Game 24: Bristol Rovers V Wycombe Wanderers 1.12.15

Or: So what does this fan know?

Transport to game. The usual for midweek games of late. Managed a pint of Butcombe Bitter in the Supporters Club bar.

The Game

Bristol Rovers 3 Wycombe Wanderers 0 Attendance 6,136 (255 Chairboys)

There is a massive temptation to just write “ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha “ but that would be childish.

Three goals to nil was kind to Wycombe. Before the game I boldly predicted to good friends Mike and Judy that we would win 4-1 because  “someone is due a stuffing but we couldn’t keep a clean sheet at the moment”. My predictions are generally rubbish and we all know that no one reads these blogs. Or do they, Mr. Clarke?

Tonight’s performance had virtually everything that the last four home games did not. To paraphrase my scouting report of the Stevenage game my main points were:-

  • The team likes to play to feet where possible
  • Wide players will cross when given any space
  • Centre backs will attempt balls into channels
  • Wide players will cut inside
  • They will automatically revert to method 1.
  • The little aggressive one in midfield will run in little circles and play the ball to full backs
  • The top scorer will shoot at the earliest opportunity, often by aiming straight at you.
  • They have four methods for corners.
    • A floated dropping cross
    • A longer, deeper cross that misses everyone
    • A hard low pass to a late arriving full back
    • A short corner
  • Free Kicks.
    • Right side of area will be a curled floaty cross
    • The left sided option will result in a shot at goal
  • The defence is generally well organised.
    • The bulky left footed one will challenge directly the ball in the air.
  • The young quiet one is a monster.
  • The skinny right back is a centre half and lacks full back nous.
  • The very skinny quick one is good but often is attacking high up the field
  • The bulky quick left back is very good defensively, rarely beaten by tricky wingers, Will allow an early cross.
  • The thin wide midfielders rarely defend but are available for quick throws from keepers or short passes from full backs. Nuisance defensive value.
  • Goalkeeper likes quick throw outs.

What has Darryl Clarke done? In total contrast they:-

o Changed to 3 at the back and 5 across midfield.
o Brought in a mobile larger centre forward and played directly to him, often bypassing the midfield.
o Dropped the taker of corners and free kicks.
o The team played to feet as a second option in the first half.
o The team played to feet as a first option in the second half.
o Wide players went past full backs to by-line and then crossed.
o Centre backs concentrated on clearing their lines, in the first half especially by launching the ball into row z.
o Method 1, i.e. play the ball across the back four and back again, was rarely, if ever, seen.
o Sinclair was less involved in the game but was more effective by doing the simpler stuff well
o Matty Taylor shot in the corners from distance, scored a hat trick and looked a class striker.
o Corners were hit in to a very crowded penalty areas and cleared to midfielders who recycled the ball wide.
o We scored from a training ground move at the edge of the box.

Key events for me were:-

I am a big fan of Ollie Clarke but he had a poor game by his standard and was substituted relatively early. He was replaced by Billy Bodin. At first it was rather puzzling to see how and where he would fit in to a middle five. He made a brilliant contribution, adding close control and passing through to the front two.

A tackle by Tom Lockyer. Unusually for him he misjudged a bouncing ball that left his striker ahead of him and bearing down on goal. It was no contest in the end as he nipped in to regain the ball where many would have given away a penalty and / or been sent off.

That First goal by Matty Taylor. A short pass, return pass, dummy and shot, deflected for sure, but smacked in to the top corner.

That second goal by Matty Taylor. The quick pass from the free kick that avoided the delaying tactics of the Wycombe defenders.

Wycombe tactics. I was impressed by them in the first half. They often threw three or four players forward and swamped key areas at times. I was really disappointed by their reaction to going behind. There should be a video on you tube of the fall to the floor of one of their players in the second half. Luckily the ref saw it and ignored the theatrical stuff, probably laughing at the ludicrousness of the attempt. I hope his mates are ripping the Michael out of him in training this morning. They have two monster centre halves who played with a smile on their face. It appears that this is not the way for many of the others when things go wrong.

Entertainment Value 4
“ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha “

120 in the ground with five minutes to go. Another 130 formed a larger huddle in the last few minutes. Their coaches appeared to leave early as well as arrive late.

Man of the Match: Matty Taylor

Next up York City at home on Saturday 12th December

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One thought on “Game 24: Bristol Rovers V Wycombe Wanderers 1.12.15

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