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Exciting end to the 1974-75 season - part 1

The 1974-75 season will always be remembered for the FA Cup run which saw Wanderers bow out at the hands of Middlesbrough. However, back in the bread and butter matter of the Isthmian League Wycombe were in a head to head with Enfield for the Championship. It would culminate in a nail biting final day.
Wanderers official team photo for 1974-75
The FA Cup run had meant that Wanderers had fallen behind with their League fixtures and as late as the first week in April were eleven points behind leaders Enfield, albeit with a couple of games in hand. Goal average (Goals for, divided by goal against) was used to separate teams on the same number of points.

Isthmian League table - top three - up to and including Sat 5th April 1975
          Pl  W  D  L  F  A Pts GA
Enfield   32 26  3  3 65 16 81  4.062
Wycombe   31 21  7  3 59 25 70  2.360
Dagenham  30 21  3  6 68 29 66  2.345
It was on Tuesday 8th April 1975 at Southbury Road that the top two sides met for the first time that season. A tense affair saw Wycombe have the better of the opening stages but it was Derek Baker who fired Enfield ahead in the 39th minute with a angled shot past John Maskell in the Wycombe goal.
Wanderers were back level three minutes into the second period when a foul on Keith Searle gave Tony Horseman the opportunity to steer home the resulting penalty. Urged on by a noisy contingent from Wycombe, it was Brian Lee’s side who then went ahead in the 69th minute when Howard Kennedy’s corner was volleyed home from the corner of the box by Terry Reardon. It seemed the goal would be enough to beat the leaders but in the third minute of stoppage time it was Les Eason who scrambled home an equaliser for the home side with a shot that went in off the underside of the crossbar. Seconds later the final whistle went with resulting tempers frayed and punches thrown close to the tunnel as the players and officials left the pitch.

Four days later there were no such anxious moments as Wanderers travelled to bottom of the table Bromley and in the words of the Bucks Free Press reporter Stuart Earp “Systematically destroyed” the opposition with a 7-0 victory. Wanderers goals came via Keith Searle (3), Steve Perrin, Howard Kennedy, Dave Alexander and Tony Horseman.

The games were coming thick and fast now and the visitors to Loakes Park the following Tuesday were Dulwich Hamlet. However, it proved another frustrating evening as Dylan Evans’ opener on 13 minutes was eventually cancelled out by a Terry Reardon own goal with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Tony Horseman missed the game versus Dulwich due to a leg injury picked up at Bromley but he returned for the final 15 minutes of the following Saturday’s home meeting with Barking. By that time Wanderers were already leading by four goals to one - another Keith Searle hat-trick causing the damage. Alan Phillips added a late goal to make the final score 5-1 to Wycombe. The best news of the day came when it was announced that Enfield had lost 1-0 at home to Leatherhead. It meant that the gap had now been reduced to seven points with Wanderers having a game in hand and due to play Enfield at Loakes Park on 8th May. However, Wycombe also had to keep an eye out for third placed Dagenham who were four points behind Wycombe but with a game in hand. They were due to travel to Wycombe on the final day of the season on 17th May and also had Enfield to play.

Click here for part 2

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