It’s a good job Rovers are already promoted. Losing to a side whose fans only got lively when chanting about furniture rankled; had more been resting on this, I fear I’d have chewed my arm off.
It was, as the cliché goes, a game of two halves. The first had goals and a competent Rovers, missing only ‘composure in front of goal’, and ‘defending the second ball’ from their getting-the-job-done checklist. Conversely, the second half offered nothing; just Wycombe strangling the life from proceedings – and everyone watching them – by killing time as keenly as a disillusioned employee at 4.47pm in their last week of employment.
Rovers’ failure to defend the second ball was rooted in attempts to prevent Adebayo Akinfenwa winning the first. But given Akinfenwa boasts the surface area of a parcel distribution depot, this tactic had the negative effect of concerning most men in red-and-white hoops. Just nine minutes in, with Rovers defence sucked into his gravitational pull, Akinfenwa headed a long throw against the bar, and Luke O’Nien exploited the space to nod Wycombe ahead.
Rovers had possession in attack, but little else. Tommy Rowe struck a post but it took Alfie May’s deflected cross to draw the sides level. It didn’t last. Another set-piece, another group of players hanging off Akinfenwa like men overboard clinging to a life-raft, another acre of space created for O’Nien to strike.
2-1. Game over there and then; the second half merely a fifty-minute empty space no-one will recall.
by Glen Wilson