The Story of The Blues
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Oxford United 1
Wycombe Wanderers 4
Saturday 21st October 1995
Football League Division Two

Wanderers blew away Oxford United by 4 goals to 1 in what was described after the game by the local Oxford press as the 'Massacre at The Manor'. The U's went into the meeting a point behind Wycombe and were hoping to avenge the previous season's double defeat in the first ever League meetings between the two sides. Meanwhile, Wanderers were unchanged from the side that had beaten Walsall at Adams Park the previous weekend and were also looking to extend their unbeaten run in the League to ten games.

It all started to go wrong for the Headington based club on 17 minutes when David Farrell swung a corner in from the right that eluded all and ended in the back of the United net. Fifteen minutes later, Farrell pulled a similar trick, this time swinging his corner to the far post where Terry Howard jumped highest to head home and send the 2,300 Wanderers fans craning to see over the 10 foot high plus fences into a frenzy. The celebrations hardly had time to settle before Miquel Desouza added a third on 36 minutes.

Denis Smith's side rallied briefly after the break - pulling a goal back though David Smith - but a Steve McGavin penalty on 79 minutes, following a foul on Dave Carroll, sealed an emphatic victory for Alan Smith's side who climbed to 7th place in the table as a result - three points off the play-off spots.

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press, Sharron Walters wrote: 'One spectacular goal and the setting up of another by David Farrell sent Wycombe Wanderers on their way to a brilliant derby win over Oxford.

Farrell was the unlikely hero of Saturdayís clash with United when he scored straight from a corner 17 minutes into the match. After the game the mid-fielder said that an advertising board, of all things, had helped him secure the flukey goal that whistled past a packed area. ďI didnít have very much of a run up on the ball because of this board and thought about moving it. I decided it would be too heavy, so I just took the corner, kicking half the floor up with it and it just went in,Ē he said.

Sixteen minutes later another Farrell corner sent a murmur of excitement around the ground, and he didnít disappoint. This time, however, he did move the board and it paid off beautifully. Terry Howard standing at the far post, rose head and shoulders above the pack to put away Farrellís pin-point cross. ďA goal like that doesnít happen often, so when it comes off, itís great,Ē added Farrell.

Blues started the game in convincing style with much of the possession and the majority of the chances. Despite the lucky nature of the first goal, Wycombe had looked up to scoring from the start. Indeed, on nine minutes Mickey Bell headed the ball down at close range, only for Whitehead to stoop to the challenge and collect the ball. Seconds later, Miquel Desouza produced an even better shot that was scrambled off the line by an edgy United defence. Twelve minutes into the half, Williams managed to get a shot in after a one-two with Carroll only to see it cleared away by United defender Les Robinson.

On Saturday, Wanderers went a long way to answering their critics, especially in the first half, with steady defending and jumping on opportunities that came their way. Oxford were very quickly out classed by Wycombe, a fact their disgruntled supporters were only too aware of. The first half, if not the game, was wrapped up in the 36th minute when a Carroll cross, which completely eluded Williams, found Desouza who placed the ball high and left of Whitehead.

Oxford started the second half in a manner that, suggested they had a fightback in mind and for a while it looked promising for them. They held on to possession for long periods early in the half, which eventually paid off when David Smith fired a shot in from close range.

However, the goal seemed to jolt the Blues back into the game and although they had their chances, United produced little more than they had managed in the first half. There was no doubt who was in control and in the 81st minute the game was effectively put beyond Unitedís reach. Good work by Carroll as he went round one defender on the edge of the box unnerved United enough for Matt Murphy to bring the midfielder down with a late challenge. McGavin, from the spot, sent the ball right as the despairing goalkeeper dived left and the large contingent of Wycombe fans began celebrating another derby win after doing the double over Oxford last year.

Perhaps the only disappointment of the afternoon for Bluesí supporters was the failure of Terry Evans to make it off the substitutesí bench.

Wycombe: Hyde, Rowbotham, Bell, Howard, Cousins, Brown, Carroll, Williams (sub 65 Patterson). Desouza (sub 89 Clark), McGavin, Farrell. Sub not used: Evans
Scorers: Farrell 17, Howard 32, Desouza 36, McGavin 79 (penalty)
Bookings: Howard 5 (foul). Brown 63 (foul)
Oxford United: Whitehead, Robinson, M Ford, Smith, Elliot, Gilchrist, Rush (sub HT Angell), Beauchamp (sub HT Biggins) Moody, B Ford, Allen (sub 77 Murphy)
Scorers: Smith 54
Bookings: Ford 25 (dissent), Moody 56 (dissent)
Referee: Mr S Bennett (Dartford) Attendance: 7,731 (away 2,311)

Speaking after the game Manager Alan Smith said: "It went right for us today. That is what we are looking for, although itís still not quite there. I think people should realise how lucky they are to have a team like Wycombe to support. People must realise that it takes time to come together. A lot of the criticism comes from people without any understanding of football." He added: "The game was won at half time, letís not beat around the bush. Professional sportsmen need something to play for and we didnít have that at the start of the second half."

Meanwhile, Oxford United Manager Denis Smith urged his players to make a public apology and donate their weekís wages to charity after their humiliating reverse at The Manor Ground. Commenting on the Wycombe's first goal scored direct from a corner, leaving keeper Phil Whitehead and three defenders arguing amongst themselves about should have dealt with it, he added: "At Under 11s schoolboy level you would be cross with that, at a professional level it was unbelievable. Iím bitterly disappointed with the way weíve gone about it. Iíve got a certain amount of pride in what I do and I thought the players had too. The fans deserve better. I deserve better - It was just not acceptable."

The day after the victory at Oxford saw news of the draw for the First Round of the FA Cup. Wanderers were drawn against Division Three Leaders Gillingham in a tie that was eventually selected for live coverage on Sky TV and would be played on Monday 13th November 1995.

Next game - Wycombe v Hull City - Saturday 28th October 1995
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