The Story of The Blues
brought to you by
Bradford City 0
Wycombe Wanderers 4
Saturday 2nd September 1995
Football League Division Two

Joint Division Two table toppers Bradford City were left absolutely stunned by a Wanderers performance that saw Miquel Desouza bag a hat-trick in a 4-0 thrashing for the home side.

Alan Smith's side had gone into the game on a high following a midweek victory at Brighton but all seemed fairly even in the opening 30 minutes of the encounter at Valley Parade but Desouza's opener on 36 minutes set the tone for the day. Loanee Stewart Castledine scored his first Wycombe five minutes after the re-start before Desouza completed his hat-trick in the final 15 minutes.

The result moved Wanderer to 9th place in the table and the spotlight grew ion Desouza who, with 8 goals in all compeitions to date in the 1995/96 campaign. led the scoring charts for the division ahead of Rotherham's Shaun Goater and Bournemouth's Steve Jones.

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Valley Parade, Claire Nash wrote: 'A Miquel Desouza hat-trick was the centrepiece of Wycombe Wanderers’ biggest ever away League victory on Saturday. The sharpshooting 25-year-old, now the country leading scorer with eight goals in seven League and cup games, deservedly revelled with his Wycombe team mates in the fruits of deadly smash-and-grab labours at Bradford. It was a top-drawer light- fling raid executed with a disciplined precision that few would have believed possible a week ago.

But Wycombe and their boss Alan Smith have sent out a crystal clear message that they have put their shaky start to the season, scarred with five sendings off in five games, firmly behind them and are trying to mount a more convincing assault on Division Two honours. Discipline was the key to their success. It was a clean and clinical display which equalled their previous biggest win in the League — a 4-0 home victory against Scarborough in 1993, their baptismal year. The reward was another hike up the table from 14th to ninth, to complete a 14-place jump in just a week. Wycombe also had the satisfaction of ending Bradford’s unbeaten run which cost their hosts joint-leadership of the division.

Wanderers are now unplugged it seems. Any psychological blocks that the players and the team as a whole may have been afflicted with were effectively blown away at Bradford. It was Desouza who supplied the razzle dazzle with the first Wycombe hat-trick since Simon Garner’s against Hitchin in last year’s FA Cup, but it was the tidy performance in Blues’ other departments which laid the platform for a handsome scoreline.

Increased confidence has made a marked difference to their play. They picked up where they left off in their first win of the season at Brighton last week, playing with a cohesion and assurance that was previously woefully lacking.

Saturday’s outcome would have been somewhat different had Paul Hyde’s stupendous goalkeeping and an impressive display by Blues’ defence, not kept Bradford at bay early on. Matt Crossley, returning after an arthritic knee problem, neatly slotted in alongside Terry Howard in central defence in place of the suspended Mark Foran. It was a crucial backbone on which Wycombe carved out their victory. Bradford were ultimately frustrated into pressing the self-destruct button.

Neutralising the threat of Bradford’s considerable frontline armoury of Paul Showler, Ian Ormondroyd and Carl Shutt was no mean feat. The hosts, eager to please a 9,748 crowd swollen by the temptation of Coca-Cola Cup tickets for a tie against Nottingham Forest, didn’t hang about once the match got underway. With the kick-off delayed ten minutes to get everyone in, Nicky Mohan signalled Bradford’s intent with a header from Shaun Murray’s cross which just went wide in the opening minute.

It threatened to be a repeat of last year’s game at Valley Parade which Bradford won 2-1 when it could have been 6-1 had Hyde not been in superlative form. Wycombe’s goalkeeper came to the rescue again on Saturday. Superb reflexes blocked Showier’s point-blank range header on 21 minutes and a diving save stopped Steve Brown from deflecting Murray’s free kick into his own net after 30 minutes. Wanderers turned the screw six minutes later by scoring from their first foray upfield, Desouza’s flicked header converting Dave Carroll’s free kick.

Jason Soloman was fortunate not to have had a penalty awarded against him when he pushed Showier in the area. The referee Kevin Breen, perhaps regretting his decision, then harshly ruled that Hyde had picked up what was judged as Soloman’s back pass. The ball looked to have come off the defender’s backside. Bradford failed to take advantage of the resulting free kick in the box. It was not surprisingly blocked, and eventually cleared, thanks to the 11 Wycombe players massed on the goalline.

With Smith no doubt making Blues fully aware of their short comings before the break, they set about building on their lead. Skipper Simon Garner was instrumental in the second goal with an amazing cross pulled back from the left corner flag. It caught Bradford’s defence completely unawares, with Stewart Castledine perfectly positioned in the centre to do the honours for Blues with a powerful volley on 50 minutes. The on-loan Wimbledon midfielder’s runs from deep continued to cause problems.

Carroll and Brown pulled the strings from the middle. Brown’s visionary distribution sent Desouza on his way for his second and third goals, but Carroll was the chief puppeteer. Desouza haunted Bradford’s defence with two goals in ten minutes, the first after running onto a Brown pass over the top and neatly slotting home on 75 minutes. The second was howitzered into the top corner ten minutes later after Castledine’s shot from Brown’s pass was blocked.'
Wycombe: Hyde, Soloman, Hardyman, Howard, Crossley, Brown, Carroll, Castledine, Desouza, Garner (sub 81 McGavin), Bell - subs not used: Patterson, Thompson
Scorers: Desouza 36, 76, 85, Castledine 50
Bookings: Soloman 40 (foul), Hyde 57 (time-wasting)
Bradford: Ward, Huxford (sub 66 Foley), Jacobs, Hamilton, Mohan, Mitchell, ShowIer, Youds, Ormondroyd (sub 45 Tolson), Shutt, Murray (sub 52 Kiwomya)
Scorers: none
Bookings: Ormondroyd 12 (foul), Kiwomya 86 (foul)
Referee: Mr K.Breen (Liverpool) Attendance: 9,748 (away 395)

Speaking after the game Manager Alan Smith said: "It was a fantastic result, but I’m not kidding myself. There is still a lot of work to do. [The players] have taken on board the information now. I think it may have been too much for them at first". He added: "From our point of view it was a disciplined performance. We were like headless chickens on the first day of the season. It is no coincidence that every game we have kept 11 players on field, we have won."

Next game - Wycombe v Peterborough - Saturday 9th September 1995
This is the story of WYCOMBE WANDERERS brought to you by HISTORY MENU