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Wycombe Wanderers 4
Burnley 1
Saturday 30th March 1996
Football League Division Two

Wycombe took advantage of Burnley's complete lack of conviction up front to complete another high scoring victory at Adams Park, with Keith Ryan putting away two more goals in a 4-1 win for Alan Smith's side.

The COTN archives from March 1996 recalls the half-time entertainment in the form of Simon Garner being used to make the weekly prize draws. This was much to the dislike of the Burnley fans who remembered him well from his days with their rivals Blackburn Rovers - but to the supreme enjoyment of just about everybody else there. The archive report also says: 'One statastic that was floating around the terraces on Saturday was that the last two victories, and probably most entertaining home games of the season, have been achieved with 10 outfield players signed before Alan Smith arrived!'

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash wrote: 'Wycombe Wanderers’ new found self-belief is going from strength to strength after blasting Burnley away with their second goal spree in less than a week.

Saturday’s victory continued Blues’ fine form from last Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Bradford and extends an unbeaten run to five games. But whether it’s sane to even consider the possibility of scraping into the Division Two play offs, is probably best put off until after the Easter weekend at least.

Blues play three games in less than a week starting with tonight’s trip to Walsall, and followed by Saturday’s long-haul to Hull and next Monday’s home derby against Oxford United. With so many points at stake, almost anything could happen to Wanderers and the teams around them in the table. Blues’ current 11th place position, still seven points off the top six, could change drastically for better, or worse, or not at all, by this time next week.

To be honest, it’s worth just savouring the moment, as currently, Wycombe are looking like they’re really enjoying themselves for the first time this season. The team’s attitude and readiness to show willing for each other is a revelation compared to gremlins and grimaces that accompanied many of the inconsistent displays which haunted them earlier this season.

Steve Brown was the conductor and his team-mates the orchestra on Saturday. And if that sounds a little grandiose, you’re right, as flailing Burnley, despite their rich history etc, were probably one of the poorest sides to visit Adams Park this term. But still, when Brown’s on song, and not whacking anyone, it has a tremendous impact.

Double goalscorer Keith Ryan is also improving with every game and his confidence is such after scoring an excellent goal last week, that he came up with another two finely executed efforts. After a frenetic opening by both sides, Ryan opened the scoring for Wycombe on 12 minutes. It looked like Wycombe’s attack was threatening to fizzle out after Dave Carroll headed Mickey Bell’s left-wing cross back to Ryan on the edge of the area. With the midfielder still having a lot to do, he just neatly took the ball down, turned and smashed it through a packed box into the back of a bewildered Marion Beresford’s net.

Burnley’s player/manager Adrian Heath tried to lead from the frontline to get his players to reassert themselves, but apart from his shot straight at Sieb Dykstra, there was little to trouble Wanderers’ defence unduly. Wycombe gave themselves a sound platform to build on when Ryan’s far post header put away Steve McGavin’s excellent deep left-wing cross from the byline punished the visitors dreadful defending on 31 minutes.
Burnley were not surprisingly the busier of the two sides after the break. It looked like Blues were sitting back a tad too much when Paul Mahorn pulled a goal back for the visitors on 53 minutes.

Wanderers responded confidently and competently, however. A slick attack, started by Jason Cousins’ inch-perfect boot out of defence and continued by McGavin who ran on and fired in an inviting cross from the left deserved better than Desouza’s disappointing header over on 71 minutes But the striker made up for his miss when he created something out of nothing ten minutes later. He picked the ball up 25 yards out, picked his spot and his right foot found it with unerring and barnstorming accuracy.

Mickey Bell saw to it that Blues wrapped up another handsome scoreline, and further underlined his ‘Mr Nice Guy’ credentials, when he unselfishly squared the ball for substitute David Farrell, the signing who usurped him from the left wing, to toe poke home from close range in the final minute.'
Wycombe: Dykstra, Cousins, Bell, Howard, Evans, Brown, Carroll, Ryan, Desouza (sub 84 Farrell), McGavin, Patterson - subs not used: Hardyman, Rowbotham
Scorers: Ryan 11, 31, Desouza 81, Farrell 90
Bookings: none
Burnley: Beresford, Parkinson, Vinnicombe (sub 43 Mahorn), Swan, Winstanley, Bishop, Harrison, Thompson, Heath (sub 73 Weller), Nogan, Eyres - sub not used: Joyce
Scorers: Mahorn 53
Bookings: none
Referee: Mr R D Furnadiz (Doncaster) Attendance: 4,921

Speaking after the game Manager Alan Smith said: "The side is more settled now and we look all the better for that. We are playing better because of the four in midfield. [Steve] Brown is a better player than this division. With [Gary] Patterson and [Keith] Ryan playing steadily and [Dave] Carroll giving us that bit of skill, means that they are very difficult to play against." He added: "“I’m delighted with the results. It gives us a hell of a chance to get into the play-offs."

Next game - Walsall v Wycombe - Tuesday 2nd April 1996
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