The wrecking ball of League One got a taste of its own destruction as Doncaster Rovers saw their run of form ended in devastating fashion.
After three weeks of demolition jobs, Rovers were dismantled themselves in ultra quick time by Wycombe Wanderers.
That they had put themselves in a position of power beforehand only made the defeat more difficult to swallow for Rovers.
Holding a two goal lead until 11 minutes from time, they finished on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline as Wycombe roared back and Rovers had no answer.
An often ill-tempered affair – one which probably should have seen a red card for Wycombe’s Dominic Gape for a high challenge on Herbie Kane – had been tame in quality terms but ultimately delivered one of the most entertaining conclusions.
Two goals in ten second half minutes from John Marquis and substitute Tommy Rowe looked to have put Rovers on course from a tenth win in 13 matches.
But Paris Cowan-Hall scored twice and Curtis Thompson also struck to see the hosts at Adams Park turn the game on it’s head in little more than quarter of an hour.
Entertaining held little interest for Rovers in such circumstances, particularly as they dropped out of League One’s top six.
It is to be hoped they do not look back on this game as a what if moment come the end of the campaign.
RESPONDING AND FAILING TO RESPOND
One of the most frustrating aspects of the defeat for Rovers was that they managed an excellent response after half time but failed to do the same once they had taken control of the game.
In the first half they were stifled and frustrated in a slog of an encounter. Wycombe pressed high and hard, creating a four man front line to pin the Rovers full backs in.
And the hosts pounced quickly to ensure no time on the ball at all for the Rovers midfield. It killed creativity and sparked an absence of composure within the Rovers side.
But the manner in which they turned things around after the break was particularly impressive.
Unable to play around Wycombe, they opted to play through them instead. Lofted balls were chased down with pace and power, with forwards forcing their way past markers with great strength.
It saw Rovers manage their first real periods of threat early in the second half and paved the way for the two goals that put them in command.
But a drop in such intensity and drive came soon after Rowe’s goal and ensured that while Rovers held a two goal cushion, there never seemed to be comfort in their lead.
Wycombe began to create pressure and, disappointingly, Rovers failed to react enough to halt it. There was a sense of the inevitable of what would follow once Cowan-Hall pulled one back.
MISSED CHANCES PROVE COSTLY
The game was merely 15 minutes in when Rovers had arguably their best chance to score. Matty Blair raced through clear from half way but fired wide under some late pressure.
And glorious chances followed after the break for Mallik Wilks, who fired into the sidenetting after rounding keeper Craig Allsop and dragged an effort wide after being played through again moments later.
These opportunities would prove costly – but there were other opportunities at the other end of the pitch that would prove more so.
Wycombe scored three goals on a day when they created very little to trouble the Rovers defence.
Their main approach was shots from distance. And those which flew high and wide proved to be mere warning shots for what was to come.
Rovers twice missed opportunities to close down players, with Cowan-Hall and Thompson finding more than enough space to strike from distance and find the back of the net.
Perhaps the presence of behemoth Adebayo Akinfenwa off the bench was a distraction but Rovers had been warned – and they failed to heed the message.
Marquis maintained his excellent recent goalscoring form by hitting the 20 goal mark before the midpoint of January.
The 26-year-old is enjoying a special season with his confidence levels in front of goal reaching the heights of his stunning season in League Two.
He was the driving force behind Rovers’ impressive turnaround in the early stages of the second half, dragging them out of the slog of the first half to power into a two goal lead.
Who would dare bet against him hitting the golden 30-goal mark before the end of the season?