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League Two

Gareth Ainsworth predicting great escape

26 April 2014

Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth is predicting a 'Great Escape' is still on for his relegation-threatened side despite a late David Clarkson strike that gave Bristol Rovers a 2-1 win, thrusting Wanderers into the relegation places.

Wycombe's existence in The Football League looks more than precarious after Clarkson's late strike saw Bristol Rovers claim all three points in the basement battle at Adams Park.

With fellow strugglers Northampton Town also claiming a win at Dagenham & Redbridge; Wycombe are now in the bottom two and relying on favours in next weekend's final round of games.

Lee Brown gave Rovers an early lead; Matt McClure equalised for Wycombe with his eighth goal of the season before the break but Clarkson had the last laugh, condemning the home side to just one win from their last 11 games.

Ainsworth said: "I believe we've got enough to beat Torquay (who they play in their final game of the season). I believe we've got enough to beat anyone in this league, we just haven't done it consistently enough this year.

"The fans have a right to say whatever they want about me. I'm not naive enough to think in football that won't happen, but get behind the team because they are working hard and have given their all today.

"I'm devastated for them because they're a young group and don't deserve to be where they are. Next week have to do our job at Torquay and rely on someone else to get us out of jail.

"It's not in our hands now, but we've done it before here at Wycombe Wanderers - the Great Escape. They did it at Lincoln many years ago and why can't we do it again."

Rovers broke the deadlock in the 11th minute when Brown stroked a stunning 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.

McClure equalised a minute later with a spectacular back-heeled flick from Wood's cross, which crept inside the far post to make it 1-1.

Both sides struggled for the remainder of the half, but Josh Scowen agonisingly miss-kicked the best opportunity from the edge of the box on 40 minutes.

The home side started the second-half positively, and a smart 53rd-minute turn from Scowen in the middle allowed him to feed in McClure, but with the goal at his mercy his first-time effort drifted wide.

Bristol Rovers won it against the run of play in the 74th minute, making their first meaningful attack of the half count.

Wycombe's McClure diverted a cross into the path of Clarkson who could not miss from six yards, sending the travelling Rovers fans into raptures.

And Bristol Rovers boss Darrell Clarke said: "I'm pretty level headed to be honest with you because I know there's still work to be done.

"So it's great to come here and get three points as it stays in our hands for our final home game, but nothing's done yet and I don't want people getting carried away to think it is.

"We know what we require now at home to Mansfield, but it is a tough league and nothing is a given.

"It was a bit of a brave call as I changed it to a 3-5-2 as I knew all the other teams were winning at half-time so this was a game we had to win.

"We needed to be aware of the other scores - I'm not doing my job properly if I didn't. I knew the others were all winning at half-time so I had plan B ready in the changing room.

"Our fans don't deserve to be in the situation we're in - they're the best in the league by a country mile.

"They're better than all the lower leagues and the even top leagues as well. They're different class and they've been with us all season so I'm determined to build this first team.

"I know what's required and I just need that bit of belief in me because that's where we're going to be going."


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