The Story of The Blues
brought to you by
Carlisle United 4
Wycombe Wanderers 2
Sunday 26th November 1995
Football League Division Two

After slumping out of the FA Cup the previous Tuesday at Gillingham, Wanderers 14 match unbeaten run in Division Two came to a crashing end in the game at Carlisle United on Sunday 26th November 1995. The match, shown live on Border TV, saw Alan Smith's concede twice inside the opening 8 minutes - the first of which was hotly disputed by the Wycombe players who claimed that Warren Aspinall was offside when he converted from the far left corner of the six yard box but replays suggest that the knock on to the Carlisle player may have come from Dave Carroll.

It was Carroll who gave Wanderers brief hope with a goal back on 13 minutes but the home side restored their two goal advantage on 22 minutes and a second-half penalty through Tony Gallimore after a Paul Hyde foul left Wycombe with too much to do.

Carroll scored a late penalty for Wanderers and then went close to reducing the arrears further in the dying moments but Wanderers were generally a well beaten side in a match that turned out to be Paul Hyde's last appearance in a Wycombe shirt following his contract dispute with Manager Alan Smith.

An uncredited report for the Bucks Free Press, read: 'Carlisle United ended Wycombe Wanderers’ 14 game unbeaten league run and gained revenge for a Division Three play-off defeat — with a little help from a linesman. His flag stayed down when Steve Hayward headed on a cross to Warren Aspinall, lurking yards offside, who crashed in a shock third-minute opener.

But Wycombe’s assistant manager David Kemp, a former Carlisle player, believed that Blues got no more than they deserved: “Their first goal was yards offside. But we got caught cold and we deserved to lose.” Carlisle coach Mick Wadsworth admitted: “I have to be honest and say Warren was offside, but we had a lot of breaks against us so far this season, and I was starting to think we used up all our luck winning the Third Divi sion last season.”

The only question mark over Carlisle’s second goal, just five minutes later, was where Wanderers’ defence was. Carlisle defender Dean Walling climbed high to bullet in a powerful far-post header from a David Currie corner. Dangerman Dave Carroll did his best to settle Wycombe’s nerves with a clinically taken goal in the 13th minute, firing in a low shot from Miquel Desouza’s precise through ball.

Carlisle quickly restored their two-goal advantage. On-loan striker Allan Smart looked suspiciously offside when Currie threaded the ball through Wanderers’ square back line after 22 minutes, but was allowed to go on, delivering a perfect ball across the box for captain David Reeves to side foot home at the far post.

It took a fine reflex save by Carlisle’s Tony Caig after Simon Garner jinked his way into the Carlisle box, to preserve the Cumbrian’s 3-1 lead at half time.

After the break Wycombe brought Terry Evans on to slot into the back four, with Gary Patterson going off and Jason Cousins pushing up into a midfield role. Eleven minutes into the second half, however, Wanderers’ unbeaten league run of 14 matches was all but over. Hard-working Reeves chased a long ball into the box, Paul Hyde brought him down and Tony Gallimore punished the keeper from the penalty spot.

Carroll, who was a constant menace to the Carlisle defence, fired a blistering long-range free kick that crashed back off the upright, with substitute Anthony Clark screwing the rebound wide from six yards, and Caig palmed away another Carroll pile-driver as Wycombe fought hard, albeit chasing a lost cause. But they got some reward seven minutes from full time when Aspinall sent Cousins sprawling, Car roll scoring his second from the penalty spot. The woodwork denied Carroll again in the dying minutes when he beat the goalkeeper with a sizzling 25-yard free kick, only to see the ball crash back from the foot of the post.'

Wycombe: Hyde, Rowbotham, Bell, Howard, Cousins, Brown (sub 87 McGavin), Carroll, Patterson (sub HT Evans), De Souza, Garner (sub 66 Clark), Farrell
Scorers: Carroll 13, 83 (penalty)
Bookings: Howard 3 (dissent), Hyde 3 (dissent)
Carlisle: Caig, Edmondson, Gallimore, Walling, Bennett, Hayward, Smart (sub 60 Thorpe), Currie (sub 76 Thomas), Reeves, Aspinall (sub 83 Murray), Prokas
Scorers: Aspinall 3, Walling 8, Reeves 22, Gallimore 56 (penalty)
Bookings: Aspinall 17 (dissent), Edmondson 45 (foul)
Referee: Mr Terry Lunt (Wigan) Attendance: 4,459 (away 206)

Speaking after the game Manager Alan Smith described the result as freakish and commenting on the first goal said: “It was so blatantly offside. From then on there was a kerfuffle on our part because the decision created uproar among our players. Then they got a second. You have got to be a hell of a side to come back from two goals down at Carlisle. We did a lot of things right in the second half and were by far the better team, but the game ultimately was a false one because of the early decision."

The Wycombe Manager also explained his decison to leave John Williams out of the squad that travelled to Brunton Park: "I don’t think he has done enough for the team. The mere fact he happens to be the last player in here does not mean he is an automatic choice. If people don’t match up to scratch, they should not be surprised if they are not in the side."

The result saw Wanderers drop a place to 5th in the Division Two table and they would be out of competitive action the following week due to their FA Cup exit. Alan Smith would use the break to take on Cambridge United in a friendly at Adams Park on Saturday 2nd December, before returning to League action with the visit of 7th placed Wrexham the following weekend.

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