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April 1997 Reports
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Sat 5th April 1997 - WYCOMBE 1 Blackpool 0 - Division Two
Tue 8th April 1997 - Luton 0 WYCOMBE 0 - Division Two
Sat 12th April 1997 - Notts County 1 WYCOMBE 2 - Division Two
Tue 15th April 1997 - WYCOMBE 5 Burnley 0 - Division Two
Sat 19th April 1997 - WYCOMBE 1 Bournemouth 0 - Division Two
Sat 26th April 1997 - Stockport 2 WYCOMBE 1 - Division Two
Saturday 26th April 1997
Football League Division Two

Despite the defeat at promotion chasing Stockport, Wycombe gained Division Two survival thanks to Preston's 2-0 victory at Shrewsbury. Wycombe trailed 2-0 at Edgeley Park when the news filtered through that Shaun Gregan had given Preston a 67th minute lead at Gay Meadow. Dave Carroll gave Wycombe a lifeline via penalty on 71 minutes and Stockport were made to sweat it out for the final minutes as Wycombe pressed for an equaliser urged on by a vocal 1,000 plus following in the near 10,000 crowd. In the end it didn't matter and Wycombe fans can now relax with safety guaranteed and just a last day party at home to Bristol City to enjoy.
Stockport's biggest crowd of the season saw the home side take the lead within the opening 3 minutes when a long throw from the right was neatly controlled by Alun ARMSTRONG who turned and slid the ball past Parkin. County continued to press, forcing a good block by Parkin, shortly followed by a floated effort that was deflected onto the top of the Wycombe bar. Keith Scott saw a hopeful looping header picked out by County 'keeper Paul Jones on 11 minutes but Wycombe were up against it for the majority of the opening stages. Steve Brown found himself in trouble again after another serious of needless fouls and back-chats, culminating in a 23rd minute booking. Jason Cousins also incensed the locals were his brand of 'hard but fair' challenges. Wycombe's worries were increased, however, after 30 minutes when another long throw from the right ended in the back of the Wycombe net via the head of Michael FORSYTH. The goal virtually made the remainder of the game irrelevant for Wycombe fans as earpieces were strained and mobile-phones tapped for the latest scores concerning Shrewsbury and York. On the pitch, however, Wycombe began to create chances. Forsyth saw a diving header well saved by Jones on 35 minutes after a Carroll free-kick and Keith Scott had snap chance parried away 4 minutes later. Stockport were limited to a free-kick effort from Lee Todd after Parkin carried the ball out his area on 41 minutes before Scott saw another chance on the break deflected wide following an excellent through ball from Stallard 2 minutes before the break. Tension increased further on the stroke of half-time when Cousins picked up an unlucky booking from Mr Robinson - the official being surrounded by Wycombe players as he brought to an end the first half.
Half-time Stockport 2 Wycombe 0
Terry Evans replaced Forsyth at half-time as Wycombe searched for a breakthough and he came the closest to scoring for Wycombe when he met a 64th minute corner by Bell - Jones palming the header over. But with Wycombe having no luck on the field, the best news came from off of it when with 21 minutes of the game left news spread that Preston had scored at Shrewsbury - cue pandemonium in the Wycombe section as the score was quickly confirmed, double and triple confirmed. Back on the pitch Bell crossed again from the left, Todd handled and Wycombe were awarded their third penalty in as many games - Dave CARROLL duely obliged by slotting home. Roared on by the happy travellers, Wycombe made the home side fight for every last ball before the final whistle. Substitute Paul Read went close when he connected with a long throw ball on 87 minutes and serious a goalmouth scrambles were greeted with massive cheers by the home fans as they were hacked the ball clear. A fierce drive by Mickey Bell in the dying moments was very nearly re-directed goalwards by Keith Scott but thankfully it didn't matter and both sets of supporters could celebrate at the final whistle.

Final Score Stockport 2 Wycombe 1
WYCOMBE TEAM: Parkin, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forsyth (sub H/T Evans), Carroll, Scott, Stallard, McGavin, Brown (sub 65 Read) Sub not used Cornforth Att:9,463

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Saturday 19th April 1997
Football League Division Two

After the Lord Mayor's show. etc, etc. It was always going to difficult to follow such a game but with Bournemouth in midtable and seemingly with nothing to play for, hope were high. As it turned out, all the other teams that could catch Wycombe lost and so the Wanderers are now just one point from safety in the survival battle. After a tame first half, Wycombe never really got going until the visitors had scored. Keith Scott's equaliser livened the crowd, however, and Wycombe could have ended all the worries if Scotty's header a few minutes later had found the net.
The danger signs for Wycombe were there as early as the 12th minute when Parkin was quick off his line to block a shot from Rob Murray after The Cherries has broke down the left. Michael Forsyth was also on hand to clear the danger with a diving header after the resulting ball was redirected towards the Wycombe goal. A scrappy opening culminated in an injured Steve Brown being substituted on 21 minutes but not before Brown had picked up yet another booking for a crude challenge. Brown's replacement, Michael Simpson, inspired Wycombe to create their first worthwhile effort on the Bournemouth goal - Steve McGavin nipping into the box on the left before the ball fell to Cousins on the edge of the area but his shot was wayward. Simpson himself was fouled on the edge of the Bournemouth box on 29 minutes but the deadball was wasted. Wycombe had to wait to 2 minutes before the break to force their first corner and after the visitors had failed to clear, Simpson picked up a quick throw from the left and sent in a shot that went fractionally wide of the goal after a neat back-flick.
Half-time 0-0
Wycombe fell behind three minutes into the second half when The Cherries forced a corner on the right, Parkin came, did an impression of David James and Matthew HOLLAND snapped at the chance to give the visitors the lead. It was the first League goal Wycombe had conceded at home since January - close to 700 minutes! Earlier in the season the goal may have killed off Wycombe but now it proved to be the inspiration as within 6 minutes Wycombe were level. The ball was played wide to Mickey Bell on the left, Bell advanced before sending in another pinpoint cross the the far post where Keith SCOTT bundled the ball and himself over the line to cheer the 6,000 plus crowd. Two minutes later Bell chipped in again from the left, Cousins returned and Russell Beardsmore had to be alert to head wide of his own goal. The move that could have won the game came in the 64th minute. Bell, again, created a chance on the left before sweeping a cross field pass to Cousins on the opposite wing. Cousins returned the ball high into the Bournemouth box where Scotty crashed a header against the post before the ball was cleared. Stallard was replaced by Read as Wycombe did their best to push for a winner but Ian Cox in The Cherries defence rarely put a foot wrong. Two late corners for the Wanderers failed to produce and so the agony goes on a little longer.

Final score Wycombe 1 Bournemouth 1
WYCOMBE TEAM: Parkin, Kavanagh, Bell, McCarthy, Evans, Forsyth, Carroll, Scott, Stallard (sub 72 Read), McGavin, Brown (sub 21 Simpson) Sub not used Farrell Att:6,043

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Tuesday 15th April 1997
Football League Division Two

After Saturdays victory at Notts County, Wycombe claimed their record Football League victory with a 5-0 thrashing of play-off hopefuls Burnley. An early Dave Carroll penalty set the Wanderers on their way and with three further goals in the first half Wycombe cruised to a memorable victory. Nights like this are rare but from the off Wycombe played with the sort of passion that had been missing earlier in the season. Dave Carroll was in superb form as was Keith Scott. Brian Parkin also defied his critics with a comfortable display in goal. With Plymouth losing to Notts County, Wycombe climb to 18th position in the table.
This was just one of those nights - similar to Stockport at home last season. From the kick-off Wycombe dominated the play. In the 2nd minute Carroll went wide of Russell in the Burnley goal but he just failed to hit the target from a narrow angle. A minute later Scott had a chance blocked as the crowd of just under 6,000 rose to the occasion. Wycombe got the breakthrough after 11 minutes when Mark Winstanley scythed Stallard in the box and after Scott and Carroll discussed who would take the spot kick - up stepped CARROLL to slot home to give Wycombe the vital lead. Scotty went close again on 18 minutes when he picked up a through ball from the left side of midfield but after semi-fooling the 'keeper, his chipped shot hit the post. Burnley's first serious assault on the Wycombe goal came a minute later but Mickey Bell did enough to put off Gary Parkinson's header after a left wing cross. Wycombe took total command of the game following another howler by Hoyland. This time the big defender inexplicably handled the ball in the area in a manner that even David Elleray might have seen. CARROLL strode up to place the ball past Russell and give Wycombe a 2-0 lead. Wycombe's third goal came following a run down the right side by Scotty - he centered and McGAVIN eventually put the ball away after Burnley failed to clear. The fourth goal was the pick of the bunch on 41 minutes. Mickey Bell picked up the ball deep in his own half and set off on a Guppy-esque run that culminated with a low ball into the Burnley area where STALLARD swivelled to shoot home to the 'keepers right. Scott nearly made it 5-0 three minutes before the break while in first half injury time Parkin was finally called upon to make a save - tipping over a long range effort.
Half-time Wycombe 4 Burnley 0
Wycombe took no risks in the second-half but Burnley rarely troubled the Wycombe defence. Parkin clung on to a fierce left wing drive on 51 minutes but top scorer Paul Barnes was totally snuffed out - the nearest he came was on 80 minutes when he ballooned a shot about 20 yards over the demoralised Burnley fans at the Hillbottom Road end. Wycombe could have added further goals, Brown went close after Scott had set him up from the left while Scott himself was destined not to score no matter what. Wycombe eventually completed a wonderful nights work with 8 minutes left. Mickey Bell chipped the ball to the far post and substitute Paul READ nodded home from close range at the Valley End to end a perfect night on the pitch. The large contingent of Burnley fans must have wondered they bothered, some even took to sumo wrestling to amuse themselves! For Wycombe fans it was easily the game of the season and one which makes survival just a few points away.

Final score Wycombe 5 (five) Burnley 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Parkin, Kavanagh, Bell, McCarthy, Evans, Forsyth, Carroll (sub 79 Simpson), Scott (sub 83 Farrell), Stallard, McGavin (sub 75 Read), Brown Att:5,786

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Saturday 12th April 1997
Football League Division Two

Wycombe achieved a massive boost to their survival chances by taking all three points from the visit to Meadow Lane. The result finally condemned County to their inevitable Third Division place but enabled Wycombe to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since October. The crucial goals came from Steve Brown and Steve McGavin. Brian Parkin returned in goal for the recalled Martin Taylor who was an unused sub in Derby's home victory against Aston Villa. Terry Evans partnered Paul McCarthy in the centre of defence with Jason Cousins sitting this game out due to suspension. Steve Brown put in a stirling display in midfield and 'Scotty' continued with his excellent workrate all around.
This was the away win that Wycombe fans had been waiting for - but how the nerves suffered! Wycombe got off to a dream start when Mark Stallard and County 'keeper Darren Ward both came for a long clearance in the first minute. The ball deflected to the left side where Scott missed the initial loose ball but Steve BROWN coolly curled the ball into the net from 35 yards as Ward and Baraclough scrambled back. Brown celebrated in style as he raced the full length of the pitch to beckon the acclaim of the travelling Blues fans but the relieved cheers had turned to groans within a minute or so. Phil Robinson broke down the County left side before feeding the ball to Baraclough, Wycombe then failed to clear at the near post and a half hit shot by Shaun DERRY bounced in off Parkin's left hand post. County's best spell of the game continued on 6 minutes when Baraclough saw an effort tipped over by Parkin, then on 14 minutes the same player pulled a shot wide with Parkin all at sea. Simpson replaced the struggling Kavanagh on 18 minutes and Wycombe began to regain their grip of the game. A Mickey Bell corner on 21 minutes was met by Terry Evans at the near post but County cleared, then on the half hour mark the all important second goal came. Dave Carroll weaved in from the right and crossed for Keith Scott to meet with an all but perfect header that hit the upright. Luckily Steve McGAVIN was on hand to smash the ball in from close range to restore Wycombe's lead. This time Wycombe managed to hang but not without a few scares. On 36 minutes Terry Evans misjudged a header in midfield and the ensuing scramble in the Wycombe goal ended with a desperate clearance into touch.
Half-time County 1 Wycombe 2
Parkin made a confidence boosting save a minute into the second half when he blocked an effort from the right, while a minute later County's Ian Hendon crashed the ball over following a free kick from the right. Wycombe's best chance to extend their lead came on 59 minutes when a cross from Mickey Bell wide on the left was met with a stooping low header by Scott only for Ward to make a superb save to his left as the ball bounced awkwardly up off the dry surface. From the resulting corner by Simpson, Evans saw a dipping header tipped over by Ward as Wycombe continued to look for a cushion. County, meanwhile, threw on Devon White and Gary Martindale up front in the 71st minute in a bid to seek another equaliser. Within a minute there was chaos in the Wycombe area as a high corner from the right caused panic but the ball was eventually cleared. But Wycombe held firm and the cheers and celebrations from the Wycombe fans and players said it all at the final whistle.

Full time County 1 Wycombe 2
Elsewhere the results went Wycombe's way as Shrewsbury lost at home to a late goal to Wrexham and York were thumped 4-0 at Watford.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Parkin, Kavanagh (sub 18 Simpson), Bell, McCarthy, Evans, Forsyth, Carroll, Scott, Stallard (sub 74 Read), McGavin (sub 91 Cornforth), Brown Att:4,290

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Tuesday 8th April 1997
Football League Division Two

Wycombe held out for a point at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday night in a goalless encounter with promotion chasing Luton Town. A 1000+ Wycombe following saw Paul McCarthy return in the centre of the defence for the suspended Terry Evans. Steve Brown and Dave Carroll replaced Cornforth and Simpson in midfield while Paul Read was named as sub. The Wanderers were under the cosh for most of the game but with McCarthy putting in a fine performance in a five man Wycombe defence, the home side remained frustrated. Wycombe could even have snatched the points late but for a fine save from the Luton 'keeper.
It was the home side that created the first opening as they set the pattern of play for the majority of the game - David Oldfield seeing a low shot from the right flash past Taylor's right hand upright on 12 minutes. 2 minutes later Kavanagh just managed to hook the ball away from the ever dangerous Tony Thorpe. On 22 minutes a free kick from out on the Luton left by Alexander flew across the face of the Wycombe goal but thankfully it went for a goal-kick on the opposite side. Wycombe's first real attack came on 28 minutes following a left wing corner from Mickey Bell - the deep ball being headed clear and straight into the path of Brown, who ballooned the chance high and wide into the home end. Thorpe caused more problems on 32 minutes when he made an angled run towards the right side of goal but Forsyth did enough to block the effort. 2 minutes later Luton had the ball in the back of the Wycombe net but the referee spotted a clear hand ball by Thorpe as he approached from the left - no real complaints from the Luton players and certainly none by Wycombe and their fans. Thorpe saw another 'goal' ruled out on 37 minutes, this time for offside and the linesman close to the Luton fans in the main stand won even fewer friends amongst the locals when he failed to award a handball against Dave Carroll in the Wycombe area. Wycombe survived the intense home pressure and went in level at half-time.
Half-time 0-0
Wycombe came a little more into the game in the second-half although it was Luton who were first to show again. After just 3 minutes a close range header following a corner from the right was well held by Taylor on the line. Wycombe had a rare attack after 51 minutes when a massive clearance by Taylor was picked up by Keith Scott out on the right but having made one touch he blazed the chance over the bar. It was the Wycombe fans turn to claim for a penalty on 67 minutes, when James handled following a left wing cross by Bell after Read had set the chance up but the ref laughed the appeals away again. Taylor made another excellent save on 75 minutes when he blocked a powerful effort by Oldfield following a low cross from the left, as Luton pushed for their needed three points. But it was Wycombe who finished the more confident side. On 80 minutes a deep cross from the right by McGavin was flicked away at the far post by James as Scotty closed in in. Wycombe's glorious chance to steal all three points came with just 5 minutes left when Read got away on the left, dinked the ball over the head of James and volleyed first time at goal only to see Ian Feuer palm the ball away for a thrown-in. Wycombe played out the remaining minutes to take a vital point in the relegation battle.

Final Score Luton 0 Wycombe 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Scott, Stallard (sub 62 Read), McGavin, Brown subs not used Farrell and Skiverton Att:7,626

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Saturday 5th April 1997
Football League Division Two

A 65th minute header from Keith Scott settled a tense encounter with Blackpool at Adams Park. Wycombe failed to impress until the second half introduction of Dave Carroll and Steve Brown. The goal settled the Wanderers nerves and they hung on for three vital points that makes the situation at the bottom of the table very tight.
Why was Dave Carroll sitting on the bench and John Cornforth playing? This was the common question travelling around Adams Park on Saturday as Wycombe struggled to make any impression on 11th placed Blackpool. It took 29 minutes for Wycombe to create an opening when Steve McGavin, starting his first game since Millwall away, took the ball to the left hand bye-line before playing a short ball back for Simpson whose side foot was blocked by Banks in the Blackpool goal. The nervous start was compounded 2 minutes later when a 30 yard dipping shot from Michael Mellon was expertly clawed over the bar by Martin Taylor in the Wycombe goal. From the resulting corner the loan 'keeper earnt more plaudits when he gathered a close range overhead kick by Andy Preece. A restless home crowd saw Wycombe go in all square at half-time.
Half-time 0-0
With Wycombe kicking towards the Valley End in the second-half it was the introduction of Carroll and Brown that ultimately swung the game. The 56th minute double substitution was quickly followed by a left wing run by Brown whose over hit centre was picked up by Jason Cousins whose hopeful shot was deflected wide for a corner on the left. The all important massive breakthrough for Wycombe came on 65 minutes, seconds after Blackpool had made their own substitutions. Dave Carroll floated in a free-kick from the right side and Keith SCOTT rose salmon like to direct a powerful header past Banks. You could feel the tension lift as Wycombe began to look more confident coming forward. On 80 minutes Scott made a powerful run down the left ending with a good block by Banks as Carroll closed in for seconds but without success. The tension returned in the dying stages as Wycombe held on but they should have sealed the game in the final minute. Again Scott centered from the left for Brown to try his luck but when his blocked shot fell in the path of Mark Stallard, the striker hesitated too long and the chance went begging. In injury time Scott set up Carroll but Banks blocked again but Wycombe had already earnt three deserved points in the fight to avoid the dreaded drop. Stallard and Linighan were both booked after the final whistle for a fracas in the centre circle as Blackpool saw their outside chance of play-off place all but disappear.

Final score Wycombe 1 Blackpool 0
Elsewhere Shrewsbury drew 0-0 at Brentford, Peterborough won 3-1 at home to Bournemouth with Miguel DeSouza getting the winning goal in the 72nd minute, York City lost at home to Notts County and Rotherham lost 3-0 at home to Luton.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, Evans, Forsyth, McGavin (sub 74 McCarthy), Scott, Stallard, Cornforth (sub 56 Brown), Simpson (sub 56 Carroll) Att:5,619

All match reports © 1997 Chairboys on the Net
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