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|1993-1994-RESULTS, SCORERS, ATTENDANCES - MORE REPORTS||1993-1994 RETRO INDEX|
Wycombe Wanderers 3
Crewe Alexandra 1
Saturday 20th November 1993
Football League Division Three
The midweek departure of Keith Scott to Swindon Town was all but forgotten following a 3-1 home victory over 2nd placed Crewe Alexandra. A crowd crowd of 6,137 turned out to see Wanderers put in an impressive display with new skipper Terry Evans now a key player in the Wycombe side.
It was the ex-Brentford giant who headed Wanderers into the lead on 10 minutes when he rose to convert a Steve Guppy free-kick. It was Guppy who provided again on 19 minutes for Keith Ryan who saw his shot saved but Tony Hemmings followed up to tuck the ball into the Valley End net. However, Wanderers fans were still celebrating when Crewe pulled a goal back within 30 seconds - Darran Rowbotham finishing off Rob Edwards' cross. Both sides had further chances to score but the best of the day was saved for 65 minutes when Guppy's clearance was headed on by Hemmings down the left wing and the ex-Northwich striker rounded the 'keeper before smashing the ball home. Hemmings went close to completing his hat-trick on a day which had the ground buzzing and Martin O'Neill beaming after the 3-1 success for his side.
Commenting on Hemmings' performance, Martin O'Neill said, "He was fantastic. His second goal was great. He went into his shell after joining us. But I hope this has shaken it out of him." However, O'Neill confirmed that his search would continue for a natural centre forward with a strong physical presence in the mold of Keith Scott, adding "Hemmings and Scott are totally different players all round. I still think we need a replacement for Keith Scott. But I will not find that type of player overnight, and there is no point rushing into anything."
Bucks Free Press - Claire Nash reporting from Adams Park:
Wycombe popped up with their finest League victory so far against the most highly-rated opposition yet faced in Division Three, just when the odds appeared to be stacked against them.
Expectations were being held firmly in check beforehand with potent marksman Keith Scott settling in nicely thank-you at Swindon and no clear replacement within Martin O'Neill's ranks in obvious sight. But that was reckoning without Tony Hemmings'intent on grasping his opportunity and running like the clappers with it. Both he and Steve Guppy exposed Crewe's surprisingly abysmal defence that was sorely at odds with the cultured passing impressively displayed by Alexandra's midfield and forwards in ice-skating pitch conditions.
The pacy pair's success in exploiting Crewe's weaknesses in back-peddling mode earned a nod of respect from the visitors' boss Dario Gradi, as well as their own. "When we had the ball we played good football. But their wingers were dangerous, particularly their left winger, and Hemmings was difficult to handle," said Gradi afterwards.
The foundations of Blues' victory was their now familiar stubborn resolve, led with distinction at both ends by skipper and supporters' player of the month Terry Evans, which made life extremely uncomfortable for their skilful opponents. It was Evans' thumping header, following a well-timed diagonal run into the box, which converted Guppy's free kick on ten minutes to put Wycombe in front. Guppy, back to rejuvenated form after illness, continued to probe and tease Crewe who failed to clear their lines emphatically.
The winger's service created Wanderers' second goal on 19 minutes. His cross into the box was chested down and fiercely struck by Keith Ryan to stretch Crewe keeper Mark Smith. But the shot still had work to do and Hemmings followed up at the near post to bury his first Blues goal. However Crewe put themselves straight back into the frame, pulling one back within 30 seconds. Striker Darran Rowbotham finished off a neat move from the restart, converting Rob Edwards' cross with aplomb. Alexandra skipper Stewart Evans came close four minutes later, but his shot against the post was offside.
Both teams had further chances before half time, with Crewe trying to shore up their leaky backline by replacing hapless central defender Steve Macauley with England under-19 international Anthony Hughes. Tim Langford put Hemmings through on 35 minutes, but the winger-cumforward's effort lacked control. Crewe right back Martyn Booty, a recent free gift signing from Coventry, renewed his Coca-Cola Cup acquaintance with Guppy on the left flank and forced keeper Paul Hyde into a fine save on 38 minutes, via the head of Blues' Matt Crossley.
Alexandra came out with all guns blazing after the interval, with Tony Naylor and Edwards both on target, but they were denied by Hyde and the woodwork respectively. Wycombe continued to concentrate on stretching Crewe down the left channel. Langford's far-post shot was narrowly wide from Guppy's cross on 60 minutes.
Then came the' day's jewel. Hemmings headed Guppy's deep clearance-cum-pass over Crewe defender Shaun Smith before rounding Mark Smith to rifle the ball home on 65 minutes. Hemmings proceeded to run Crewe ragged at the back. His centre gave Langford a great chance on 76 minutes, but the striker's shot went straight into Mark Smith's hands. The keeper did well to deny Hemmings again seconds later after he jinked and raced past two defenders. Crewe, to their credit, stuck to their passing guns with admirable gumption, but Wycombe's backline gave the visitors a defending lesson against such fancy footwork. Naylor came close to breaking through two minutes before the end, but his shot went into the side-netting, which summed up his team's day.
The Independent - Phil Shaw reporting from Adams Park:
A former non-League ground, nestling between a designated area of natural beauty and an industrial estate, seemed an unfavourable setting for a contribution to the debate over British football's future. But Adams Park, where Wycombe Wanderers closed on Crewe Alexandra in the promotion pecking order by beating them 3-1, is no ordinary Third Division venue.
And despite their defeat, Crewe are no ordinary team, rather a model for those who reject the cynical view that long-ball brutalism is the best way to escape the basement section.
Nearly 6,200 fans, every one under cover in Wycombe's splendidly furbished home of three years, turned this quiet corner of Buckinghamshire into a crisis exclusion zone. They left purring over the opportunism of Tony Hemmings, who scored twice for Martin O'Neill's men, though not before applauding the losers' part in an entertaining contest.
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