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|Wycombe 0 Middlesbrough 0
FA Cup Third Round - 4th January 1975
|Before Wycombe's trio of Wembley appearances in the early 1990's, this game ranked as the biggest game in the history of the Club, attracting media attention never seen before at Loakes Park. This was the first time that The Wanderers had reached the Third Round Proper of the FA Cup and the game was an instant 12,000 sell-out.
Wycombe had reached this stage after battling through the qualifying rounds - beating Marlow, Milton Keynes, Chesham and Margate before victories over Cheltenham Town and a dramatic replay victory at Third Division Bournemouth took the Wanderers into the unknown of the Third Round.
At the time of the game Middlesbrough were joint top of the old First Division along side Ipswich Town - Liverpool were third while Manchester United were in Division Two. Boro' managed by Jack Charlton had won the Division Two title by a record 15 points the previous season and their line-up is now legendary amongst Boro' fans - Platt in goal, Maddron and Boam at the back, Souness in midfield, Armstrong and Foggon up front, to name a few.
Meanwhile, Wycombe were fourth in the Rothmans Isthmian League - trailing leaders Enfield by 13 points having both played 21 games - Wycombe went on to pip Enfield on goal average for the title in May. Like Boro, the line-up from that season is now firmly etched in the memories of those lucky enough to be around at the time. Managed by Brian Lee, long servers John Maskell and Tony Horseman and now been joined by Gary Hand and Alan Phillips from fellow Isthmian Leaguers Hendon who had scared Newcastle the previous season in the same competition. Assisting them were the midfield driving force of Steve Perrin (later to join Crystal Palace), Howard Kennedy and Mickey Holifield.
With the massive gulf between the two sides, Wycombe were given no chance before the game. Even Brian Lee dismissed the suggestion of an upset. The game was featured on ITV's Big Match and also gave Alan Parry his first taste of Wycombe Wanderers when he covered the game for BBC Radio. They witnessed a memorable encounter that gave the Teesiders the fright of their lives. On a frosty surface, Wycombe grew in confidence as the game progressed and if a 70th minute header from Alan Phillips had gone six inches to the other side of the Hospital End goal, it would of been red faces all around for Boro'. Maskell in the Wycombe goal had one shot to save throughout the 90 minutes.
The final whistle signalled a pitch invasion to congratulate the Wycombe heroes. A few days later it was back to Ayresome Park for another memorable and emotional occasion.
Team Line-Ups at Loakes Park:
WYCOMBE:Maskell, Birdseye, Mead, Phillips, Hand, Holifield, Reardon, Kennedy, Horseman (sub 88 Evans), Searle and Perrin.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Platt, Craggs, Maddren, Boam, Spraggon, Brine, Souness, Armstrong, Hickton, Foggan (sub 80 Willey), Mills Att:12,000
And so to the replay at Ayresome Park.
Article first published by chairboys.co.uk in 1998
Also see extended feature published for 40th anniversary in January 2015.
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