Doncaster Rovers 2 Wycombe Wanderers 2
Vital would like to thank Adam Clift for the following report.
A Matt Bloomfield brace secured the Chairboys a well-earned point at Doncaster Rovers.
Wanderers` long-serving midfielder gave his side the lead and then scored a crucial late equaliser after Tommy Rowe and John Marquis had turned the game around for Rovers.
Gareth Ainsworth made four changes to the starting line-up with Will De Havilland questionably coming in for Anthony Stewart.
The other changes saw Luke O`Nien, Paul Hayes and Bloomfield replace Garry Thompson, Adebayo Akinfenwa and Nick Freeman.
It was a diamond midfield with Danny Rowe holding, Dom Gape and the returning O’Nien in the middle. Bloomfield played at the top.
Paul Hayes and Paris Cowan-Hall started up front.
The game started evenly, but the first clear cut chance came when John Marquis flicked on a cross and somehow James Coppinger failed to convert.
Wycombe had started well though, and when Jacobson beat his man and dug out a cross when the ball looked destined to run out for a goal kick, Rovers` keeper Ross Etheridge dropped it under pressure from Bloomfield.
The Wycombe man then pounced on the loose ball to convert with an overhead kick for his 3rd goal of the season.
Cowan-Hall tried to double the lead but Ross Etheridge held his long range effort.
The Wanderers` lead only lasted 10 minutes though. The ball was played up the Donny right and with Coppinger in acres of space after beating the offside trap he cut the ball across for Tommy Rowe to tap it home in the middle.
The goal dented the visitors confidence and was a boost for the hosts as they began to dominate. A dazzling Rowe run was eventually stopped by O’Nien whose challenge saw the ball crawl narrowly wide.
It wasn’t long however until Doncaster did take the lead. Wycombe over-committed and Marquis skipped past De Havilland, Harriman and Blackman after all three needlessly and stupidly dived in. It was excellent composure but horrific defending as Marquis finished the move off.
The hosts almost got another before half-time but Pierre headed the ball off the line.
Gareth Ainsworth made a change at half-time with Adebayo Akinfenwa coming on for Danny Rowe who’d picked up a knock.
This meant Gape, Bloomfield and Hayes all pushed back in the formation. A strange decision considering the success Donny had enjoyed out wide as Wycombe continued to persist with the narrow midfield which wasn’t particularly working.
Wycombe looked slightly more threatening with Bayo in the attack but truthfully you always felt a third Doncaster goal was coming.
Jamal Blackman made a good save from Coppinger after he’d skipped past Pierre far too easily.
At the other end an Akinfenwa overhead kick from a Jacobson free-kick was straight at Etheridge and a Hayes header went over from another.
Donny still looked threatening but Wycombe definitely weren’t out of it. Then when Cowan-Hall did brilliantly once more to come in from the left and shoot, Etheridge spilled his shot, and Bloomfield was there to pounce again and become the club’s top scorer for the season.
Suddenly the game turned again, this time in favour of the Blues as Akinfenwa spun and fired over.
A Harriman free-kick was straight at Etheridge, who caught one for a change before Sam Wood replaced O’Nien who’d done incredibly well to last over 80 minutes, his most football since March.
De Havilland turned a Doncaster cross just wide before four minutes of stoppage time were added.
And in the final minute of those four, Wycombe should’ve won it. Cowan-Hall who’d been outstanding all afternoon had a free header from six yards after Akinfenwa had flicked on Thompson’s long throw, but he could only head wide with the last touch of the match.
It was a game where Wanderers may have felt relieved to get a point, but should have snatched all three at the death.
On reflection it was a very good point that we’d all have taken at the start of the afternoon. The manner in which the first half lead was thrown away wasn’t satisfying, and nor was Ainsworth’s decision to persist with the narrow midfield.
However it was a second away point in a row and hopefully something to build on.
Next up for the Blues is a second trip of the season to Fratton Park, as the FA Cup begins.
Blackman 6 – Still really not convinced. I’d play Brown.
Harriman 6 – Average.
De Havilland 5 – Random start, especially over Stewart, and not particularly convincing.
Pierre 5 – If De Havilland was to play it should’ve been over Pierre and not Stewart.
Jacobson 6 – Both goals came from his side but lack of help due to formation. Offered plenty going forward.
Rowe 6 – Solid enough half but went off injured.
Gape 5 – Not been the same player in recent games.
O’Nien 5 – Off the pace as clearly not match fit but great to see him back.
Bloomfield 7 – Reacted brilliantly to 2 goalkeeping errors to become our top scorer.
Hayes 6 – Good shift from the skipper.
Cowan-Hall 8 – Outstanding. Should’ve won it with the match’s last touch costing him a 9 but almost earned a point on his own.
Akinfenwa 6 – Offered something different 2nd half.
Wood 6 – Worked hard once we had the point to defend.
Thompson N/a – Came on too late.
Bloomfield brace earns Blues a point
Doncaster Rovers 2 Wycombe Wanderers 2