Bristol Rovers 0-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Bristol Rovers lost a close game against Wycombe Wanderers at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
Rovers were forced to spend most of the game on the back foot after David Clarkson was shown a straight red card on 25 minutes for catching Josh Scowen with his arm.
The home side defended well, but Wycombe eventually made their man advantage count on 82 minutes, when substitute Max Kretzschmar slotted home the only goal of the game.
John Ward made three changes to the side that drew with Mansfield last weekend.
Loan signing Will Packwood came straight in to the back four, with Ellis Harrison and Seanan Clucas returning to the side following international duty.
Lee Brown missed the game after failing to fully recover from a slight hamstring injury, while Ollie Norburn dropped to the bench.
Our other new loan signing, Alex Henshall, started the game on the bench. While former Gas player Jo Kuffour lined up for the opposition.
Rovers started brightly with an early effort on two minutes. Ollie Clarke arrived late into the area, got on the end of a cross from Ryan Brunt, but his powerful downward header was pushed out by the keeper for a corner.
Minutes later, Ellis Harrison ballooned a shot high and wide with his first touch from out on the left.
At the other end, Mildenhall tipped a header from Kortney Hause over the bar after he got on the end of a Jo Kuffour cross.
A foul Harrison by Matt Bloomfield led to a free kick 22 yards out, Harrison stepped up to take the kick, but didn’t trouble the keeper.
Then Kuffour had an acrobatic effort, after getting on to the end of a cross from Dunne, but he sent his bicycle kick over the bar.
Rovers were awarded a free kick in a good position following a clash of heads, but O’Toole fired high over the bar into the fierce wind.
Then came a massive blow for Rovers, as David Clarkson was sent off for catching Josh Scowen with a swinging arm.
Rovers were forced to make a reshuffle, with Ellis Harrison slotting in behind Ryan Brunt, and in front of a midfield three of Seanan Clucas, John-Joe O’Toole and Ollie Clarke.
Brunt tried his luck with a long range screamer from more than 30 yards out, but unfortunately he had the power but not the accuracy.
Although the game had started well for Rovers, it became scrappy after the sending off, and Wycombe began making their extra man count and putting the pressure on.
A snap shot from Billy Knott sailed past the post, before Steve Mildenhall pulled off an easy save from Anthony Stewart’s curling shot just before the break.
Wycombe started the second half strongly, keeping hold of the ball and passing it around well, without putting too much pressure on the Rovers back four.
Chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges of the second period, a long range shot from Knott was straight at Mildenhall, while at the other end, Brunt was unable to get a head on a Smith cross.
Wycombe had a dangerous free kick just outside the area, but the shot hit the head of Smith and went out for a corner.
Rovers made their first change of the game just after the hour mark, with Alex Henshall coming on to make his debut to replace Ryan Brunt. The change moved Harrison into the striker position.
Scowen fired over from 20 yards, as Rovers continued to defend well.
Wycombe had possibly their best chance to take the lead, but were denied by a great reaction save from Mildenhall. The initial shot from substitute Matt McClure was deflected off Packwood, and fellow substitute Jon-Paul Pittman was on hand to hit the ball from close range but was foiled by the Rovers’ keeper.
With just over ten minutes to go John Ward made his second change, with Mitch Harding coming on to replace Harrison.
Charles Dunne had a swivelling shot from inside the box, but Mildenhall was more than a match for him, and gathered easily.
Wycombe finally made their extra man count and took the lead. Mildenhall made a great initial save from Pittman, but his clearance fell into the path of Kretzschmar who slammed the ball home.
Rovers won their first corner on 84 minutes, but it was easily cleared by Wycombe.
Ward made his final change with five minutes on the clock, with Alefe Santos coming on to replace Clucas.
Team: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Will Packwood, Tom Lockyer, Ellis Harrison (Mitch Harding), John-Joe O’Toole, Ollie Clarke, Seanan Clucas (Alefe Santos), David Clarkson, Ryan Brunt (Alex Henshall)
Substitutes: Ollie Norburn, Mitch Harding, Conor Gough, Alefe Santos, Pat Keary, Josh Southway
Wycombe Wanderers: Matt Ingram, Nick Arnold, Anthony Stewart, Kortney Hause, Charles Dunne, Josh Scowen, Stuart Lewis, Billy Knott, Matt Bloomfield (Max Kretzschmar), Paris Cowan-Hall (Jon-Paul Pittman), Jo Kuffour (Matt McClure)