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Bloomfield bounces back as Blues make Trophy progress
Wycombe Wanderers 2, Bristol City 1.
MATT Bloomfield scored his first goal after a year out through injury as Wanderers deservedly progressed to the next round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Already a fans’ favourite at Adams Park, his strike to put Wanderers two goals clear of their League One opponents was one of the most popular to be scored in Bucks for many a year.
The long serving midfielder had already laid on the game’s opening goal for Billy Knott in a first half that was completely dominated by Wycombe, to lay the foundations for their progression to the competition's area quarter finals.
In a marked contrast to Saturday’s defeat to Burton, Blues carved the Robins apart at will with some showcase passing football and went at their higher graded opponents from the off.
Brendan Moloney pulled a goal back for City with a fabulous long range strike early in the second half to seemingly put things in the balance, but despite Wanderers having to weather some pressure they were able to see off the threat without too much difficulty.
In contrast to recent weeks Wanderers settled well as Paris Cowan-Hall blazed over before Blues took the lead with a well-worked goal. Sam Wood advanced from full back and beat two defenders before having his shot blocked by a third, with the ball rebounding out to Bloomfield.
The midfielder turned inside before sending over a low cross that Knott thumped into the top corner with a first-time shot via the gloves of former Wanderers loanee Frank Fielding.
City responded as Stephen McLaughlin’s effort from the edge of the box went comfortably wide, but Blues dictated the game and Jo Kuffour and Cowan-Hall combined to tee up Knott with a second shooting chance. This time the Sunderland loanee was off target, shooting high over the bar.
In an open game Anthony Stewart made a superb sliding tackle on Marlon Harewood just as the former West Ham man was about to pull the trigger after being sent clear of the Wanderers defence.
The defender, who scored in the last round of the competition at Exeter, was involved in less familiar territory as his fierce close range effort was somehow turned away by Fielding. The chance was created by the returning Josh Scowen sending the ball down the line with City rushing out from a corner, with Knott haring onto it and crossing into the centre.
Scott Wagstaff’s daisycutter, deflected behind for a corner, was all City could muster in response and it was no surprise Blues doubled their lead. This one was all about the creator of the first as Bloomfield shimmied his way into the area after latching onto Knott’s backheel before confidently beating Fielding at his near post.
Confidence was now coursing through Wanderers’ veins and Fielding was relieved to see Scowen’s 30 yard thunderbolt fly inches wide of the upright, and a great exchange of passes down the right involving Nick Arnold, Knott and Kuffour ended with the former Bristol Rovers striker lobbing over.
Kuffour curled wide of the far post from Cowan-Hall’s lay off but Wagstaff almost dragged the visitors back into the game as the hitherto underworked Matt Ingram leapt full length to turn his away.
And in stoppage time Wanderers could have extended their advantage as Cowan-Hall ghosted past a couple of defenders before being foiled by a fine low stop by Fielding.
Desperate to get a foothold on proceedings, City made a double substitution at the break as 16-year-old debutant Joe Morrell and Joe Bryan were replaced by Bobby Reid and former MK Dons striker Sam Baldock.
Reid made an impact straight away as his cross required Kortney Hause to make an excellent clearance with Harewood primed to score.
And within ten minutes of the restart City had a goal as full back Moloney took Reid’s pass in his stride before smashing past Ingram from well outside the box with his weaker left foot.
City started to mount a recovery and Kuffour was unlucky to see a snapshot fly wide from Knott’s first time ball in as he tried to relieve the pressure starting to mount on the Blues defence.
Sensing the tide was starting to turn, the Robins made their final change as top scorer Jay Emmanuel-Thomas replaced Harewood, but it was a Wycombe substitute who fired the next shot in anger as Max Kretzschmar fired tamely into Fielding’s hands.
Cowan-Hall burst clear after picking up a loose pass but Arnold’s shot at the end of it was also too close to the visiting keeper.
The Robins looked threatening going forward but lacked an end product to seriously worry Wanderers, although Hause produced an excellent tackle to stop ex-Arsenal man Emmanuel-Thomas in his tracks.
Wanderers: Ingram, Arnold (sub McCoy), Stewart, Hause, Wood, Scowen, Lewis, Bloomfield (sub Kretzschmar), Knott (sub Spring), Cowan-Hall, Kuffour. Substitutes not used: Horlock, Morias.
Attendance: 1,279 (349 away)
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