Tranmere Rovers 2 Wycombe Wanderers 0
Vital Wycombe would like to thank guest writer Dale Jenkins for the following report.
Two particularly shambolic pieces of defending cost Wycombe Wanderers dearly as they were routinely beaten by a very average Tranmere performance at Prenton Park this afternoon.
In truth, the home side didn’t have to work particularly hard for the victory; more it was presented on a plate by some woeful defending and suicidal passing from the Wanderers throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Gary Waddock decided to recall fit-again Gareth Ainsworth to the starting line-up but again had to do without striker Stuart Beavon, still struggling after a knock to the head in last week’s home defeat to Brentford.
The first half “performance” from Wycombe had to be seen to be believed. The lacklustre, confidence-drained side seemed unable to construct a move consisting of three or more passes and created next to nothing as a result.
A long range effort from Ben Strevens sailed over the bar in the first minute but things soon became pear-shaped. Awful clearances, aimless long-balls and sloppy passing meant that Tranmere`s goal wasn’t threatened for the remainder of the first half.
The hosts took the lead in the ninth minute when Enoch Showunmi hooked the ball into the net from close range after a free kick was headed back across the box. Andy Sandell claimed a push at the far post but it seemed more of an excuse for a woefully poor defensive effort.
With Wycombe squandering possession each and every time they were gifted it by a poor Tranmere side, the pressure remained firmly in Nikki Bull`s goalmouth, with Lucas Akins, Adam McGurk and Showunmi wasting further chances as the hosts continued to completely control the match, and it was all due to the inept passing omnipresent in the away side`s play.
One chance did go begging for Wycombe as Benyon prodded wide from close range after good work by Strevens, but this was very much an isolated incident. The long ball tactic to a man of Benyon`s height continues to baffle and astonish.
Wycombe actually began the second half with some decent possession before an horrendous piece of defending from a corner meant Ash Taylor had a completely free header five yards from goal and made no mistake, giving Bull no chance whatsoever.
Stuart Lewis, along with Ainsworth and Leon Johnson, was at least putting in a good shift even if the end product was lacking, and this was illustrated perfectly as he headed a gilt edged chance onto the roof of the net when it looked easier to score.
Despite dominating possession in the final twenty minutes, the match petered out to its inevitable conclusion, a scoreline that Tranmere weren’t flattered by, but didn’t have to work very hard to achieve.
Gary Waddock will again be questioned over his tactical decisions after introducing Ben Harding and Matt Bloomfield before Scott Rendell or Kadeem Harris (who somehow didn’t feature at all) with a two-goal deficit to overcome.
Marvin McCoy was again overlooked at right-back despite being an outstanding performer this season. Elliot Benyon looks completely ineffective when the ball is played long to him, and yet this tactic is continually maintained. The Blues have now failed to score in five matches.
Leon Johnson`s performance was possibly the only highlight of the day, the defender tackling strongly and rarely wasting possession like most of the others did regularly.
Gareth Ainsworth put in a good effort on the wing, and later up front, but the quality was not up to his usual standard. There were however some particularly below-par performances from others in what can only be described as a sluggish, morale sapping farce.
Waddock will have to make some serious changes and search for that elusive winning formula, preferably one that includes finding the net, before the visit of high-flying Sheffield United a week today.
Ratings: Bull 6, Foster 5, Tunnicliffe 3, Johnson 7, Sandell 3, Ainsworth 5, Lewis 5, Donnelly 4, Grant 6, Strevens 4, Benyon 3. Subs: Bloomfield 5, Harding 4, Rendell 4.
Tranmere score simple win over limp Wanderers
Tranmere Rovers 2 Wycombe Wanderers 0