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|Retro - A look back on the 1993/94 season|
Jan 1994 - More Cup memories
Wanderers made their first appearance in the Third Round of the FA Cup for eight years on Saturday 8th January 1994 - taking on Norwich City in front of a sell out 7,802 crowd at Adams Park.
The Canaries had been rocked just 24 hours earlier with confirmation that Manager Mike Walker had left for Everton leaving assistant John Deeham to take control against the Wanderers. BBC Grandstand were at the ground in the morning to preview the game and speaking on live TV Martin O'Neill was asked if this was a good time to be playing Norwich. O'Neill responded "Yes I do. I met John Deehan a couple of hours ago and he's definitely very worried about it...all his hair has fallen out. Seriously, I think they are too professional for that" With Walker's departure to Premier League Everton, O'Neill was quizzed on whether he regretted turning down the Nottingham Forest job the previous summer and responded "I'll wonder what I'll say to this, this week? It's an interesting one because people say when you stay and don't go to another side it's called lack of ambition and if you do make the move it's called lack of loyality. I'm not sure where I stand on this. Perhaps it's because I haven't outstayed my welcome here yet"
Wanderers were given a boost before the game with the news that Matt Crossley had recovered from his leg injury picked up in the game at Torquay and would take his place in defence. There was a small financial boost too with both BBC Match of the Day and SKY covering the game. However, they both ommitted much of Wycombe's early possession and chances. Indeed, the MOTD highlights package dedicated just three minutes to the opening half, providing just enough time to see an unmarked Chris Sutton head past Paul Hyde following a ball swung in from the right on 38 minutes by former Sutton United forward Efan Ekoku. Earlier Steve Thompson had shined in the Wycombe side but Canaries' keeper Brian Gunn was not tested. Wanderers best chance to level came just before the hour mark when Steve Guppy's curling cross from the left side of midfield picked out Dave Carroll but Gunn managed to block the effort just in front of his goalline. Paul Hyde kept Wycombe in the game with a string of saves and blocks and it wasn't until three minutes from time, when Ruel Fox played a short ball for Sutton to convert from the edge of the penalty area, that the tie was sealed. Wycombe line-up vs Norwich City: Hyde, Cousins, Stapleton, Crossley, Evans, Ryan, Carroll, Hodges (sub 58 Langford), Thompson, Hemmings (sub 76 Horton), Guppy - sub unused: Moussaddik - Att:7,802 - Ref: P Vanes
Martin O'Neill praised his team after the game, saying "I thought our performance had been exceptional. We were playing a very, very good side. We did fantastically." The Wanderers' gaffer also said that he had tried everything to break through the Norwich defence, adding "I would rather have gambled and got beaten 6-0, rather than not take any risks at all. We gambled everything and put Terry Evans up front as centre forward for the last 20 minutes of the game. We had to gamble."
Wanderers continued with more cup action the following Tuesday evening with an Autoglass Trophy area quarter-final tie at Colchester United. In a drab encounter it was Wycombe who snatched victory over the 'old rivals' with a bizzare goal. Just four minutes were remaining when U's keeper John Cheesewright saw his clearance deflected to Dave Carroll on the left side of midfield. Carroll then swung the ball across the face of the goal where Peter Cawley's clearance hit Steve Guppy's left thigh and the ball ended in the back of the net to delight the travelling support behind the goal. Speaking after the game Martin O'Neill admitted his side had been down after the Norwich defeat but this had brought back a few smiles, saying "It was nice for us. We were amazed to see that there was expectation that we could beat Norwich. I am delighted to get through first and foremost. But the fact that it is against Colchester makes it all the more satisfying." Wanderers would travel to Fulham in the next round.
Meanwhile, O'Neill announced that he was stepping up his search for a new striker to cover for the loss of Keith Scott. Goalscoring problems were also made worse as Tony Hemmings continued to suffer with a knee injury and the remaining options up front were loanee Lee Hodges and Tim Langford, the latter suffering from a loss of form. O'Neill commented "It is difficult to get the right sort of people in. I do not want to waste resources." O'Neill continued "I have a wage scale to ahere to and it is not fair if one player is paid over and above others". He then revealed he had already turned down one player's demands for that very reason. It was understood that the player was Watford's Roger Willis who later went to Birmingham City. O'Neill said he was hoping to get somebody in within the next ten days and concluded "I would prefer people who are going to sign. Loan players' heart and soul are not really there"
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