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Stockport County 1
Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 16th September 1995
Football League Division Two

New signing John Williams made his Wycombe debut as Wanderers drew 1-1 at Stockport County. Williams had arrived during the week in a £150,000 move from Coventry City and joined fellow new signings David Farrell and Jason Rowbotham in the Wycombe side at Edgeley Park.

Wycombe, wearing their red and black striped kit for the first time in a competitive fixture, fell behind in the 17th minute when Ian Helliwell snapped up a loose ball. Once again, Wanderers relied on loanee Stewart Castledine to save the day when he netted the equaliser on 27 minutes - his third goal in four for Wanderers.

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press, Claire Nash wrote: 'Wycombe Wanderers boss Alan Smith told his players they could do better after earning a point from a testing battle against well-organised Stockport County on Saturday. With new striker John Williams, and fellow recent arrivals David Farrell and Jason Rowbotham, in the fold, Wycombe laboured to get a convincing foothold at Edgeley Park. On loan Wimbledon mid-fielder Stewart Castledine was on target to wipe out the hosts’ early advantage for his third goal in four games. But Smith was unhappy Wycombe didn’t pull the strings the way he wanted them to.

“I would have settled for a point before we came up here. But it was a disappointing performance. We have got to play better than that; and I think we can play better than that,” he said afterwards. The Blues’ manager, who spent £250,000 in a club record spree last week to strengthen his squad, indicated that he expected more from his two frontmen Desouza, who hasn’t added to his impressive eight-goal tally in three games, and new man Williams.

Blues, though, remain unbeaten in five games and are seventh in Division Two. Wanderers had to with stand Stockport’s direct- style onslaught for much of the game. With the hosts generally dictating matters, Wycombe found it difficult to get the ball down and pass it enough to make an impression.

Stockport fashioned a flurry of chances during the first 15 minutes with Ian Helliwell, a striker with an out-house sized physique, and Alun Armstrong causing most of the problems. Wycombe countered with Farrell going on a couple of good runs on the left flank and Castledine showing eagerness to get in on the action in the box.

With play sweeping from end to end at breakneck speed, Desouza took it on from his own half and powered his way upfield before Stockport captain Mike Flynn’s fine tackle swept the ball from his feet. Moments later Stockport were in front after a typical move, where the ball was played wide to the wing. Chris Beaumont fired in a cross from the right which Paul Hyde could parry as far as Helliwell who finished at the far post on 17 minutes.

Desouza and Williams were involved in the build-up to Wycombe’s equaliser ten minutes later, the latter playing the ball into the path of Castledine who buried the ball in the bottom corner for his third goal in four games. Stockport continued to rule the roost leading up the break, however, with Hyde putting up stout resistance in the Wycombe goal. But it was the crossbar which denied Stockport’s best effort to retake the lead when Tom Bennett’s deft 20-yard freekick rebounded off the woodwork on 41 minutes.

Both teams’ defences were wise to each other after the break. Apart from Desouza’s good run and shot on 50 minutes, Hyde and Wanderers’ back four had to weather the heavier storm and successfully held out.'
Wycombe: Hyde, Rowbotham, Hardyman, Howard, Crossley, Patterson, Carroll, Castledine, Desouza, Williams, Farrell - subs not used: McGavin, McGorry, Soloman
Scorers: Castledine 27
Bookings: none
Stockport: Edwards, Connelly, Todd, Bennett, Flynn, Gannon, Beaumont, Ware, Helliwell, Armstrong, Chalk - subs not used: Eckhardt, Dinning, Allen
Scorers: Helliwell 17
Bookings: none
Referee: Mr A Leake (Darwin, Lancashire) Attendance: 5,588 (away 391)

Speaking after the game Wycombe Manager Alan Smith, who was spoken by referee Tony Leake during the game for 'excessive and audible coaching', said: "Edgeley Park is an intimidating place to come for us southern teams and we had to roll up our sleeves to get a result. Surprisingly with the size of their players and the amount of crosses they got in our defence did great job to keep County contained."

Meanwhile Stockport Manager David Jones described the Referee's display as “diabolical” after three penalty appeals were turned down. But Jones also added: “We can’t be looking for excuses because those sort of things happen in football. Wycombe deserved credit, especially in the second-half, when we just couldn’t get round the back to give them any trouble. But I felt there was a blatant penalty in the first half for handball and another in the second when Ian Helliwell was pushed in the box. Big Ian took an absolute battering and got no protection.”

Next game - Wycombe v Manchester City - League Cup - Tuesday 19th September 1995
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