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|Retro - A look back on the 1993/94 season|
May 1994 - Shock Five-a-side success for Wanderers
The vast majority of Wanderers fans travelling to Wembley Arena on Monday 9th May 1994 for the Evening Standard Fives competition were there for welcome relief from the tension of the forthcoming play-off semi-final with Carlisle United. Martin O'Neill's side were making their debut in the competition and were ranked as 40-1 outsiders.
There was a surprise in store for those who paid in excess of £20 per ticket for the privilege of seeing the events unfold. Wanderers squad consisted of Chuck Moussadik, David Titterton, Jason Cousins, Steve Brown, Tim Langford, Dave Carroll and Mark West. They were involved in the seventh match of the evening and took on FA Cup Finalists Chelsea. Wanderers survived an onslaught from the boys from Stamford Bridge who included Youth Coach Graham Rix in their line-up. The game ended 0-0 before Wycombe went through after an American style sudden death shoot-out - an outfield player having five seconds to run with the ball from the centre-spot beat and beat the goalkeeper.
A Steve Brown goal was enough to beat QPR in the quarter-final and set-up a meeting with a strong looking West Ham United side. The Hammers line-up included Trevor Morley, Mike Marsh, Ian Bishop and Steve Potts. However, like Chelsea the Eastenders could find no way past Moussadik who was on his way to earning the Player of the Night award. It was left for Mark West to score the only goal of the game to take Wanderers in the Final where they would take on Wimbledon.
It was Moussadik again who was the hero making excellent saves including one against Stewart Castledine as the game ended goalless. The shoot-out saw Dave Carroll's shot saved and then Moussadik tip wide Castledine's effort. Jason Cousins then cooly slotted home meaning Gary Elkins had to score to save the night for The Dons. Moussadik stood strong again and saved and was instantly mobbed by his team-mates to complete a memorable night and a £10,000 winners cheque for the Club.
Speaking afterwards Martin O'Neill said "For some reason my lads have always loved five-a-side football and they used to say to me 'Do you think we might get invited to Wembley if get into the League?" O'Neill had been concerned about injuries to his players ahead of the play-off semi-final, adding, "I changed the side around a bit in case we got any injuries. That concerned me for a while but I knew people had spent a lot of money to watch us, so I thought I would try to putas good a five-a-side team out as I could." The Wycombe gaffer was also 'delighted' for Chuck Moussadik who had not seen any First Team action all season. "He performed heroically, He truly deserved player of the tournament. All the players that came along like Glyn Creaser, Hakan Hayrettin, Keith Ryan and Lee Turnbell were ecstatic for him. It was delightful", said O'Neill. Chuck Moussadik (now known as Chuck Martini) said "I've spent the whole season on the bench but I've no complaints. Paul Hyde has been brilliant. I must admit we didn't think we would go too far. Talking before our first game against Chelsea, we reckoned we would be showered and changed by 8.30pm. But it turned into a great night for us and a memorable one for me personally."
O'Neill was now beginning to concentrate on the play-off matches with Carlisle, commenting "We are still capable of getting promotion and I suppose if your heart can stand ot, the best way to do it is by winning at Wembley." However, he also believed the five-a-side victory had boosted morale, adding "It has given us a great lift. The players were looking in awe of some of the players there, like Tony Adams. But then they were going out and beating them."
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