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Wycombe Wanderers 1
Walsall 0
Saturday 14th October 1995
Football League Division Two

Wanderers extended their unbeaten run in the League to nine games after Dave Carroll's solitary strike on 35 minutes was enough to beat 15th placed Walsall at Adams Park. The victory against The Saddlers came after Manager Alan Smith had one change to the side that had drawn with Fulham in the midweek meeting in the Auto-Windscreens Trophy - Mickey Bell returning in defence in place of Paul Hardyman who had aggrevated an old knee injury in the tie with The Cottagers.

The three points lifted Wanderers three places in the table to 10th, with 18 points from their opening 12 games. Eyes were now on the following Saturday's visit to Oxford United who were a point behind the Wanderers in 11th place.

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash wrote: 'Wycombe Wanderers returned to winning ways against Walsall on Saturday but Blues know there is still plenty of work to be wholly convincing. A well-worked goal by Dave Carroll was a lonely moment of brilliance in a game where both sides generally lacked bite in attack. It was Blues’ defence and particularly Terry Howard who took the honours by restricting the visitors to one shot on target, which was easily dealt with by goalkeeper Paul Hyde.

The victory extends Wycombe’s unbeaten run to nine games after four consecutive draws, which pleases boss Alan Smith, with just two defeats blotting the copy book this term.

Wycombe’s best early attacks were triggered by good work from defence. Bell’s early ball in the first minute sent Farrell racing down the left from where he released a testing cross into the box. Steve McGavin and Carroll tried to connect just before referee David Orr blew up for a foul on the visitors’ goalkeeper Trevor Wood.

Walsall, looking for their second away win from six trips this season, traced neat patterns in the turf with a sound passing game but failed to carve anything significant. It was fortunate for Blues, though, that Martin Butler’s 25-yard chip sailed narrowly over the bar with Hyde off his line.

Wycombe took the lead after 35 minutes with a slick pass and move build-up, which Blues supporters are aching to see more often. The attack began on the left with Farrell and continued with a deft one-touch movement to the centre, from Farrell to Steve Brown and then Carroll who fed Desouza on the edge of the box. The striker then laid the ball on for Carroll who had run on inside him and fired into the bottom left corner of the net.

Neither side came out of the second half with too much credit. Wycombe’s manoeuvrings up front between McGavin and Desouza failed to come off, while Walsall wasted chances. Wycombe had a great chance when a John Williams cross from the right seared across the area with the goal-mouth gaping but McGavin and Desouza rushed in too late and too early respectively to make contact.McGavin had two bites to put the ball away when Desouza’s downward header from Carroll’s 69th-minute corner sparked a goalmouth scramble. Wood somehow managed to smother the ball.

Walsall felt they were unlucky when Northern Ireland international striker Kevin Wilson saw Hyde turn his long-range shot round the post for a corner on 82 minutes and Charlie Ntamark’s header went wide from Martin O’Connor’s corner two minutes later.'

Wycombe: Hyde, Rowbotham, Bell, Howard, Cousins, Brown, Carroll, Williams (sub 78 Patterson), Desouza, McGavin, Farrell - subs not used: Clark, Soloman
Scorers: Carroll 35
Bookings: none
Walsall: Wood, Evans, Rogers, Watkiss, Marsh (sub 72 Ntamark), Palmer, O’Connor, Bradley, Butler, Wilson, Lightbourne. Subs not used: Keister, Roper
Scorers: none
Bookings: Bradley 45 (kicking the ball away), Wilson 83 (foul)
Referee: Mr D Orr (lver, Bucks) Attendance: 4,724

Speaking after the game Manager Alan Smith said: "We are not playing as I want us to in the attacking part of the field. We have not got any extroverts to turn the game. The players have got to express themselves more." However, the Wycombe boss went on to praise his defence and singled out Man of Match Terry Howard for special comment: "Howard was excellent. He is not afraid to stand up and be counted."

Howard went on to add: "We defended well as a unit today. We are a difficult side to beat. When you consider that we have got half of last year’s first-choice defence missing with Terry Evans out with a long-term injury and Matt Crossley missing the last few games, we are doing very well. The goal today was exceptional but we are not going forward like that enough. We need to play with more confidence. We know we can do it. All the games are very tight. It’s unlikely you will see teams scoring a lot of goals against each other. But we have set ourselves up with a good platform."

Other news in the week of the Walsall game had seen Club Captain Terry Evans return to action in a midweek reserve outing against Reading - a crowd of around 600 had attended the evening fixture at Adams Park where Wanderers had gone down 2-1 but Evans had come through the full 90 minutes. Meanwhile, there were departures from the Club for midfielder Steve Thompson and striker Tony Hemmings. Thompson was immediately snapped up by Conference side Woking, while Hemmings looked to pursue his career elsewhere. Both players had been transfer-listed by Martin O'Neill prior to his departure in June 1995 for breaching club conduct. Thompson had made 136 appearances for Wanderers since signing from Slough Town in February 1992 and had scored in the 1994 Play-Off Final victory over Preston North End. Hemmings had been signed from Northwich Victoria in September 1993 and had gone on to make 65 appearances, scoring 14 times.

Meanwhile, off the field news saw permission for the new 5,000 capacity Woodlands Stand finally granted. The planning application to replace the Woodlands terrace was submitted in February 1995 but required a Department of the Environment decision to give the go ahead. Work on the stand was due to commence before the end of the 1995/96 season, with an aim to finish before the start of the following campaign.
Next game - Oxford United v Wycombe - Saturday 21st October 1995
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