The Story of The Blues
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York City 2
Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 13th April 1996
Football League Division Two

With Manager Alan Smith openly experimenting with his starting XI, Wanderers slumped to a third successive defeat - this time losing 2-1 at relegation threatened York City. Team news saw midfielder Simon Stapleton make his first start of the season, while out went favourites Jason Cousins and Terry Evans to make way for a defence that included Terry Skiverton.

Dave Carroll went close for Wycombe on 34 minutes but three minutes later Gary Patterson needlessly pulled back an attacker in the Wycombe box and Gary Bull made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Hope then came for Wycombe on 44 minutes when a spectatular overhead kick from John Williams fell into the path of Skiverton who shot home to make the scores level at half-time.

The winning goal for City came on 63 minutes when Glenn Naylor controlled a bouncing through ball to beat Sieb Dykstra in the Wycombe goal. It was perhaps significant that according to the COTN archives: 'Alan Smith and his side-kick David Kemp were down the tunnel faster than ferrets down a rabbit hole at the final whistle and made no attempt to acknowledge the people who had made the 500 mile round trip to get there.'

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash wrote: 'Wycombe Wanderers’ out-of-contract players know they still have a considerable amount to prove after losing this gruelling endurance test for spectators.

While York nabbed three points to continue their climb away from relegation trouble, it was not too surprising that a Blues side containing four changes struggled to gel at Bootham Crescent on Saturday.

Wycombe’s first-half toil on a pitch which cut up badly, making it difficult for players to stay upright, was rewarded with a Terry Skiverton equaliser which wiped out Gary Bull’s 35th-minute penalty.

However, Blues lost the initiative in the second half after John Williams limped off with a recurrence of a hamstring injury and York hit back against the run of play.

Dave Carroll, one of Blues’ out-of contractees, said: “It was a bad performance all round. We want to win as many games as we can between now and the end of the season. The changes made it harder but we are trying to do our best.”

There was little to write about, let alone write home about, until Miquel Desouza got on the end of Carroll’s through ball on 17 minutes. He didn’t make a good connection. However, the effort beat goalkeeper Dean Kiely but was wide of the post.

York were awarded a penalty on 35 minutes after Gary Patterson upended Bull in the area. The former Barnet striker then converted the spot-kick himself.

Wycombe stepped up the pressure before the break with Skiverton racing in to head home William’s skilful overhead kick from Mickey Bell’s cross. Blues skipper Keith Ryan put in a great deal of work to help Wycombe dominate possession after half time, but York struck after Williams went off on 55 minutes. A ball over the top put Glenn Naylor through, the striker outstripping Wycombe’s defence before slotting home under Dykstra’s body.'

Wycombe: Dykstra, Stapleton, Bell, Crossley, Skiverton, Brown, Carroll, Ryan, Desouza, Williams (sub 53 Lawrence), Patterson (sub 69 Farrell) - sub not used: Hardyman
Scorers: Skiverton 43
York City: Kiely, McMillan, Atkinson, Bushell, Sharples, Barras, Murty, Jordan, Naylor, Bull, Stephenson. Subs not used: Atkin, Peverell, D Williams
Scorers: Bull 36 (penalty), Naylor 61
Referee: Mr J Kirkby (Sheffield) Attendance: 3,113 (275 away)

Speaking after the game Manager Alan Smith explained his decision to look at other squad members, saying: "I need to look at the whole squad before the end of the season. I want to be fair to everybody. While I want to win our remaining games, it is more important to see the players."

Smith added that he had not made up his mind about the fate of any of the out-of-contract players. However, reports suggested that some of the players were on edge, with glum expressions all around as they got on the team bus after the defeat at Bootham Crescent. However, Dave Carroll said: "We shouldn’t be distracted by anything else. Once out on the pitch, we should just get on with it."

Next game - Wycombe v Rotherham United - Tuesday 16th April 1996
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