The Story of The Blues
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Wycombe Wanderers 4
Stockport County 1
Saturday 24th February 1996
Football League Division Two

Wanderers up and down fortunes for the 1995/96 season were summed up when there was much relief for the Adams Park faithful following a convincing 4-1 home victory over 6th placed Stockport County. John Williams was the Wycombe hero with a hat-trick and it could have been more. The former Swansea and Coventry man netted twice in the opening ten minutes and the game was effectively over after 35 minutes when Dave Carroll went on one of his teasing runs - beating the entire Stockport team before sending in a cross/shot that beat Matt Dickens in the Stockport goal.

A mini revival by Stockport at the start of the second half caused concern for the Wycombe fans when Mike Flynn headed home for County four minutes after the re-start. The worries were unfounded, however, when Williams completed his hat-trick on 54 minutes when he connected with a Dave Farrell cross from the left and the shot went in off the post.

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash wrote: 'Wycombe Wanderers’ finest home display of the season is one to put a welcome strain on a supply of superlatives — so emphatic and spectacular was the nature of their success.

Saturday’s victory was as well-received as it was unexpected after Wycombe’s fortunes had taken an undignified nose- dive in recent weeks. With star-turns by John Williams, with a well-deserved hat- trick, and a magical solo effort by Dave Carroll, Blues simply blew Stockport away on Saturday.

Wycombe’s manager Alan Smith said: “If we could bottle today’s performance, we should win every week.” For the formula to be so successful has indeed been a rare sight at Adams Park this season, a 4,246 crowd is sufficient proof of that. But if Blues can reproduce this type of performance, the gates should increase alongside the players’ growing confidence in being able to snatch a play off place. Smith summed up the basic difference between this display and others which have competed with watching paint dry for Saturday afternoon entertainment/torture. “We gave ourselves a chance with two early goals. So many times we have started games the wrong way round. This time the players went for it,” he said.

Blues’ cavalry-charge opening saw Williams score his first two goals inside the first ten minutes to leave Stockport, who travelled to Adams Park on the back of a 1-0 win over highfliers Crewe, utterly shell-shocked. The way Blues, who moved from 14th to tenth place in Division Two as a result, conducted themselves was basically how Smith had hoped they would perform every week since he’s been at the club.

Hat-trick hero [John] Williams, who had had enough chances to score six goals, was modest as the plaudits flew thick and fast in his direction after being presented with the man of the match award.

Praising his boss and team mates, he said: “It’s great to get a hat-trick but I want to give credit to the other lads. Everyone did brilliantly out there today. The gaffer’s been telling us all year that we are capable of doing that. We should always start our games with a cavalry charge. Now we have got to try and play like that every week.”

Williams’ delight was heightened because of the amount of flak he has endured since being signed from Coventry in a record £150,000 deal last September. Some was deserved with just three goals in four months. But it has also been harsh at times, with the striker, along with Miquel Desouza and Steve McGavin trying to settle into a semblance of a groove in a regularly rejigged line-up.

The acid test for whether the rejuvenated Williams and Blues can take the best from Saturday and keep reproducing it straight away with a tough match at Peterborough tonight (ko 7.45pm). Although Peterborough are below them in the table, they are on a roll after the return of striker Ken Charlery from Birmingham as player/coach. And Wycombe also have their injury problems with skipper Terry Evans unlikely to shake off a groin strain which resulted in his being substituted at half time on Saturday. Jason Rowbotham, who is suspended against Swindon next Saturday, has also had treatment for a knock. Looking ahead to Blues’ exploits in all of their remaining 16 games, hopefully they will be touched by at least a modicum of the sublime skill which lit up the display against Stockport.

Williams opened the scoring after four minutes with a 25-yard shot inside the post after taking the ball well with his left foot, drifting in from the wing with a deceptively loping run, and then letting rip with his right. Five minutes later he was on hand to head home a Mickey Bell cross which was centred by Terry Howard. Two goals in ten minutes was rare, the sound of Wycombe’s fans making more noise than their opponents’ rarer still.

Dave Carroll, anointed with the nickname ‘Jesus’, sent Blues fans to heaven before the break when he found the net after with an incredible run from the halfway line. With the option of passing to an unmarked Wycombe player either side of him, Carroll took it on himself and raced past four players before firing in a shot which Stockport goal keeper Matt Dickens could only tip into the net.

The visitors hit back after the break when Mike Flynn headed home Mark Williams’ corner on 49 minutes. A comeback was never on for Stockport, though, after leaving themselves with too much to do, as Wycombe had done the previous week at Chesterfield. Blues now had the opportunity to indulge themselves. Miquel Desouza overdid it a bit. But Williams completed his hat-trick after getting a decisive touch as the ball pinged around the box and squeezed his shot inside the post on 54 minutes.

With his confidence sky high, Williams tried some audacious stuff and was unlucky not to find the target again with a hooked volley on the turn on 80 minutes.'
Wycombe: Roberts, Rowbotham, Bell, Howard, Evans (sub HT Cousins), Brown, Carroll, Patterson, DeSouza, Williams, Farrell - subs not used: Ryan, McGavin
Scorers: Williams 4, 9, 54 Carroll 34
Bookings: none
Stockport: Dickins, Connelly, Todd, Ware (sub 59 Dinning), Flynn, Bound, Beaumont, Eckhardt, Williams (sub 50 Mike), Armstrong, Durkan - sub not used: Oliver
Scorers: Flynn 49
Bookings: Durkan 77 (challenge from behind)
Referee: Mr Andy D’Urso (Billerlcay) Attendance: 4,246

Speaking after the game Manager Alan Smith said: “All the whingers should stop moaning. They have been saying there isn’t a good team spirit here which is not true. The players have answered that today.” He went on to say: "We prepared no differently for this game than for last week’s defeat at Chesterfield which I was obviously not happy with. I don’t think we played any better than we did against Notts County either, but this time we found the net."

Next game - Peterborough v Wycombe - Tuesday 27th February 1996
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