|January 1997 Reports
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Wed 8th Jan 1997 - Swansea 1 Wycombe 1 - AutoWindscreens
Sat 11th Jan 1997 - Wycombe v Peterborough - Division Two - abandoned
Sat 18th Jan 1997 - Rotherham 2 Wycombe 1 - Division Two
Sat 25th Jan 1997 - Wycombe 3 York City 1 - Division Two
Sat 5th Jan 1997 - Wycombe 0 Bradford City 2 - FA Cup Third Round
Saturday 25th January 1997
Football League Division Two
WYCOMBE 3 YORK CITY 1
The yo-yo emotions continued for Wycombe fans on Saturday as Paul Read marked his home debut with 2 goals to help his new team to a 3-1 victory over fellow strugglers York City. Wycombe may have played better and lost this season but this is about survival and against a side with similar problems to Wycombe the three points were a necessity.
John Gregory stuck with the same side that had performed so badly at Rotherham the week before and saw them take the lead with their first serious attack - a high ball from the right from Cousins being met by Paul READ whose return header looped over Tim Clarke in the York goal - that will do nicely. Read tokk less than 2 games to open his account, meanwhile Neil Davis continued his bleak spell (he hasn't scored in 14 appearances for Wycombe), when after 16 minutes he took the ball from midfield, beat a defender and then saw his shot well blocked by Clarke. York, sensing Wycombe's lack of confidence, began to press themselves. On 23 minutes Mickey Bell was forced to turn a left wing corner away, then 4 minutes later Neil Campbell saw a header tipped around the post following another move on the left. From the resulting corner Alan Pouton pulled the trigger from 25 yards but his effort went high and wide, as he did his best impression of a Wycombe forward. Pouton had another effort go wide on 29 minutes - this time Cheesewright turning the ball around the post for another corner as McCarthy, Kavanagh and Co did there best to cause heart failures in the Wycombe crowd.
Half-time Wycombe 1 York 0
The Wycombe forward line began to show a glimmer of understanding as the second-half progressed. On 52 minutes Bell crossed from the right, Carroll hooked the ball back, Read swivelled and shot but Davis couldn't snap up the loose ball. 2 minutes later, however, Wycombe increased their lead as the ball broke to Carroll out on the right - he delivered and Michael FORSYTH was on hand to slide the ball home from 6 yards in front of a delighted Valley End. That goal should have sealed the game, but as Wycombe closed ranks York gained confidence, culminating in Neil CAMPBELL heading home from 10 yards in the 72nd minute after a left wing cross. Terry Evans replaced McCarthy on 76 minutes and broke his own personel record by getting booked within 30 seconds for a foul on the goalscorer. Evans and Wycombe nearly paid dearly for his rash challenge when Nigel Pepper sent in a low drive from the resulting move - luckily for Wycombe it flashed by Cheesewright's left hand upright. As York seeked the equalser, the chances opened for Wycombe but another unhappy day for Davis's was summed up in the 79th minute when he mis-controlled badly 25 yards in front of goal - a minute later Gregory had sent DeSouza on in his place with most of the crowd contemplating if the Manager will sign the Villa player or not. Within a minute of DeSouza's introduction he combined with Read but an off-form McGavin failed to control from inside the box. York never threatened again and it was left for READ to take the cheers in the final minute when he showed how it should be done in front of goal. Finding himself through on the 'keeper, he beat the 'keeper (yes it can be done) and slotted the ball home from just inside the box - game over - 3 points - thank-you very much. Read's reward for scoring was to be substituted as Gregory gave the crowd the chance to thank their new hero.
Could this be the turning point? Have we found someone who can score goals? Well let's not get too excited yet. This is how the bottom of the table looks now.
Team Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Points York City 27 8 6 13 28 42 30 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Peterborough United 27 6 11 10 39 45 29 Wycombe Wanderers 27 7 5 15 26 41 26 Notts County 27 5 9 13 20 33 24 Rotherham United 27 4 9 14 24 42 21
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, McCarthy (sub 76 Evans), Forsyth, Carroll, Davis (sub 80 Desouza), Read (sub 90 Lawrence), McGavin, Simpson. subs not used:Evans, DeSouza and Lawrence Att:4,193
Saturday 18th January 1997
Football League Division Two
ROTHERHAM 2 WYCOMBE 1
John Gregory was left with a major headache on Saturday night after his team turned in their most uninspired performance under his guidance. The fact it came against fellow strugglers Rotherham made it all the more hard to swallow. New boy Paul Read, signed from Arsenal in midweek, made his debut in a Wycombe shirt, but after showing early promise, saw little of the ball in a frustrating afternoon for the Wycombe fans.
Wycombe began brightly enough and created what turned out to be the best move of the game after only 11 minutes - a series of cross field passes ending with Cousins and Carroll combining on the right, with the latter floating in a ball that Davis nodded onto the far post. That move was breathtaking but 6 minutes later Wycombe were behind after Forysth upended Glover in the Wycombe box, Shaun GOODWIN struck the resulting penalty down the middle and Cheesewright obliged by moving to his right. It was a bitter blow for Wycombe as both sides continued to show their lack of form in front of goal. Neil Davis did have the ball in the net after 19 minutes but he was flagged early for offside as he raced through but it wasn't until 6 minutes before the break that Wycombe threatened again - Read coming in from the left side of the box before striking poorly into the side netting.
Half-time Rotherham 1 Wycombe 0
The second-half followed a similar pattern with Steve Cherry in the Rotherham goal rarely being forced into a save. An exception came after 51 minutes when Steve McGavin saw a long range effort tipped over after Davis had provided from the right. Rotherham should have increased their lead, however, on 56 minutes when Andy Roscoe broke through from midfield but Forsyth made a last ditch challenge to protect Cheesewright. More fines for long range efforts will be dished out to McGavin as he tried his luck after 69 minutes and moments later Forysth tried to make amends for his first half rush of blood when he fired in from close to 30 yards but to no effect. 2 minutes later, however, Wycombe committed defensive suicide when a Rotherham free-kick was sent in from the left by Ian Breckin, Brain Gayle headed down and as Cheesewright and McCarthy delayed, Lee GLOVER took his chance well from the edge of the 6 yard box. The goal was the end for Wycombe who never looked like scoring after this point. Cherry was briefly awoken from his slumber on 80 minutes when McGavin crossed low from the left bye-line for Davis to strike - but the 'keeper picked the ball up comfortably. Michael Simpson was lucky to stay on the field with 5 minutes left on the clock after a flying challenge on Paul Hurst - perhaps the ref felt sorry for Wycombe? The 300 or so Wycombe fans who made the trip North were given the smallest of consolations two minutes into injury time when Davis was tripped in the box by Darren Garner - Dave CARROLL made the penalty look easy but even the introduction of big Tel as centre forward couldn't save the day for Wycombe.
After this result the bottom of the table does not make pleasant reading if you are a Wycombe fan. The team seemed to play without pride and passion - quite simply this just wasn't good enough against a side who were there for the taking. Division Three beckons I'm sorry to say unless the players starting performing as a unit.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh (sub 91 Evans), McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Davis, Read, McGavin, Simpson. subs not used:DeSouza and Lawrence Att:2,692
Saturday 11th January 1997
Football League Division Two
WYCOMBE v PETERBOROUGH
Abandoned 63 minutes due to frost - Wycombe leading 2-0
Have you ever had the feeling that you've been cheated?. Wycombe fans and players had every reason to give an ear bending "YES" after Saturday's encounter with Peterborough was abandoned after 63 minutes due to frost. Wycombe were leading 2-0 when referee Frazer Stretton called a halt to the proceedings and while the Wycombe players had to be restrained from the referee, the Peterborough players and supporters celebrated like they had won a trophy. Posh boss, Barry Fry, and his entourage were also given a verbal assault as they left Adams Park by a small group of Wycombe fans disgruntled that Peterborough had played a big part in swaying the referee's decision - with the Posh players doing their best impressions of holiday on ice after they had come out trailing 2-0 at half-time.
Referee Stretton had passed the pitch fit at 10.30 on Saturday morning against the wishes of Wycombe Manager John Gregory who had seen his side lose 2-0 to Walsall on Boxing Day under similar circumstances. However, by 3.00pm the weather had improved considerably and having starting the game the official should have been obliged to finish the 90 minutes. To abandon the game after so long was, basically, a con of the highest order to all those who paid to see the game and who will have to pay again to see the re-arranged game.
More importantly for Wycombe, it was a chance missed to pull back three vital points on their relegation rivals. The Wycombe side saw loan players Neil Davis and Michael Simpson return after their inforced lay-offs due to the FA Cup but there was no place in the side for out of favour John Williams who was rumoured to have joined Northampton Town on loan. It was fellow striker, Miguel DeSouza, however, who created the first excitement of the day when he sped off on a right wing run that ended with Simpson just missing the vital touch in front of goal. 3 minutes later Steve McGavin won the ball in midfield before advancing down the right and crossing for Simpson to connect first time and force a top corner save from Posh 'keeper Bart Griemink. Peterborough responded with an attempted left wing lob on Cheesewright after 24 minutes but the Wycombe 'keeper recovered to claw the ball back off the line. Wycombe took the lead on 27 minutes when Desouza saw his initial shot from inside the box blocked but he was on hand to tuck in the loose ball. Jason Cousins could have increased the lead on 30 minutes when he tried to be too precise from a Bell cross but Peterborough forced the play in the latter stages of the first half with Carruthers and Charlery combining on 40 minutes before the latter shot wide - then 2 minutes later Scott Houghton latched onto a Cheesewright chested clearance that the Wycombe 'keeper was glad to see end back in his grasp. Wycombe increased their lead on the stroke of half-time when Desouza made another right wing run and after Cousins had saw his cross cleared, Bell sent in a looping shot from the left side that hit the bar but McGavin was there to pick up the pieces at the far post and stick the ball in the net from a narrow angle.
Half-time Wycombe 2 Peterborough 0
Mr Stretton's decision on 63 minutes was greeted with howls and booing from the Wycombe fans and followed a brief spell of Peterborough pressure where sub Louie Donowa had gone close. It also followed a period where the Posh players seemed to take every opportunity to fall over and call for treatement from their Physio. Peterborough can certainly expect a hot reception for the replayed game as will Mr Stretton should he ever return to Adams Park. John Gregory, like his players, was fuming after the game and 'joked' on Sky TV the following day that "If I had a gun I would have shot him". On a more serious note, the biggest criticism of referees is their lack of consistency. Over the last two weeks Wycombe fans have seen this proved in decisions that may ultimately cost Wycombe's Division 2 survival.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Davis, DeSouza, McGavin, Simpson. subs not used:Evans, Lawrence, McGorry Att:3,988
Wednesday 8th January 1997
SWANSEA 1 WYCOMBE 1
After extra-time - lost 5-6 on penalties
Wycombe lost out in a dramtic penalty shoot out at an icey Vetch Field in the AutoWindscreens Trophy. Miguel Desouza was the 'Gareth Southgate' of the evening when he missed his spot kit after both sides had taken 7 apiece - Neil Davis also missing his kick to continue his nightmare form in front of goal. In the match itself David THOMAS gave the home side a 66th minute lead when he latched onto a long clearance by Roger Freestone, sending a 20 yard shot dipping over Cheesewright. Wycombe equalised after John Gregory had made a triple substitution on 70 minutes, Brian McGORRY, playing his first game of the season, leveling the scores 3 minutes later after he connected with a right wing cross from Steve McGavin. With no more goals the tie went into a 'Golden Goal' extra-time period and again with neither side able to add to the score in the additional 30 minutes, it was left to the dreaded penalties to settle the issue.
Penalty shoot out went as follows:
Sunday 5th January 1997 WYCOMBE 0 BRADFORD 2 - FA Cup 3rd Round
See our special review for details of this game
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Williams (sub 61 Farrell), DeSouza, McGavin, Brown (sub 72 Evans). sub not used:Harkin Att:5,173
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