Gazolution gets going as Scowen wins it
Wycombe Wanderers 2, Torquay United 1.
JOSH Scowen’s first Wanderers goal brought Gareth Ainsworth his maiden victory as caretaker manager.
The teenager capped an all-action display with a second half header as Blues won at Adams Park for the first time since March, and the first time since Ainsworth took the reins.
Wanderers fans will be left wondering where Scowen has been hiding all this time, with the goal putting the seal on a hat-trick of man of the match performances since he was brought back from a loan spell at Eastbourne.
There was a zip and zest to Wanderers’ play that had been missing for large parts of the season, with Scowen’s industry and tenacity crucial in their good work.
It was fitting he grabbed the winner in a match Blues fully deserved to emerge victorious from, with Rene Howe’s equaliser the only black mark as the striker beat Jordan Archer at his near post.
Skipper Gary Doherty had put Blues in front, having being denied early on when he headed wide with two minutes on the clock.
In a bright start for Wanderers Scowen and Matt McClure combined to set up Ainsworth but the caretaker boss was denied by a last ditch tackle, before McClure fired over the crossbar from distance.
Chances were generally limited for Blues despite their enterprising play as a couple of injuries to visiting players disrupted the flow of the match.
The Gulls were kept at arm’s length for most of the first half, with Billy Bodin twice squandering good openings. Firstly his shot from the left flashed across goal, before he jabbed wide from a good position after stealing in front of his marker.
But Blues should have taken the lead when McClure snatched at a chance following a good build-up between Joel Grant and Charles Dunne, with McClure firing inches over the top from the full-back’s pass.
They weren’t to be denied for long and Ainsworth, eager to lead by example, was the man who created the opener. Torquay struggled to clear a corner, with Doherty being denied in amongst it all, but Ainsworth flicked the ball back into the danger zone and, with a flex of the neck muscles, the ball was in the net via Doherty’s head as he needed no second invitation.
It was no less than Wanderers deserved, but they threw it away minutes later as Howe cut in from the right and beat Archer – who until this point had been a virtual spectator – at his near post for a soft equaliser.
Back came Wanderers and the most vociferous penalty shout for a long time came as the half closed, with Aaron Downes batting the ball away with his arm, but to the amazement of the home fans and players referee Darren Drysdale waved play on.
McClure had to come off at the break but his replacement Dean Morgan created the first chance of the second half, as the lively Jo Kuffour had his low shot gathered in by Michael Poke, before the ex-Chesterfield man had an effort deflected inches wide of the post.
Blues were starting to crank up the pressure and Kuffour saw a shot loop onto the roof of the net via a defender after another good spell of possession football that was starting to become a trademark of the Ainsworth way.
Grant and Danny Foster were both well off target before Wanderers re-took the lead. Morgan was the creator, doing superbly to stop the ball rolling out of play before cutting inside his man and sending over a peach of a cross for Scowen.
The youngster couldn’t miss from a matter of yards, sending the ball into the roof of the net for his first goal for the club.
Having given away the lead once, Blues nearly did it again as Archer redeemed himself with an excellent full length stop to deny Ryan Jarvis, whose shot looked destined for the top corner.
But Blues were able to see out the game without Archer being too seriously troubled and indeed they could have sealed things with a breakaway third, but Matt Spring’s cross was cut out by Downes with Morgan looking odds-on to score.
The closest the Gulls came to levelling was during five nailbiting minutes of injury time, when Joe Oastler fired into the side netting following a corner.
Wanderers: Archer, Foster, Johnson, Doherty, Dunne, Ainsworth (sub Morias), Scowen, Lewis (sub Spring), Grant, McClure (sub Morgan), Kuffour. Substitutes not used: Harrison, Winfield, Stewart, Taylor.