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Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 23rd March 1996
Football League Division Two
It was Wycombe's lack of finishing power that cost them the chance of taking all three points against a struggling, yet Wembley bound Rotherham United. Wanderers fielded an unchanged lineup from the side who had beaten Brentford seven days previous. It was hoped that Simon Garner would be available again following his return after a loan spell with Torquay but it was later revealed he had been injured during the week in training.
The home side had reached Wembley for the first time in their history by winning through to the Final of the Auto Windscreens Shields (Football League) Trophy. They eventually sold around 17,000 tickets and on the day of the Wycombe game many locals turned up to get tickets before departing and leaving the loyal 2,500 hardcore Miller support to cheer on their side.
Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Millmoor, Claire Nash wrote: 'Wycombe Wanderers look to have made 12th place in Division Two their very own after a goalless draw at Rotherham. Blues continue to sit steadfastly and unremarkably in mid-table, with Saturday’s result typical of the kind of fare likely to keep them there, although, according to the Wycombe clubcall, they are merely happy enough to be on course for going over the 55-point mark which should ensure relegation is avoided.
It’s a long way from their optimism about reaching the play-offs, prompted by momentary bright spots since Christmas, but Blues’ recent poor spell with five defeats in six games made a nonsense of such frippery.
Wycombe, though, have gone three games unbeaten with five points out of nine. Saturday’s draw was slow-going for both sides on a heavy pitch, the team’s respective defences eventually cancelling each other out. Gary Patterson came closest to snatching a win for Wycombe on Saturday when a 25-yard drive cannoned off the crossbar late in the first half. Earlier Terry Howard spurned Blues’ best chance of the game when he contrived to blast a loose ball over the bar from close range.
Simon Garner’s hopes of making an immediate come back after returning from two months’ loan at Torquay were scuppered by a hamstring strain in training the day before. The veteran striker was joined in a spectating capacity by Steve Brown who was serving the second of a two-game suspension. Nigel Jemson underlined why his form has seen him score five goals in a short space of time since joining Rotherham on loan from Notts County, by being the hosts’ most potent threat both in the run of play and in set-piece situations. The striker loosened up by getting on the end of Andy Roscoe’s left-wing cross but Jemson’s far-post header was straight at the Wanderers’ on-loan goalkeeper Sieb Dykstra.
Howard was clearly unprepared for being presented with a great opportunity to put Blues into the lead on 19 minutes. The central defender was the nearest man to Rotherham goal keeper Matthew Clarke when he dropped a Dave Carroll cross, but Howard fired his shot way over. Jemson headed over on 29 minutes, while, at the other end, there was no one to meet a fine John Williams cross which whizzed across the area. Patterson took the right route by letting rip on 35 minutes, but his fierce effort bounced off the crossbar and was cleared to safety by Rotherham’s defence.
Jemson went close again just before half time with a right-foot volley searing past the upright. Dykstra then made a tremendous save when his foot blocked the Rotherham striker’s down ward header.
Wycombe enjoyed good moments after the break. With a move originating on the left involving Mickey Bell and Williams, Blues swept forward with accurate passing, but Williams was unable to get on the end of Carroll’s cross. The striker was replaced by Miquel Desouza on 69 minutes after pulling a hamstring.
By now, both teams’ defences were keeping each other on a tight rein. Patterson stunned Clarke again on 70 minutes when he couldn’t keep hold of the midfielder’s stinging shot but he picked it up at his second attempt. Rotherham had a penalty appeal turned down on 79 minutes when Trevor Berry thought Jason Cousins, who he kept very busy on the right wing all afternoon, had tugged his shirt in the area. Three minutes from the end Howard cleared off the line after Dykstra failed to collect Gary Bowyer’s shot.'
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