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Wycombe Wanderers 4
Carlisle United 0
Saturday 27th April 1996
Football League Division Two

Some smiles returned to the faces of Wycombe fans during the last home game of the 1995/96 season against a condemed Carlisle United side.

On a scorching afternoon at Adams Park, the Wycombe goals came from Matt Crossley, John Williams and two from David Farrell as Wanderers recorded their biggest home win of the season and sent the Cumbrian side back to the basement division.

A downside to the day saw Wycombe 'keeper Sieb Dykstra red carded for retaliation with three minutes remaining, while there was controversy brewing following an outburst from Club Director Alan Parry in the matchday programme - Parry taking up a 'man of the people' approach in criticising Manager Alan Smith.

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash wrote: 'Wycombe Wanderers wrapped up their last home game of a topsy- turvy season with an action-packed finale. A four-goal blast, which was followed by a mass brawl, perked up Blues fans who hadn’t seen a win in five games. The emphatic victory, meanwhile, is set to condemn opponents Carlisle to relegation, pending the result from the abandoned game between Brighton and York.

Although there are still many questions to be answered in regard to what happens next for Wycombe under Alan Smith, a sub-4,000 crowd were treated to a clutch of well-taken goals and a heated display of argy bargy at Adams Park on Saturday.

Carlisle captain David Reeves was sent off for stamping on Blues goalkeeper Sieb Dykstra who in turn was also dismissed for retaliation. Wycombe midfielder Gary Patterson took over in goal for the last two minutes. After the initial confrontation, both teams’ players piled in as referee Alan Wiley struggled to keep matters under control. Six players, three from each side, were also booked during the course of a game that became increasingly scrappy under Wiley’s officiating. Carlisle, hoping to give themselves a last-gasp reprieve to escape the drop to Division Three, became frustrated after Wycombe took the lead against the run of play. They also almost took out a linesman with heated protests that one of Blues’ goals was off-side.

Wycombe supporters’ player of the season Dave Carroll said that he and his team-mates were pleased to finish on as a high a note as possible after their most recent and disappointing slump. “We just got it together today because we wanted to prove a point. “When we got our second goal we settled down well and started to play well,” he said.

Wycombe sent Carlisle spiralling to defeat after Matt Crossley hooked home David Farrell s right-wing corner which Tony Caig failed to punch clear on 35 minutes. Earlier, Carlisle’s Rod Thomas was the busiest person on the pitch as a key figure in most of the visitors’ attacks. David Farrell and John Williams, who were playing up front together for the first time, both enjoyed lively returns to Wycombe’s starting line-up and both enhanced their chances with finding favour next season. Farrell netted twice and Williams also got on the scoresheet in the second half.

Carlisle were in determined mood after the break but Dykstra pulled off spectacular saves to deny Reeves twice in the space of a minute. After another good stop to thwart Reeves, Wycombe increased their lead with an excellent move started by Steve Brown in midfield on 54 minutes. His pass was taken up by Farrell on the left flank who beat Carlisle’s off-side trap with ease before firing in a perfectly flighted cross which Williams powerfully headed home at the far post.

Carlisle lost their rag after Wycombe scored their third goal eight minutes later. Brown headed out of defence to Bell who raced down the left before releasing a cross which Farrell had plenty of time and space to tap in from two yards out. Play stopped for about three minutes while the referee tried to sort out the melee of Carlisle players who pounced in apoplectic fashion on one of the linesmen.

But Wycombe carried on regardless with Williams forcing Caig into an impressive save and Keith Ryan was unlucky to have a goal disallowed for off-side on 72 minutes. The midfielder unleashed a thunderous shot through a crowded box into the bottom corner from 25 yards out but Wiley signalled that Williams was off side, although the striker was not interfering with play. No matter, though, as Farrell scored the best goal of the day with an impressive solo effort three minutes later. From the right wing this time, the winger/striker won the ball in midfield and fended off two defenders before running on to rap the ball home inside the near post from 25 yards out.

Dykstra might have sparked Reeves’ later outburst when a cheeky backheel cleared one Carlisle attack to safety. This prompted a Mexican wave among some sections of the ground, although the wave never got beyond the directors’ box.

Reeves proceeded to see red. Dykstra said of the incident: “I came out for a cross ball. I got the football and fell down on the floor. He then stood on my head on purpose and I went up and pushed him away.”

Although the Wycombe players received rapturous applause from the fans on a lap of honour, and a hearty slap on the back from Alan Smith as they went down the players’ tunnel, the feeling that a dramatic upheaval is nigh to necessitate a marked improvement was the only thing left hanging in the air.'

Wycombe: Dykstra, Rowbotham, Bell, Cross ley, Evans, Brown (sub 78 Hardyman), Carroll, Ryan, Farrell, Williams, Patterson – subs not used: Lawrence, Skiverton
Scorers: Crossley 35, Williams 54, Farrell 62, 75
Bookings: Patterson 8 (ungentlemanly con duct), Brown 29 (kicking the ball away), Evans 43 (dissent) - Red Card: Dykstra 87 (violent conduct)
Carlisle: Caig, Edmondson (sub 67 Robinson), Dowell, Walling, Bennett, Hayward, Thomas (sub 74 Delap), Currie, Reeves, Aspinall, Prokas (sub 56 Conway)
Scorers: none
Bookings: Caig 39 (dissent), Hayward 49 (kicking the ball away), Edmondson 62 (abusing linesman) - Red Card: Reeves 87 (violent conduct)
Referee: Mr A Wiley (Walsall) Attendance: 3,964

Wanderers Manager Alan Smith was lefting fuming on the day of the last game of the season at Adams Park following some out of place comments from Club Director Alan Parry in the matchday programme: Parry said: "The standard of some of our recent games has been unacceptable and I sympathise with the complaints of you, the paying customer. You have grown accustomed to success and exciting football in recent seasons and you haven't seen much of either commodity over the past nine months." He added: "In every respect, this is going to be our worst season since we joined the Football League. We have won fewer games, gained fewer points, conceded more goals and lost more matches. In addition, our average home crowds have dropped to around 4,500 - that's 1500 down on last season and even lower than our last season in the Vauxhall Conference."

Before seeing the comments, Smith had said in his own programme notes and in response to previous comments by Parry: "I have seen mention in this programme of "my style of play" but I can only say that My Style is the one when we had performances against Bradford, both home and away, Stockport, Burnley and Oxford away and I will not accept that players personal pride should not make them play the same as this each week, when the instructions they are given are no different."

Two days after the match with Carlisle, Smith faced close to 400 supporters in a Fans Forum organised by the Wycombe Wanderers Independent Supporters Club. The former Crystal Palace boss used this as an opportunity to respond to the latest diatribe from Parry: "What I will not put up with at this Football Club is the innuendos and the snidey remarks which are not even factual. I open up my programme on Saturday and see remarks that shouldn't even be in a football programme. I defy any football club in the League to have things like that in their programme." Smith also called for unity, adding: "Unless we get this Club under one roof there is a problem."

Bob Officer, Chairman of Wycombe Wanderers Independent Supporters’ Club, said the fans have viewed what is going on with bemusement: “If the Club are not united, it doesn’t put across a very good example to the fans.”

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Final game 1995/96 - Bristol Rovers v Wycombe - Saturday 4th May 1996
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