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|Wycombe Wanderers 1992-1993 - retro|
Mar 1993 - Record gate see Wanderers beat Slough
With the FA Trophy Semi-Final still to look forward to, the latter part of March 1993 saw Wanderers concentrate on their League programme and there were mixed emotions on the way. On the Tuesday following the Quarter-Final victory over Gateshead it was the trip to old rivals Yeovil Town. It was not a happy night. Simon Stapleton was sent-off for head butting Yeovil midfielder Richard Cooper in the 74th minute. By that time Wanderers were already 2-0 down and fluke goal on 83 minutes when Harrower mis-hit a cross made it 3-0.
Stapleton was one of three Wycombe players who had been ever present in the Conference and FA Trophy up to and including the game at Huish Park. Paul Hyde and Keith Scott were the other two but Stapes would be set for a two match ban and there was a warning from Martin O'Neill after the game "Everybody is dispensable. He has let everybody down with that sort of behaviour. It will not be tolerated at this football club and he will be disciplined by us".
With the transfer deadline just over a week away O'Neill was also taking no chances on an injury crisis affecting the charge for all three major non-League honours. Striker Tim Langford was signed from Telford United for a fee of around £15,000 even though he was cup-tied for both the Trophy and Drinkwise competitions. A few days later former Wanderers centre-half Anton Vircavs (pronounced Vixhouse) was signed for £4,000 from Cheltenham. Unlike Langford, Vircavs would be OK to play in the both cups as he had been suspended in the earlier rounds. Both players would go on to play significant roles for Wycombe before the end of the season.
Langford's first contribution would be during a home game with Farnborough Town on Saturday 20th March 1993. The diminutive striker wasted a couple of opportunities to open his Wycombe account during a day where Wanderers did everything right expect run up a cricket score. Langford was replaced by another new signing, Tony Sorrell, in the 74th minute but the former Barnet midfielder seemed more interesting in fighting the opposition. He never played for Wycombe again. Meanwhile in the game it wasn't until the 82nd minute when Keith Scott headed home Steve Guppy's cross that the deadlock was broken. It had been Wanderers ninth effort on target while the visitors had yet to test Paul Hyde. However, the relief from the Wycombe fans lasted less than five minutes when Jamie Horton converted at the far post to equalise for the visitors and it could have been worse moments later when Hyde's poor clearance fell to Boro substitute Eamonn Collins but Jason Cousins pulled him back and then survived a possible red card as the game ended 1-1.
The following Tuesday (23rd March) Wanderers entertained Slough Town in what many viewed as a make or break game for The Rebels hopes of catching Wycombe in the Conference table. On an amazing evening a capacity crowd of 7,230 packed into Adams Park to witness a tight encounter. Those that couldn't get in watched from the hillside above the Woodland terrace.
Vircavs went straight into the side to make his second Wycombe debut and was like a rock at the back for The Wanderers. The only goal of the game came on 27 minutes with a move started by ex-Rebel Steve Thompson. He fed Carroll down the right wing and his cross was met by Scott. The initial headed was saved by Carl Emberson in the Slough goal but Scott was able to touch in the rebound. Moments later an innocuous looking challenge between Emeberson and Scott left the Wycombe striker with an injured ankle and after lengthy treatment was replaced.
The second half was a fiery affair. On 55 minutes Andy Kerr jostled with Andy Sayer and as Sayer fell to the ground Kerr flicked out a leg. Referee Graham Barber produced a red card and the temperatures rose again. Mark Fiore's challenge left Stapleton hobbling and on crutches after the game. Stapleton had already dropped back into defence to cover for the departed Kerr and when Stapes limped off Carroll converted to a defender. But Wanderers held on without too much trouble and the challenge of Slough was all but over.
There was very little time to catch your breath after the Slough game when two days later it was off to east London to play Dagenham & Redbridge. Scott and Stapleton were both missing with their injuries and Wycombe were losing 1-0 when Carroll started limping badly. 35 minutes gone and on comes substitute Mark West for a return of epic proportions. Still trailing 1-0, Tim Langford fell over in the box on 57 minutes and must have been a bit embarassed to see a penalty awarded. It didn't bother West for slotted home the penalty to delight the travelling fans behind the goal. Two minutes later West was at it again with a typical finish after latching onto a loose ball. The goal sent the Wycombe fans wild and with West's influence Dagenham never threatened again.
A typically estatic Martin O'Neill said after the game "West's performance was the highlight of the evening. Seeing him launch himself onto diving headers was a sight to behold and it was the Westy of old for the second goal" And the Wycombe boss was delighted his side had taken maximum points from two difficult games, adding "If you had told me on Monday we'd have six points, I'd probably have given you a proverbial Brian Clough kiss"
Incredibly Wycombe were without a game the following Saturday but played their final game before the FA Trophy Semi-Final clash with Sutton United when Boston United were the visitors to Adams Park on Tuesday 30th March 1993. The game saw two more debuts for Wanderers newcomers. In came midfielder Hakan Hayrettin on loan from Barnet and up front was the bulky figure of Trevor Aylott, the former Barnsley player on loan from Gillingham. Despite the changes it all looked quite simple when Keith Ryan gave Wycombe the lead as early as the 5th minute. However, Boston hit back to lead 3-1 mid way through the second-half and when West missed a 68th minute penalty it seemed nothing would go right for Wycombe. However, West made ammends by scoring from Ryan's cross in the 78th minute and with three minutes remaining Ryan played an exchange with Simon Hutchinson before finishing and levelling the scores at 3-3. Hayrettin then had a 'goal' disallowed in stoppage time as Wanderers also snatched a dramtic winner.
The point against Boston extended Wycombe's lead at the top of the Conference to ten points and with a game in hand over second placed Slough. Wanderers had eight league games remaining but also had to fit in the two-legged Trophy Semi-Final with Sutton and a two-legged Drinkwise Final against Northwich Victoria. The final month of the season was going to be hectic.
[Previous - Gupps to the rescue in Trophy] --- [Next - Trophy Semi versus Sutton]
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