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|Retro - A look back on the 1986/87 season|
With the Isthmian League title wrapped up, Wanderers were left to complete the 1986/87 season aiming to clinch
victory in the Final of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup and also break win and points total records at League level.
The B&B Final would see Wanderers renew rivalry with Aylesbury United and Manager Alan Gane was determined to use the occasion to extract revenge for defeat to The Ducks in the same competition 12 months earlier. Gane commented, "We want to win it and the fact that they beat us last season the day after we were relegated will give us some extra incentive. They are a side we will not be underestimating since they are at the top of the Southern League and hopefully will be promoted to the Conference with us." However, The Ducks would go into the game having lost their leadership in the League to Fisher Athletic following a gruelling schedule of four League games in seven days. Attempts by The Ducks to postpone the Final were also turned down by the County FA.
The Final took place at the pictureresque venue of Wolverton FC on Saturday 25th April 1987. Team news for Wycombe saw Alan Gane stick with the same squad that defeated Hitchin Town the previous weekend. Mark West was used again as a stand-in right-back. Meanwhile, Ducks boss Trevor Gould fielded a full strength side despite their season falling apart on a almost daily basis.
The crowd of just over 1,600 was made up in the majority by Wanderers fans who gathered on the banks of the Wolverton ground to greet Alan Gane's promotion winning side. There was also a warm reception for the injured Kirk Corbin, who made his way on crutches past a standing ovation. Sadly the match didn't live up to expectations with the tie remaining goalless after the regulation 90 minutes. Best chances had fallen to Noel Ashford whose attempted sixth minute lob skimmed off the Aylesbury crossbar. At the other end Gary Harthill should have taken advantage of poor defending from Wycombe when he shot against the post from close range. Andy Graham forced a save from Ducks 'keeper Keith Baker early in the second-half and Ashford went close again three minutes from time - forcing a one handed save from Baker.
Wanderers eventually broke the deadlock four minutes into extra-time when Ashford played the ball forward, Mark Dawber won a tackle with Keith Walker to push the ball to George Link who slotted the ball past Baker. Five minutes later it was 2-0 when brother Declan rose highest to head home a Dawber corner and seemingly put the tie beyond the reach of a despondent Aylesbury. But three minutes into the second period of extra-time Cliff Hercules raced in unmarked to head in Dave Botterill's cross. Mark West was then forced to head off his own line to prevent an equaliser from Paul Saunders but it was Ashford who restored Wycombe's two goal cushion on 114 minutes with the goal of the day. Ashford ran on to a fabulous pass from Dawber, before tucking the ball inside the near post. Cliff Hercules made it 3-2 with three minutes remaining but it was too little too late for The Ducks.
Gane said he admired the attitude of the Aylesbury boss and team, adding, "I'm not sure I would have played my strongest side if I had been in the same position. I just hope it doesn't back-fire on them. It will be a crying shame if they don't get promoted." But Gane admitted the game was not spectatular, adding, "The pitch ruined the game. It was very bumpy and it could have been worked on a bit before this final." Gane added, "If we win at Dulwich we will break the Club record of League wins in a season. We could beat the scoring record. It provides interest right until the end of the season."
The game at Dulwich Hamlet took place on Saturday 2nd May 1987 and saw some Wycombe fans adorn Noel Ashford masks in honour of the player who hadbeen branded 'God' by many followers. And those fans were not disappointed when after only four minutes Ashford thumped home a shot from the edge of the Dulwich box to give Wycombe the lead. Wanderers continued to dominate in the bumpy conditions at Champion Hill but had to wait until three minutes before the break before taking a 2-0 lead when Andy Graham headed in after a ball in from the right. Dulwich pulled a goal back on the hour mark but Mark West restored Wanderers two goal lead to take Wanderers within a goal of breaking the Club goalscoring record. The fairytale was completed with just five minutes remaining when a move down the left flank ended with Mark Dawber smashing home from close range to make it 103 League goals for the season - one more than the previous best in season 1971/72.
Vauxhall Opel League Premier Division Final Table 1986/1987 Top six only PL W D L GF GA Pts 1. Wycombe Wanderers 42 32 5 5 103 32 101 2. Yeovil Town 42 28 8 6 71 27 92 3. Slough Town 42 23 8 11 70 44 77 4. Hendon 42 22 7 13 67 54 73 5. Bognor Regis Town 42 20 10 12 85 61 70 6. Harrow Borough 42 20 10 12 68 44 70
The season finally drew to a close for Wanderers with a two legged meeting with Barnet in Final of the Capital League President's Cup. The first leg took place at Underhill on Bank Holiday Monday 4th May 1987 where a Mark Dawber goal on 32 minutes gave Wanderers a slender 1-0 lead going into the second leg at Loakes Park the following Friday 8th May 1987. Although essentially a competition for 'reserve' teams, the popularity of the matches had grown throughout the season, culminating in a 1,157 attendance for the visit of The Bees. The aggregate score was deadlocked at 2-2 with just five minutes remaining when Noel Ashford found Kevin Durham on the far side of the penalty area whose spectacular volley secured an aggregate victory and another trophy presentation for the Wanderers as one of the most memorable season's for many years drew to an enjoyable close.
Wycombe Wanderers FC - Isthmian League Champions 1986-87
Back row L to R: Dave Jones (Physio), Kevin Day, Kevin Durham, Dave Burgess, Gary Lester, Graham Bressington, Andy Graham, Noel Ashford, Alan Gane (Manager), John Reardon (Assistant Manager); Front row: Jason Seacole, Kirk Corbin, Declan Link, Keith Barrett, Mark West, Mark Dawber, Neil Price, George Link
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