Lincoln v Wycombe
a special report by

Chairboys on the Net
This will go down as was the most nerve-racking days in the lives of Wycombe fans. Victory at Sincil Bank on the last day of the season would guarantee safety, a draw and Northampton and Oldham would have to slip up. Defeat would give Lincoln a chance of staying up. With less than ten minutes remaining and the game still goalless, news was filtering through that Oldham and Northampton were both winning - this was do or die time. Read on if you dare!
Saturday 8th May 1999 - Division Two

Paul Emblen the goal hero at Lincoln - now part of Wycombe folklore - Picture with kind permission of Paul Dennis Wycombe went into the game at Sincil Bank with their strongest squad for weeks - only Paul McCarthy failed a fitness test and Jermaine McSporran was persuaded at the last moment to travel up with the team on Friday afternoon. Andy Baird returned to the starting line-up after missing the crucial mid-week victory over Wigan. Significantly Steve Brown was sitting on the bench ready to do his part after returning from suspension and injury.
Kicking towards the 2,500 plus travelling Blue Army and with a fierce swirling wind behind them, Wycombe had the better of the earlier exchanges. Wycombe forced the first corner of the game on 7 minutes. Dave Carroll swung the ball in from the right and Baird should have been target with a power header at the near post. Carroll was standing out as the play-maker in midfield and he saw a 20 yard shot saved with reasonable ease by John Vaughan in the Imps goal after 13 minutes. The home side responded within a minute with their first corner but even with the aid of an air raid siren, Lee Thorpe's attempted overhead kick went well wide. At the other end Wycombe forced another corner on 17 minutes, this time from the left, but Micky Forsyth's shot was deflected over. The Wanderers best chance of the half came on 21 minutes. Chris Vinnicombe played a one two with Carroll from a throw-in on the left before delivering a deep cross to the far post. Sean Devine rose to head the ball back across the face of the goal but Andy Baird could only hold his head after putting his header over the bar from just six yards. The miss increased the tension on the terraces as news from the other games started to come through. Martin Taylor caught a corner with ease on 32 minutes as Lincoln offered a token attack. Wycombe had a purple patch in the five minutes leading up to the break. First a dipping half-volley from Carroll went just a yard over the bar after Carroll, Vinnicombe, Baird and Ryan had combined on the left. Two minutes before the break Wycombe had a strong claim for handball turned down when after yet another Carroll corner, Lincoln defender Kevin Austin cleared straight onto the arm of The Imps No.9 Paul Miller. The Wycombe fans claimed on mass but referee Gurnam Singh waved away the ferocious claims of the Wycombe players. There was still time for Matt Lawrence to miss-cue an effort before Mr Singh brought the half to a close.
Half-time City 0 Wycombe 0
Wycombe were now kicking against the wind and as the chances began to decrease, the nail-biting on the terraces increased. Wycombe fans may have thought it was going to be one of those days six minutes into the second-half. Carroll sent in a free-kick from the left, Paul Emblen did brilliantly to head back at the far post and 'Bruce' stabbed the ball towards the Lincoln goal only for Stuart Bimson to make a last gasp clearance against the corner of his own post and crossbar before the ball was cleared. Lincoln had their best spell of the game around the hour mark but Taylor held onto the crosses ahead of the Imp front-line. With the home fans sensing that even a win for their team wouldn't guarantee safety, they turned their attentions to taunting the Wycombe fans with chants of 'going down'. But Wycombe and Lawrie Sanchez had a few more cards to play yet. On 72 minutes Brown and McSporran were thrown into the fray, with initially Emblen's number being held up as one of the replacements but it was quickly corrected by Terry Evans as Baird and Simpson were taken off to give Wycombe a three man attack. Two minutes later Emblen sent in a good cross from the right that Devine missed by a fraction at the far post. It was getting desperate now. McSporran was causing all sorts of problems with his pace down the right but the taunts from the home fans increased as the vital goal looked like it would never come. Then on 83 minutes after a flurry of exchanges in midfield, Emblen played a short ball to Brown. Brownie flicked the ball to the left side of goal to Sean Devine who put a deft cross that Emblen met with style to send a flicked looping header into the far corner of the Lincoln net. Cue absolute pleasure overload on the Wycombe terrace at the other end of the ground. The celebrations were quite insane, yet totally justified. Just about every bit of pent up frustration was released in those few moments - a few Wycombe fans spilled onto the pitch and some of the locals weren't amused but it remained under relative control. Words can't describe the tension in the remaining seven minutes plus two minutes injury time - let's just say that relatively normal people turned to gibbering wrecks, screaming at the ref, taking infinite checks of their watches, shaking with nerves, not being able to watch , or all of those. For those who could bear to watch apparently Lincoln had a couple of chances before Mr Singh signalled that 'The Mission Impossible' was complete and the real celebrating could begin. A few hot heads clashed at the end but in the main the vast majority of Lincoln fans came to congratulate their Wycombe counterparts. Quite an unbelievable ending that confirms that 'King' Lawrie Sanchez and Paul 'Trigger' Emblen are written into Wycombe folklore forever.
Final Score Lincoln City 0 Wycombe 1
THE HEROES IN BLUE:Taylor, Lawrence, Vinnicombe, Forsyth, Bates, Ryan, Carroll, Simpson (sub 72 Brown), Emblen, Devine, Baird (sub 72 McSporran) sub not used Westhead
CITY TEAM:Vaughan, Barnett, Bimson, Phillips (sub 73 Fleming), Holmes, Austin, Thorpe, Finnigan, Miller (sub 79 Walling), Gordon, Philpott. Att: 8,145 (Lincoln's biggest League gate of the season)
Match report © 1999 Chairboys on the Net - Not to be reproduced without our permission.

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