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Peterborough United 3
Wycombe Wanderers 0
Tuesday 27th February 1996
Football League Division Two

After the high of the previous Saturday's victory over Stockport, Wycombe were brought firmly back down to earth by Peterborough United - crashing to a 3-nil defeat in a scrappy affair at London Road involving two red card incidents. Gary Martendale opened the scoring in 24th minute when he netted while Terry Howard lay waiting treatment after being flattened by his own 'keeper, Ben Roberts.

The game threatened to boil over on 55 minutes when Boro's Ben Sedgemore made a wild challenge on Steve Brown. The nearby players and linesman steamed in with the result a red card for Sedgemore. Brown, who also very fortunate to not receive any booking, seemed to tussle with the linesman before the ref finally arrived on the scene.

The game totally fell apart for Wycombe on 74 minutes when Lee Power raced clear on goal and Ben Roberts was forced to handle outside the area - the ref showing the red card almost instantly. Jason Cousins took the 'keeper's jersey but had little work to do other than pick the ball out of the net on 81 minutes - ex-Wycombe loan player Mark Foran powering home a corner from the right with his head. To conclude the nightmare for Wycombe, Brown was booked on 89 minutes for a hard challenge and in injury time a Martindale cross was defelcted past Cousins by Howard for the third.

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from London Road, Claire Nash wrote: 'Even though they weren’t allowed to say anything, Wycombe Wanderers’ players’ faces said it all after Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat at Peterborough United. Bleak, and some like thunder, their frustration was obvious that their job hadn’t been helped by controversial referee Mick Bailey. Whether the players had to also endure a post-match rollicking by boss Alan Smith for being out played as they battled to get back on level terms against ten men in the second half, can only be speculated on, with no post-match comments.

It was an infuriating evening for 350 Wycombe supporters who had made the trip. Peterborough took the lead with a goal scored while Terry Howard lay semi-conscious in the penalty area after being laid out by his own goalkeeper Ben Roberts. Roberts was later sent off for a professional foul when he handled the ball outside the area. To add insult to injury, the best goal of the night was scored by unpopular ex-Wanderers defender Mark Foran.

Earlier, Peterborough defender Ben Sedgemore was sent off for a tackle from behind on Steve Brown, after which a mass brawl nearly ensued. Before that Wycombe’s Gary Patterson was fortunate not to have been sent off for a second bookable challenge. The game became a farce when referee Bailey asked five Peterborough players if they were responsible for a challenge on Miquel Desouza before working out that it was Foran who was about a foot taller and less scenic than his team-mates.

Wycombe actually started the game in positive fashion, following on from Saturday’s victory over Stockport. Steve Brown was unlucky with a powerful low shot which stretched Jon Sheffield. Confusion reigned, however, when Peterborough scored on 24 minutes. The trouble began when Roberts punched out a cross and his captain Howard, who was standing in for injured Terry Evans. With Howard flat out, and playing any Peterborough player on-side, the ball went out wide to Gary Martindale who swept in from the right and fired into the bottom corner.

The niggle remained from thereon-in. The game became a scrappy affair, and matters didn’t markedly improve after Peterborough were reduced to ten men. Things went from bad to worse when Roberts raced out to block Lee Power’s shot after the winger was put clean through. Unfortunately, Power’s sidestep unbalanced the goal keeper who put his hand out to steer the ball away. With no substitute goalkeeper on the bench, Jason Cousins took over. From the ensuing free kick on 80 minutes, Foran, who failed to impress at Adam Park during a two-month loan earlier this season, gave the defender no chance with a bullet header. Martindale wrapped it up in the final minute.'

Wycombe: Roberts, Rowbotham, Bell, Howard, Cousins, Brown, Carroll, Patterson (sub 65 Ryan), Desouza, Williams, Farrell - subs not used: Soloman, McGavin
Scorers: none
Bookings: Patterson 26 (dissent), Rowbotham 38 (foul), Brown 89 (foul)
Red Card: Roberts 75 (handball, preventing clear goal scoring opportunity)
Peterborough: Sheffield, Basham, Clark, Sedgemore, Foran, Heald, Morrison, (sub LeBihan), Ebdon, Martindale, Power (sub Williams), Carter, - subs not used: Dobson
Scorers: Martindale 24, Foran 82, Howard (own goal) 89
Bookings: Foran 51 (foul)
Red Card: Sedgemore 56 (dangerous play)
Referee: Mr Mike Bailey (Cambridge) Attendance: 3,670 (away 378)

Not only did Manager Alan Smith refuse to speak to the press after the game, it was later revealed he had banned his players from speaking to the media too.

Despite the defeat at Peterborough, Wanderers remained just five points away from the final play-off place, with 42 points from 31 games. However, the next game would be a major test, with leaders Swindon Town the visitors to Adams Park the following Saturday.

Other news saw the Club agree a two year kit deal with Japanese sportwear company Mizuno with the 'vote' for a new kit design set to kick-off with two options being printed in the Swindon home programme. Meanwhile, short sponsors Verco Office Furniture had agreed a three year extension to their current deal with Wanderers. The High Wycombe based firm had started their association with the Club in 1988.

Next game - Wycombe v Swindon - Saturday 2nd March 1996
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