Wycombe Wanderers 2
Grant (10), Ainsworth (55)
Bristol Rovers 0
Rovers returned from Wycombe after suffering a 2-0 defeat and with the jeers of their own supporters ringing in their ears after a poor display.
Trailing to a single goal at the break, they enjoyed a ten minute spell of domination at the start of the second half but were unable to get the goal their play deserved at that point.
They then conceded another goal on the counter attack and never recovered from that blow.
Manager Mark McGhee made four changes to his starting lineup, with Matt Lund, Matt Gill, David Clarkson and Tom Parkes returning, at the expense of Seanan Clucas, Wayne Brown, Derek Riordan and Joe Anyinsah.
The manager stuck with the same back four and Michael Smith and Tom Parkes played on the right and left of midfield respectively with Matt Gill partnering Matt Gill in the two central positions.
David Clarkson partnered Tom Eaves up front.
After a cautious opening by both sides, Wycombe created the first opportunity of the game but Matt McClure dragged his effort wide of the target.
However the home side did take the lead shortly afterwards, following the breakdown of a Rovers attack deep in the Wycombe half. The ball was cleared up to the halfway line to Joel Grant who set off for the Rovers penalty area. He skipped past two challenges on his way into the box and calmly beat Sam Walker.
It signalled a spell of pressure from the home side. Charles Dunne was wide with a close range effort and then hit a long range shot straight at Walker.
Dean Morgan fired another shot wide of the upright before Rovers finally managed a shot at the other end, but when Clarkson played in Gill the midfielder directed his effort straight at Jordan Archer.
Tom Eaves hit a fierce long range shot straight at the keeper shortly afterwards and then Tom Parkes headed over from a corner.
Grant also fired over the bar at the other end before Rovers’ best chance of the half arrived with 33 minutes on the clock. Michael Smith broke down the right and his cross to the back post was met by Matt Lund, whose powerful header cleared the bar.
Lund then saw a long range left foot effort drift wide of the upright before the half came to a close.
Whatever had been said in the half time interval had the desired effect as Rovers took the game to their hosts from the off.
Indeed, had they taken any of the chances they created during that spell, surely they would have gone on to win the game.
Archer made a save from Smith’s close range effort, Eaves gathered the rebound and saw his shot blocked by a packed defence, while Clarkson glanced a header wide when well placed.
Archer punched away Guy Branston’s header and Garry Kenneth hooked a shot over the bar as they threatened to overrun their hosts.
Just when it seemed that they were about to claw their way back into the game, they were caught on the counter attack and Gareth Ainsworth, on as a substitute, knocked a cross from the left past Walker and it was game over.
Play became scrappy after that and there were few other opportunities for either side, though Walker did make comfortable saves from Ade Azeez and Dean Morgan in the final ten minutes.
Matt Lund was sent off in the final minute after picking up his second yellow card. The frustration he showed in making a rash challenge summed up Rovers’ miserable afternoon.
Team: Sam Walker, Danny Woodards (Seanan Clucas, 72) Garry Kenneth, Guy Branston, Jim Paterson, Michael Smith (Derek Riordan, 63), Matt Gill (Ollie Norburn, 58), Matt Lund, Tom Parkes, Tom Eaves, David Clarkson
Substitutes: Fabian Broghammer, Lee Brown, Mitch Harding, Conor Gough
Yellow Cards: Lund (2), Smith, Woodards
Red Card: Lund
Wycombe Wanderers: Jordan Archer, Charles Dunne, Sam Wood, Leon Johnson, Dave Winfield, Joel Grant (Gareth Ainsworth, 46), Stuart Lewis, Josh Scowen, Bruno Andrade, Dean Morgan, Matt McClure (Ade Azeez, 77)
Substitutes: Lee Harrison, Dennis Oli, Marvin McCoy, Jesse Kewly-Graham, Junior Morias
Yellow Cards: Scowen, Lewis
Referee: D Coote
Away Attendance: 487