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Grant and Gaz goals defeat Gas
Wycombe Wanderers 2, Bristol Rovers 0.
A GOAL of the season contender from Joel Grant set Wanderers on their way to their third win in a row.
The winger ran from the halfway way to score his goal and lay the foundations for another victory that keeps the morale levels topped up against Blues’ flying squad members.
Manager Gareth Ainsworth sealed it with a second after the break as Blues took advantage of the second chance they had been given by Mother Nature.
Wanderers were 3-1 down when the sides’ last encounter was prematurely ended as rain, thunder and lightning intervened and Ainsworth demanded his players make the most of this unexpected opportunity.
They did precisely that as, apart from a ten minute spell between half time and Ainsworth’s killer second goal, Rovers - who finished the game a man light after Matt Lund's late red card - were never in the contest as the revolution under the player-boss continues to gather pace.
Blues have put daylight between themselves and the bottom two and even some of the more pessimistic members of the Adams Park faithful might be looking up the table rather than down.
Both sides started at a high tempo and looked to get the ball down and pass it, although Matt McClure’s effort from 25 yards that skidded wide was all there was to write home about.
That was until Blues’ top scorer Grant lit up Adams Park with a moment of sublime skill. Fine work from Josh Scowen won the ball back and set the rampaging Grant free on the halfway line – from where he steamed unopposed through the midfield, turned both the visiting centre halves inside out when he reached the edge of the box before coolly slotting under keeper Sam Walker for a goal that had class and quality written all over it.
A scrappier second almost followed as McClure just failed to stab home in a goalmouth scramble that only came to a conclusion when Charles Dunne, back from suspension, fired into the side netting.
Inspired by the goal, and the momentum from their run of form, confidence was flowing through the team as Dunne had Walker worried with a long range free-kick that a few months ago he probably wouldn’t have attempted.
Then Dean Morgan turned his man superbly before firing in a low curling effort from 25 yards that flashed just the wrong side of the post.
Rovers rarely threatened and Blues keeper Jordan Archer had no problem dealing with the tame shots from skipper Matt Gill and Michael Smith in response.
The sides traded chances as goalscorer Grant volleyed off target and Lund headed just over the bar from a pinpoint right wing cross when the midfielder will probably feel as though he should have done better.
Lund came closer with his next effort as he blazed narrowly wide of the target from just outside the box as the visitors inched their way back into the game.
Wanderers had to make do without the mercurial talents of Grant after the break as the winger came off at the interval, with player-boss Ainsworth taking his place.
But it was the Gas who nearly landed the first blow of the second half when Smith latched onto a lofted ball into the box, and the midfielder was foiled by an excellent reaction save from the alert Archer.
The visitors cranked up the pressure as Tom Eaves’ shot from six yards was deflected over for a corner, from which Archer had to fist away a header from defender Garry Kenneth.
The giant Scottish centre half then volleyed over from another set piece before a breakaway second from Wanderers. Blues rapidly broke down the left flank and Sam Wood sent over a cross that nicked off a defender on its way through to Ainsworth, with the gaffer diving to head home his second of the season.
That effectively killed the game as Eaves sliced horribly wide from a decent opening, and Wanderers substitute Ade Azeez forced Walker into a smothering low save as chances at both ends dried up.
The game ended on a sour note for Rovers as Lund was given a second booking for a bad lunge on Stuart Lewis and he was sent off in stoppage time.
Victory means Blues are nine points off the top seven – and with the current confidence levels and displays on the pitch, an unlikely play-off push may not be out of the question.
Wanderers: Archer, Dunne, Johnson, Winfield, Wood, Grant (sub Ainsworth), Lewis, Scowen, Andrade, Morgan, McClure (sub Azeez). Substitutes: Harrison, Oli, McCoy, Kewley-Graham, Morias.
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