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Eastwood Town v Wycombe Wanderers
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
Saturday 29th October 1983
Bobby Dell leads out the Wanderers at Eastwood - October 1983 - picture When Wanderers were drawn away to Eastwood Town in the 4th Qualiying Round of the 1983/84 FA Cup, it was a step into the unknown for most connected with Wycombe. At the time Eastwood were playing in the Premier Division of the North East Counties League and this was the first time they had reached this stage of the FA Cup. In contrast, Wanderers were reigning Isthmian League Champions and were aiming to reach the First Round Proper stage for the eleventh consecutive season.

The tie at Eastwood's compact and quaint Coronation Park ground was regarded by many as the biggest in Town's history. But despite the hype the attendance was a relatively disappointing 800 - with close to half of those making the journey to support Mike Keen's Wycombe side.

Team news for the Wanderers saw Gary Lester return in goal after Chris Way suffered a knee injury in the previous Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bishops Stortford. Lester had lost his place to Way earlier in the season and this was his chance to prove his worth. There was also good news with the return of Anton Vircavs to the heart of the defence following a month out with a knee injury. One player who remained absent was unsettled midfielder Howard Kennedy who was in the middle of negotiations to enable him to transfer to Slough Town. Meanwhile, fans favorite George Borg had been suspended by the Club for kicking out at an opponent in a midweek friendly with Woking. Borg was yellow carded for the incident but the Club deemed it necessary to extend this to a ban of their own.

The tie, on a bright but cool day in Eastwood, saw the home side choose to play up the slope in the first-half and Wycombe took advantage in the 22nd minute when Bobby Dell's corner found Vircavs who headed into space for Terry Glynn to turn and shoot inside the right-hand post. Wycombe went on to create more chances but were unable to increase the lead before the interval.

Bobby Dell drags his penalty wide at Eastwood v Wycombe - October 1983 - picture

Town came out in the second-half with real purpose resulting in Kim Walter's crashing a powerful header against the crossbar four minutes after the restart. Five minutes later Eastwood were level when Paul Fletcher tried his luck from 25 yards. The initial shot hit the underside of the crossbar, came down, hit Lester on the shoulder and then over the line, much to the pleasure of the home support. But it was Wycombe who reacted positively to the goal and within three minutes had been awarded a penalty after Ken Wilson had been brought down by Steve Johnson. Dell stepped up to take the kick but to the dismay of the Wanderers followers, sent his kick two foot wide of the right hand upright.

Ken Wilson - scorer of Wanderers' second goal at Eastwood v Wycombe - October 1983 - picture miss could have been crucial but on 59 minutes Wycombe were ahead again after Wilson picked up possession about 40 yards from goal and then made a diagonal run towards goal before angling in a left shot to beat Shaw in the Eastwood goal. Now it was the home side's turn to apply the pressure, with Wanderers' midfield hardly getting a touch for the remainder of the game. However, with Vircavs dominant in defence, it looked like Wanderers had done enough to see Wycombe through. Then, as the game entered stoppage time, Graham Collier curled a corner from the left into the Wycombe goalmouth. Lester came to collect but to the horro of the Wycombe contingent, he dropped the ball and Mick Buxton managed to force the ball over the line in a goalmouth melee to level the scores at 2-2. There was barely time for Wycombe to restart the game, so it was on to a replay at Loakes Park the following Tuesday. Full-time Eastwood 2 Wycombe 2

Eastwood Team: K Shaw, J Eaton, S Johnson, K Walters, G Wright, N Lovell, G Collier, P Fletcher, M Wright (sub 70 P Cooper), M Buxton, R Cutt
Wycombe Team: Gary Lester, Trevor How, Mark Hill, Andy Harman, Anton Vircavs, Bobby Dell, Jimmy Jacobs, Steve Perrin, Terry Glynn, Steve Long, Ken Wilson (sub 89 Paul West)
Attendance: 800
Wycombe Wanderers v Eastwood Town
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round replay
Tuesday 1st November 1983
The replay lacked the drama of the first meeting although it proved to be another nervy game for Wycombe followers in the 985 crowd - Wanderers biggest of the season. The winners knew that the reward for victory was a First Round trip to Chelmsford City and like most replays the opening stages were played out with precaution by both sides. It was Wanderers who eventually broke the deadlock on 30 minutes when Andy Harman's shot following a corner was blocked but Steve Long followed up to convert. Four minutes later it looked like 'game over' when another corner delivered from the left by Ken Wilson was met with a powerful header by Anton Vircavs to make the score 2-0 to Wycombe.

The score remained unchanged until the break with Wanderers looking comfortable and Wilson going close on two occasions to extending the lead. But Wanderers seemed to sit on the lead following the interval. Moments after the restart Gary Lester made amends for his blunder in the first game when he made a reaction save to tip over a fierce header from former Blackburn Rovers defender Kim Walters. In a second-half performance described after the game as 'terrible' by Manager Mike Keen, Vircavs again dominated in the defence for Wycombe but with fifteen minutes remaining Town were given a lifeline when Steve Perrin brought down Neil Lovell in the Wycombe box and Steve Johnson converted the resulting spot-kick to reduce the defict to one goal.

Walters then went close again for the visitors as they pressed for an equaliser but with some Wycombe fans chanting the name of the suspended George Borg, Wanderers hung on to claim their place in the First Round proper where they would eventually lose to Chelmsford after a replay at Loakes Park.
Full-time Wycombe 2 Eastwood 1

Wycombe Team: Gary Lester, Trevor How, Mark Hill, Andy Harman, Anton Vircavs, Bobby Dell, Jimmy Jacobs, Steve Perrin, Terry Glynn (sub 85 Steve Thorne), Steve Long, Ken Wilson
Eastwood Team: K Shaw, J Eaton, S Johnson, K Walters, G Wright, N Lovell, G Collier, P Fletcher, M Wright (sub 70 P Cooper), M Buxton, R Cutt
Attendance: 985
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