Former Bristol City defender Joe Low played the role of local villain to perfection to put Wycombe on course for a 2-1 victory over lacklustre Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

The 21-year-old centre-back put the Chairboys ahead after 19 minutes when he rose unchallenged to powerfully nod in Luke Leahy’s free-kick, only to be booked for goading the home fans who greeted his celebrations with disdain.

Low, whose father Josh started his career at Rovers, then excelled on the defensive front to frustrate Joey Barton’s side who lacked direction but almost equalised after 43 minutes when striker Jevani Brown struck a post from close range.

In contrast, Wanderers attacked with purpose and Leahy twice went close to doubling the lead from long range against his old club but Rovers keeper Matt Cox pulled off excellent saves to deny the midfield playmaker.

Wanderers suffered a setback when Dale Taylor was carried off on a stretcher following a heavy challenge.

But Matt Bloomfield’s visitors stood firm and went further ahead thanks to substitute Garath McCleary’s clever finish after 74 minutes.

Chelsea loanee Harvey Vale, 19, gave Rovers hope with a deft strike in the 84th minute shortly after appearing as a substitute.

But Low led the Wycombe resistance and his desperate stoppage-time block to divert Tristan Crama’s shot wide ensured a victorious return to Bristol.