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Wycombe Wanderers v Rovers

Boz

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A chance to get over the Shrewsbury game quickly. Wycombe were amongst the favourites to struggle this season, after narrowly avoiding the drop into the Conference in the last one. However a couple of astute signings in Peter Murphy, who Rovers were linked with and Joe Jacobson and winning both opening games has changed that perception.

No news from the manager about injuries today, but I guess the loaning of Donacien means that Holmes and Holness aren't likely to be back for this one. Otherwise, our starting line-up is anyone's guess, with Rob's squad rotation. I think we need a more attacking line-up and approach than the last two league games. My choice would be as follows, assuming Baggie is also unavailable.

OFW
Woodards Ihiekwe Donacien Hill
Koumas Power Gill Rowe
Richards
Stockton

Prediction: Wycombe hasn't been too bad a hunting ground for us in the past, but with an inexperienced central defensive pairing, there's little chance of a clean sheet, so going for a score draw.
 
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Jason Koumas
I would imagine we will start with a more attacking line up than on Saturday and Koumas will probably return to the side. I like the look of Boz's team above, but I think Kirby and Richards may be utilised in wide roles in a 4-5-1 again (I hope not though).

In addition to the players Boz mentions, Wycombe also have Paul Hayes up front who will certainly test the new defensive pairing.

Despite Wycombe's strong start, we should be confident of taking something from this game.
 
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
I'm not at all confident as the team has yet to gel. If we get a point, I'll be pleased. Like Boz, I can't remember when I last saw Rovers win away. It's got to happen sometime.
 

Brightonian

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I want to keep positive and think we will get something out of this game. Do hope Jason is selected as we are not creating many opportunities and he can make the difference. Must say like the look of the Boz line up.
 

bigmart

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would take a point but think will lose 2 1
 
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Fantastic result and really pleased that Cole got his goal. It sounded like we rode our luck in the first ten minutes, with Fonners making a couple of great saves (critics take note), but thereafter it was a good team performance. Amusing coverage on Radio Merseyside with the commentators virtually sitting in the away end.

It sounded like Koumas played in the middle tonight with Richards just behind Stockton, which might have made a difference. I look forward to reading BBTC's report.
 

drwhoman

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A win a win a win!! Hurray hurray hurray! Sounds like a solid performance at the back. Interesting that Rovers made no substitutions. If it ain't bust don't fix it! On a different note I see Alex Russell is the new first team coach - another RE friend from the south west. Same age which is a positive. Mind you he is a Liverpudlian and was born in Crosby. At the time, his father, also Alex, was playing for Rovers! BBTC will remember him - played around 50 games before moving on in the early 70s.
 

Boz

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A mix of relief and joy. Our scorers two home-grown players, Stockton less isolated, hopefully a turning point. Looking forward to hearing more.
 

bigmart

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Very happy to get the first win of the season and first clean sheet too, hopefully the goal will boost Stocktons confidence looking forward to Saturday now
 
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
Where do I start? It was a thoroughly deserved win and the result reflected our superiority. We were better in every department including supporters. The away end was closed and 254 in the SWA were forced into the end of one of the side stands. The result was we were packed together and the atmosphere was incredible. We made a lot of noise throughout, while the home fans were quiet even before we scored.

We started off in a positive mood but Wycombe mounted the first serious attack. When the ball was crossed, Ihiekwe headed it firmly towards the goal but Fonners made a brilliant instinctive save. That was the nearest the home side got to a goal. Not long afterwards, Rovers forced a corner and after some clever work by Max, Cole swept his cross past their keeper. We controlled the game for the next half hour, but they put us under some pressure for the last five minutes of the half.

Although our four men controlled midfield and our defence looked solid, you never know with Rovers. We needed another goal and it came after a move down the left when Hill beat his man and the resultant cross was swept in by Max. The SWA erupted, the whole team including the subs swamped the scorer and we could all relax just a little. As time went on, we grew in confidence and their game fell to pieces.

It was a great team effort, so much so that it feels wrong to name a MoM as it reflects badly on the other 10 who were all excellent, but I have to give it to OFW who was outstanding. His save from Ihiekwe was incredible and he saved three times from their forwards, making each save look easy. He handled every cross with real confidence. Without him, the result might have been very different. That said, I could not find fault with any of our team. Woodards is a class act, Hill is very comfortable on the ball, Holness coped with everything that came his way and Ihiekwe didn't let his early mistake and a later booking affect his composure. The midfield kept Wycombe quiet. Koumas and Power looked a class above League Two, while Kirby and Laird ran their socks off. Stockton took his goal well and was a handful throughout. Richards worked hard in support of Cole, but really needs a goal to boost his confidence.

Wycombe were dire. How they won their first two matches, I don't know. They couldn't string any passes together, had problems controlling the ball and played a route one game. Most of their shots were from long range. It didn't look like a bad day at the office, they looked clueless.

It's early days, but if we can keep this up, we should be comfortable in League Two this year.
 
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I see Alex Russell is the new first team coach - another RE friend from the south west. Same age which is a positive. Mind you he is a Liverpudlian and was born in Crosby. At the time, his father, also Alex, was playing for Rovers! BBTC will remember him - played around 50 games before moving on in the early 70s.
Yes, I do remember him, but not very well. I think he joined us from Liverpool but made very little impact. I'm pleased to see Russell junior join us. The pieces in the jigsaw are coming together.
 

Brightonian

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A thoroughly entertaining game and a well deserved win. As said all the team worked really hard and battled to the final whistle.

Our defence was immense with for me Holness just shading it as MOM leading by example and hardly missing a header or tackle throughout mixed with tremendous courage and commitment. Fonners did pull off some good saves (although he tends to make them look more spectacular) but he collected everything he came for tonight which is a great relief.

The best game I have seen from Cole so far and he looks as though he will improve a lot more and score many in the future. Richards did work hard but sadly did not do all that much to impress but will no doubt improve but that said it was better having him closer to Cole. The class act was Jason who stood out with some wonderful touches. I was not quite as convinced that we dictated the midfield and against better teams we will have to keep hold of the ball more and build up the moves. Laird put in a good shift, defended well with his height useful at set pieces but he did get caught in possession a couple of times.

The boys really wanted it tonight and every one of them deserves praise for the way they battled and made sure that first win was secured.
 

drwhoman

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Thanks for the report after a long trip back BBTC. Sounds very positive and a good warm up for the Cheltenham game. While they are unbeaten they were unable to beat Carlile at home last night. The Saturday game will be a reunion with Terry Gornell of course.
 

drwhoman

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Aha BBTC ! I now realise it was not quite so far for you. Still thanks for the prompt report all the same. I see RE was saying after the game that he has high hopes for Cole. It will be interesting to see if he is right. Nice to hear that Laird had a reasonable game. It seemed he had a stinker against York.
 
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Thanks for the reports. Having played three games against opponents of varying quality, I am increasingly confident that we can challenge this season. We were poor against York but the opposition were by no means outstanding and we did not lose; Shrewsbury are one of the favourites to go up, but were not really better than us in any department over ninety minutes and it was a game we should never have lost; last night we won convincingly against middle / lower table opposition.

Significantly, each league performance under Edwards has been better than the one before. I would expect the majority of those who started last night will play again on Saturday and we will begin to see a more settled side from now on.
 
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Significantly, each league performance under Edwards has been better than the one before. I would expect the majority of those who started last night will play again on Saturday and we will begin to see a more settled side from now on.
Despite what he said, I think Rob was changing the side for the first few games in order to assess his players. I agree that he will try to keep to a settled team from now on - injuries, suspensions and form permitting. After battling so hard for the first win, it would be cruel to drop anyone. Last night's team looked a good unit and should form the basis of our team for at least the next few games. Of those who didn't play, I think Rob will be tempted to try out Donacien, even though he is clearly not on a "must play" deal. Holmes and Ridehalgh might find it tough to get their places back, if Woodards and Hill stay. I'd expect Rowe, Bell Baggie and Odejayi to feature a lot, but possibly as subs. Bruna could come good and provide much needed width, but time is not on his side. I was surprised not to see him brought on last night for the last fifteen minutes.
 
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Having seen the highlights on the OS, I'm moderating my views a bit. The SWA had a poor perspective from a corner of the ground and I was barely above pitch level. Stockton's goal was a real striker's effort, hit first time with the attitude of a man who's confident. He tried a similar shot a few minutes later which didn't come off. Richards will be a different player once he has bagged a couple of goals.

Max's goal was well taken, although the pass which reached him looked a miskick. While on the subject, I really think Rob must do all he can to give him an extended deal. As things stand, we could (and probably will) lose him in May.

Wycombe weren't so woeful as I had thought. They created more chances than Rovers, but they were mainly long range shots which OFW dealt with. But I still don't rate them and we fully deserved our win.

The side is now looking settled. Ten of the players who featured against Crewe and York played on Tuesday.
 
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