Wanderers 0
Tuesday 1st December 2015
Football League Two
Wanderers sufferred their biggest defeat in nearly two years as they went down 3-0 at Bristol Rovers - Rovers's striker Matty Taylor bagging a 12 minute second-half hat-trick to inflict Wycombe's biggest defeat since losing 3-0 at home to Wimbledon in January 2014. Wycombe remain 9th in the table but Rovers are now level on points with Wanderers and have made up six in the goal-difference rankings.
The defeat came after Gareth Ainsworth made one enforced change to the side that had drawn at home to Portsmouth at the weekend - Danny Rowe coming in for the suspended Aaron Pierre. Elsewhere, second choice 'keeper Alex Lynch returned on the bench after being recalled early from his loan spell at Braintree Town. Meanwhile Stephen McGinn also returned amongst a seven man subs bench that included Aaron Amadi-Holloway for the sixth consecutive game as rumours of a contract dispute with the Wycombe Manage begin to surface. New Brentford loanees James Ferry and Jermaine Udumaga were not included but did travel with the First Team to Bristol to see what they might come up against in 'League Two'.
Rovers had beaten Wanderers two months previous in a Football League Trophy tie at The Memorial Ground. In the meantime, Rovers had been dumped out of the FA Cup at home to Chesham United while going on a League run on one win in four. Wycombe were unbeaten in six and looking to continue their outstanding away form in the past year and a bit.
Rovers had slightly the better of the first-half. Lee Mansell saw Matt Ingram tip over his shot from distance in the first minute. on 8 minutes Taylor, rejected by Oxford United in 2009, gave a warning of what was come when he made space on the left side of the box, only to see his angled shot denied again by Ingram. Wycombe's best opening came when Sam Wood smashed the ball into the left hand side netting on 15 minutes after Matt Bloomfield had dinked the ball across from Garry Thompson's earlier assist. That was about as good as it got for Wanderers.
The damage started on 60 minutes when Taylor converted a disputed free-kick conceeded by Matt Bloomfield. Two minutes later it was 2-0 after Wood fouled Billy Bodin and Taylor struck home the again past Matt Ingram after a quick take by Stuart Sinclair. An incredible save by the Wycombe 'keeper on 64 minutes prevented Taylor from bagging his hat-trick inside six minutes but there was nothing Ingram could do to prevent Taylor from making it three for him and three for Rovers on 72 minutes after Anthony Stewart and Rowe got tangled up to allow Taylor in again.
That was game over, with Wycombe offering little response, while Rovers bought on former Wanderers Paris Cowan-Hall (on loan from Millwall) and Jermaine Easter for cameo appearances on an evening that highlighted the thread bare squad that Gareth Ainsworth is working with.
Next match, the visit to Millwall in the FA Cup on Saturday (5th December).
Full-time - Bristol Rovers 3 Wycombe 0
Speaking after the game, Wanderers Manager Gareth Ainsworth told the press: "Whatever I say is not going to make them feel any worse than they already do - they are all gutted in there. We collapsed in the last 30 minutes which is not like us, but I know my boys, They pick themselves up quickly and they won't carry this with them. It is a great free-kick, but the thing for me is we should have kept it at 1-0. The two goals after that were very sloppy and really avoidable. The free-kick that leads to the second goal is really clever and taken really quickly, but we have to stop it. We warned them before the game they take free-kicks quickly, so we have got to stand on the ball and force the referee to count the 10 yards. And the ball can't bounce in the box like it did for Taylor to get his hat-trick." The Wycombe boss added: "They are young kids back out there [Jason McCarthy and Anthony Stewart] and are going to make mistakes. We are missing Joe Jacobson and Marcus Bean, while Aaron Pierre was suspended, and they are big players for us. My youngsters match players in this league though. If it happens again [the poor defending against Bristol] I will have a problem. Being a betting man I wouldn’t bet on it happening again too often though."
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