Wycombe Wanderers 1 Torquay United 3
The Blues crashed to their third defeat in four games with their worst performance of the season so far.
The Gulls were far superior in every department and fully deserved their victory.
Abysmal passing, comedy defending and woeful finishing were the main ingredients of a lethargic Wycombe performance which had large sections of the crowd heading for the exit long before the final whistle.
In contrast, a lively Torquay side showed great movement off the ball, passed it with precision, and closed Wycombe down quickly all over the park.
An early Wycombe goal, scored by Stuart Beavon after seven minutes, proved to be nothing but a false dawn.
Beavon started the move himself with a sublime back-heel to Ben Strevens who fed Kevin Betsy on the left wing. The winger ghosted past his marker before heading to the bye-line and pulling the ball back for Strevens to shoot. The shot was blocked but Beavon poked the rebound over the line to make it 1-0.
If a superb 30 yard volley from Gareth Ainsworth five minutes later had found the target instead of missing by inches, we may have had a different game on our hands, but it didn’t, and the Gulls began to take Wycombe apart.
They equalised after 26 minutes when the Blues failed to clear a corner and the loose ball fell to Nicky Wroe who hammered it high into the net from the edge of the penalty area.
Moments later, a deflected free-kick looked in all the way until Blues’ keeper Nikki Bull dived low to his right to pull-off a superb reaction save.
The Blues almost stole a cheeky lead shortly before the break when Ainsworth forced his way through the Gulls’ defence but fired his shot against the foot of the post with only the keeper to beat. The rebound fell to Betsy, but his composure deserted him and he sliced his shot wide of the open goal.
The 1-1 half-time score flattered Wycombe, but they could have regained the lead immediately after the break when Ainsworth’s cross found Betsy unmarked at the far post, only for the winger to miss the target yet again.
Moments later Torquay scored their second when Betsy lost the ball on the right and in the absence of anything approaching a challenge from the Wycombe defence, Nicky Wroe headed goalwards and picked his spot, curling the ball past Bull.
Right-back Danny Foster was unsurprisingly substituted soon afterwards, with new-boy Josh Parker taking his place. Scott Rendell also entered the fray in place of Ben Strevens.
The other new loan-signing Stuart Lewis replaced Lewis Montrose ten minutes later.
The Gulls were still on top and the Wycombe net was living a charmed life, but at 2-1 there was always hope of an undeserved point, until even that was extinguished when the Blues gifted Torquay a killer third goal after 88 minutes.
Chris Westwood brought the ball out of defence, ran straight into trouble and was easily dispossessed near the half way line. A quick pass was played through to Elliot Benyon and when he slid the ball past Bull it trickled toward goal where Dave Winfield was perfectly positioned to clear it, but fell over and could only watch it cross the line.
It just about summed up the whole performance.
Special Mention – Gareth Ainsworth
Man of the Match – Nikki Bull
Bull, Foster (Parker 55), Winfield, Westwood, Sandell, Ainsworth, Bloomfield, Montrose (Lewis 64), Betsy, Beavon, Strevens (Rendell 55)