Wycombe Wanderers 1-2 Bristol Rovers
Yesterday saw us picked up our first three points of the season in a very convincing performance.
Rovers were 2-0 up within twenty minutes after finding the net from two set pieces, ironically from our starting full backs James Clarke and Tony Craig.
The Gas had lined up a little differently from previous games this season which saw an almost 4-4-2 formation in place. This saw Tommy Nichols partner our new number 9 Stefan Payne for the first time. Ed Upson and Ollie Clarke played alongside each other in centre midfield with young Sam Matthews and Liam Sercombe interchanging on either wing. And the Back four of James Clarke, Lockyer, Broadbent and Craig. Smith was also favoured over Slocombe in goal.
The back four worked extremely well with the aerial dominance and ability to play out from the back. Tom Broadbent being back in the side helped Rovers deal with the likes of The Beast Akinfenwa and despite them getting balls into the box, they were dealt with ease.
Rovers dominated possession and had very decent spells throughout with the central midfield pairing breaking down play and feeding the ball out wide which saw a decent number of crosses in the box something we’ve lacked in recent weeks. Upson looked the deeper of the two and found himself on the Ball orchestrating a lot of our play.
The effortless running of our new number 9 Stefan Payne helped Rovers on and off the ball and his all-round performance certainly helped contribute to a great away win. He was winning headers at the near post when defending set pieces and chasing down the defenders all game. he was a constant threat. His unselfishness, passion and ability to come in and chase down defences will certainly contribute to him being a fan favourite and he’s living up the billing of the number 9 we’ve been crying out for.
Tom Nichols complimented Payne extremely well. He looked comfortable in a front two playing off a big man and I believe that’s how we’ll see the best of him. He was able to split the defence, hold the ball up, play in others and win free kicks in decent positions on the pitch.
The late goal conceded helped swing the momentum a little in the latter stages of the game, but Rovers defended well and came away with all three points.
No thunder clouds loomed, and the beast was tamed.
Now let’s hope we carry the momentum into Tuesday night where we’ll be facing a different threat all together in a Pompey side that have won all 3 of their opening matches.