CHAIRBOYS SEE OFF DEMONS
GARETH AINSWORTH believes his Wycombe side “exorcised some demons” in beating Bristol Rovers at Adams Park.
It was the third time the sides have met this season with the Pirates winning 2-0 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy before a Matty Taylor hat-trick saw them beat the Chairboys 3-0 in December.
However, Luke O’Nien’s header five minutes from time proved the difference here as he got on the end of Joe Jacobson’s free-kick from just inside Rovers’ half to hand the hosts three points.
“The last three games we’ve played against Rovers have been disappointing for us, so we have exorcised some demons,” said Ainsworth.
“It is a huge three points to get and the best team won as well, I really do believe that.
“We reduced them to becoming a long-ball team. I’ve watched Bristol Rovers a lot and I know they can knock it about a lot, but we restricted them.
“It’s ironic really that the only goal came from a set piece because there was plenty of good football on show.
“Our support was great and we showed that even though we’re a small club, we can make as much noise as anyone.”
In the opening 20 minutes Marcus Bean, Paul Hayes and Stephen McGinn all failed to find the target with decent chances for Wanderers.
Bean had the best of three opportunities, getting on the end of a neat passing move only to fluff his lines when the moment came.
Home fans had to wait 30 minutes before veteran goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall was tested as he pushed wide a Jacobson free-kick.
Rovers did venture forward but found the home defence difficult to break down with Anthony Stewart and Jason McCarthy keeping former Chairboys star Jermaine Easter and Rory Gaffney in their back pockets.
Having been limited to a couple of half-chances in the first period, the Pirates looked more dangerous after the interval with Ryan Allsop having to stop goal-bound efforts from Lee Mansell and Ollie Clarke.
Wanderers weathered the storm and finally got their reward five minutes from time through their 21-year-old midfielder’s header into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Pirates boss Darrell Clarke cut a sorrowful figure after the match, saying he was disappointed to leave with nothing.
“It was one of those days, it was an ugly game of football and I knew it was going to be that way,” he said. “I picked a team who would be decent on second and third balls and we defended well except for one ball into the box. We just switched off, the ball came between the lines and it cost us.
“We didn’t deal with that and now the changing room is frustrated and flat, but we’ve got to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off.
“In the second half we were on top but it counts for nothing if you switch off.”
STAR MAN JOE JACOB
be GHOST BUSTER: Luke O’Nien leaps to celebrate scoring Wycombe’s winning goal Inset: Wycombe keeper Ryan Allsop pulls off a great save