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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 4th February 1995
Football League Division Two
Wanderers had to settle for a 1-1 home draw with Blackpool despite new signing Miguel Desouza scoring on his home debut after just seven minutes.
The Birmingham City loanee had netted a brace in the previous Tuesday evening's 2-0 victory at Chester City and featured in an unchanged line-up for Pool’s first ever trip Adams Park.
24-year-old Desouza, signed on a month's loan with a view to a permanent move, was on hand to head home from close range against Sam Allerdyce side but Wanderers were pegged back two minutes into the second-period when James Quinn netted following a Pool free-kick conceeded by a Terry Evans hand-ball.
The 1-1 draw took Wycombe to 49 points from their opening 26 games – lying in 5th spot – 4 points behind leaders Birmingham City.
Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash wrote:
'Wycombe Wanderers remain in contention at the top of Division Two despite being caught on the hop by Blackpool on Saturday. Wanderers had the chance to make up ground on leaders Birmingham and second- placed Brentford; but they still have games in hand.
Wycombe’s lead on Saturday, courtesy of new signing Miguel Desouza’s third goal in two games, was almost bolstered by a host of other chances which would have eased a rough ride in the second half. Blackpool made Wycombe struggle to find any more joy, although Desouza, on his home debut, had a fine header thwarted by a brilliant Lee Martin save three minutes before the end.
Wycombe competently dealt with the visitors’ opening onslaught before taking the lead. Mickey Bell paved the way for Desouza to pounce at close range when his run and shot from the left stretched Martin in goal. The latter looked to have tipped Bell’s effort into the net but Desouza was on hand to make sure with an assured header on seven minutes. The ball appeared to cross the line before Desouza’s contribution but, as video footage later proved, he deservedly claimed the goal. “As all good strikers should,” the talented forward said later.
O’Neill used the same formation which he employed against Chester in last Tuesday’s 2-0 victory. Simon Stapleton was responsible for the central midfield legwork and Simon Garner was stationed just behind the forwards. Both contributed to Blues’ goal and came close to scoring themselves. Stapleton unleashed a fierce 25- yard howitzer which was impressively saved by Martin on 11 minutes. Garner, whose telling flick-ons had kept Bell and the forwards well serviced on the left wing went closer still when his shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced away on the half hour.
Blackpool had their moments too, Watson spurning another free header and Tony Ellis shooting wide with just Paul Hyde to beat. The Wycombe goalkeeper’s Blackpool counterpart literally had his nose put out of joint and lost a few teeth when he and Regis both went for a looping high ball. The half concluded with a flurry of activity at both ends with James Quinn almost shooting into his own net, Garner’s cross from Bell’s long ball out of defence sparking confusion. Terry Evans’ header was not far off either, while Hyde did well to deny Quinn just before the whistle.
Blackpool boss Sam Allerdyce had clearly succeeded in firing up his side into a swift revival after the break. But they equalised with a soft goal after Evans’s handball needlessly conceded a free kick. Quinn slotted home Ellis’s flick- on from Mickey Mellon’s ball in. Blackpool worked their way into a position where they were pulling all the strings. Wycombe struggled to break them down, the visitors defending patiently and hitting back on the break.
To avoid another lapse and gain a greater grip on proceedings O’Neill shored up his midfield by replacing Regis with Steve Thompson and moved Desouza to the right wing. The latter almost snatched a late winner with a looping header from Garner’s cross destined for the top corner, but Martin was equal to it.'
Speaking after the game Martin O’Neill commented: “We enjoyed our best part of the game when we were 1-0 up, with Garner hitting the bar. We needed another goal. We were caught napping later.” The Wycombe boss added: “They are a good side and I’m quite sure they will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.”
Speculating of Wanderers’ chances of finishing near the top of the table, O’Neill said: “I believe that, including Birmingham, there are presently 12 teams who will contest the top five places. We cannot discount the likes of Wrexham who are mid-table and, indeed, Blackpool.”
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