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March 1997 Reports
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Sat 1st March 1997 - Millwall 2 WYCOMBE 1 - Division Two
Tue 4th March 1997 - Brentford 0 WYCOMBE 0 - Division Two
Sat 8th March 1997 - WYCOMBE 2 Bristol Rovers 2 - Division Two
Tue 11th March 1997 - Slough 2 WYCOMBE 3 - Berks and Bucks
Sat 15th March 1997 - Chesterfield 4 WYCOMBE 2 - Division Two
Sat 22nd March 1997 - Gillingham 1 WYCOMBE 0 - Division Two
Sat 29th March 1997 - WYCOMBE 3 Shrewsbury 0 - Division Two
Mon 31st March 1997 - Bury 2 WYCOMBE 0 - Division Two
Monday 31st March 1997
Football League Division Two

Despite a bright opening spell, Wycombe finally gave way to League leaders Bury on Easter Monday going down by 2 goals to nil. Wycombe never recovered after falling behind in the 59th minute with the home side confirming victory 6 minutes before time. Wycombe never seriously threatened the mean Bury defence who registered their 6th consecutive home clean sheet and also extended their home unbeaten run to 12 months.
Bury's third highest League gate of the season were silenced by Wycombe's opening spell that contained the home side rather than troubled it. A noisey Wycombe following saw Terry Evans bundle home a Keith Scott flick on from a corner after only a couple of minutes but there were no complaints when the referee gave the foul against Wycombe. Bury forced a series of corner but Taylor in the Wycombe goal continued his safe handling. On 17 minutes Simpson set up Scott on the right side of the Bury area but the big striker saw his effort blocked. Simpson created a chance for himself after 34 minutes but his curling effort from outside of the area was easily picked out by Keily in the Bury goal. A major scare for Wycombe fans came shortly before the break when Scotty was stretchered off after an awkward fall - Wycombe continued with 10 men but thankfully Scott made his return just before the half-time whistle and survived the rest of the game.
Half-time 0-0
Bury turned the screw in the second half and Wycombe failed to respond. Ex-Runcorn and Barnet striker, Mark Carter was introduced just 11 minutes after the restart as the home side sought the three points. They were rewarded after 59 minutes when a free-kick deep in the Bury half was controlled by Nick DAWS about 30 yards from goal - he then worked his way forward before unleashing a low dipping shot past Taylor's left hand side. The goal gave the home side confidence and Evans, Simpson and Kavanagh were all booked as they struggled to contain the home attack - Adrian Randall being the subject of several rash challenges. Without Carroll in midfield, Wycombe lacked craft with Steve Brown the culprit on more than one occasion of misplacing a pass. Keith Scott put in good work at the back trying to keep Carter at bay - the latter finally losing his marker before driving a shot just over on 75 minutes. The welcome return of Steve McGavin came on 71 minutes when he replaced Cornforth - the ex-Swansea player putting in another uninspired performance in midfield. McGavin, Bell and Scott showed some potential for future games but Bury wrapped up the game with 6 minutes remaining. Substitute Andy Scott sent in a free-kick deep to Taylor's left hand post and Paul BUTLER rose and looped a header over the loan 'keeper. Bury retained a clean sheet despite some token late Wycombe pressure - the best effort coming on the stroke of full-time when Bell skipped the ball to the left side of goal before passing square to Simpson who flicked the ball across the goal for Scott to glance goalwards and force an excellent save from Keily
Another disappointing away display but a result that was not too unexpected. Elsewhere Peterborough drew at Notts County, while Rotherham were hammered 4-1 at Blackpool.

Final Score Bury 2 Wycombe 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, Evans, Forsyth, Brown, Scott, Stallard, Cornforth (sub 71 McGavin), Simpson Subs not used: Carroll and McCarthy Att:5,714

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Saturday 29th March 1997
Football League Division Two

Keith Scott took just 14 minutes to re-open his goal account for Wycombe and set the Wanderers on path for a comfortable victory over free-falling Shrewsbury Town. This was a game Wycombe simply had to take all three points and with the return of the Prodigal Son the result was very rarely in doubt. Gregory also gave fellow loan signing Martin Taylor his chance in goal and he returned a comfortable looking performance between the sticks.
A 6,500 plus crowd gathered at a sunny Adams Park for the latest installment in Wycombe's eventful season. Wycombe dominated the opening 10 minutes with loan 'keeper Taylor being a mere spectator. The breakthrough for the Wanderers came on 11 minutes when Jason Cousins took up position in row 4 of the Family Stand and unwound a throw into the centre of the Shrewsbury goal - cue Keith SCOTT, cue wild celebrations as the big lad headed home at the second attempt at the far post. Shrewsbury responded with their best spell of the game. On 17 minutes Michael Brown nipped in from the left wing and flicked in a shot that hit the opposite hand post and 3 minutes later Martin Taylor earnt the respect of the Wycombe fans as he did superbly well to palm away a Dean Spink effort. Shrewsbury's Mark Taylor cleared from a corner by his own side minutes later and the visitor's attacking spree ended on 27 minutes when a 35 yard effort from Paul Evans was comfortably held by Taylor in the Wycombe goal. Wycombe regained their grip on the game by finishing the half the stronger side - Simpson having a snap shot saved by Edwards on 31 minutes - Evans heading just wide minutes later and Scotty continuing to be menace in front of goal.
Half-time Wycombe 1 Shrewsbury 0
Mark STALLARD confirmed the three points for Wycombe 3 minutes into the second-half after Simpson had stolen the ball from Mark Taylor in midfield before flicking the ball to Stallard. The ex-Bradford striker powered into the area and after seeing his initial shot saved by the leg of Edwards, followed in to thump the ball home with his right foot from a dozen yards. At 2-0 Wycombe were cruising but they had Taylor thank on 66 minutes when he made a brilliant save by tipping over Dave Walton's header. The save proved vital as within 60 seconds Wycombe were 3-0 up when Scotty burst through, Edwards blocked again and CARROLL was on hand to wrap the chance up in goal reminiscent of the O'Neill days. The welcome return of Steve McGavin came on 69 minutes as Wycombe went close to adding to the scoreline. Peter Whiston was unlucky to be sent off for the visitors on 79 minutes when he brought down Scott as he made his way to goal but it's easy to feel sorry when you're winning. Wycombe very nearly added to the scoreline after McGavin picked up the ball on the half-way line with 5 minutes left. McGavin fed Mickey Bell who took the ball around Edwards only to see the chance cleared off the line - McGavin then returned the loose ball for Stallard to head narrowly over. Wycombe totally dominated the closing stages as they registered their biggest win of the season.

Final Score Wycombe 3 Shrewsbury 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, Evans, Forsyth (sub 81 McCarthy), Carroll (sub 69 McGavin), Scott, Stallard, Cornforth (sub 77 Brown), Simpson Att:6,562

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Saturday 22nd March 1997
Football League Division Two

A misunderstanding five minutes from time between Terry Evans and Wycombe 'keeper Brian Parkin let Gillingham take all three points from this game at the Priestfield Stadium. Parkin had earlier made two fine blocks to deny an otherwise tame Gillingham strike force but will have nitemare's about this goal. Wycombe's own chances were minimal - the best effort coming in the second-half when Stallard went close with a drive after Mickey Bell had centered from the left. Again other results on the same day helped the situation but the lack of creation up front coupled with a defence that can suddenly enter into a coma, will mean a lot more nail-biting before the end of the season. Wycombe remain 4 places off the bottom of the table but with Bristol Rovers winning against Preston on Sunday, Shrewsbury look to be the team to catch.
On a sunny afternoon at Gillingham, John Gregory replaced the suspended Steve Brown with the no longer suspended Michael Simpson. Paul McCarthy returned in the No.2 shirt - Jason Cousins the unlucky player to be demoted the bench as the defence was reshuffled to deal with Gillingham's long ball game. It was a plan that worked for the vast majority of the game with Steve Butler, Iffy Onuora and Ade Akinbiyi all being shut-out. Butler was eventually replaced by Dennis Bailey as the home side made a late and successful push for all three points.
Wycombe, playing in all red, began the brighter of the two sides. Bell created a chance from the left on 9 minutes that culminated in Forsyth driving over from the edge of the box. A minute later Mark Stallard found himself one-on-one with the 'keeper but his shot from 12 yards was blocked - on a better day he would have scored. The home side first began to show after 19 minutes when Simon Ratcliffe fired in from 20 yards after a ball in from the right - Parkin saving well to his left with both palms. Parkin had Michael Simpson to thank seven minutes later, however, when the midfielder headed off his own goalline after another Gillingham move on the right. Wycombe finished the half the stronger side though with Stallard pulling a cross narrowly wide on 38 minutes and two minutes later Stallard combined with Bell before the latter shot high and wide into the open terraces.
Half-time Gillingham 0 Wycombe 0
Wycombe had Parkin to thank again on 51 minutes when he made a great stop from a 12 yard Ade Akinbiyi shot on the Gillingham right. Wycombe eventually created their own chance on 64 minutes when the transfer listed DeSouza exchanged with Carroll on the right to force a corner. But Wycombe's best chance to take all three points came on 73 minutes when Mickey Bell came in from the left and Mark Stallard completed the move with a sweeping 20 yard left foot shot from a central position that was pushed wide for a corner. The game was heading for the inevitable 0-0 stalemate when Gregory replaced DeSouza with Farrell with 5 minutes left. But within 30 seconds Wycombe had blown it. Gillingham again knocked a hopeful ball into the left side of the Wycombe area and as Evans and Parkin both delayed the ball was bundled into the net by Iffy ONUORA. This was proverbial punch in the stomach for the large contingent of Wycombe fans who had made the journey to Kent. They say it's cruel at the bottom and don't we know it! There was no way back after this latest set-back only the hope that the other doom and gloom merchants had also dropped points.

Final Score Gillingham 1 Wycombe 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Parkin, McCarthy, Bell, Kavanagh, Evans, Forsyth, Carroll, DeSouza, Stallard, Cornforth, Simpson subs not used:Cousins and Skiverton Att:5,932

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Saturday 15th March 1997
Football League Division Two

Having lead 2-1 with a minute of the first-half remaining, Wycombe unceremoniously collapsed against the FA Cup semi-finalists. A scrambled goal on the stroke of the half-time may have been fortunate for the home side but there was no excuse for the second-half performance - Chesterfield adding 2 more goals and it could have been more. The only consolation was that the most of the other teams in the relegation also dropped points as Wycombe remain 4 places off the bottom of the table. John Gregory fielded an unchanged starting line-up to that which beat Bristol Rovers seven days earlier but they got off to the worst possible start. After only one minute Chesterfield won a corner on the right which was taken by Jamie Hewitt, Gary Lund headed on at the far post and Jonathan HOWARD steered the ball past Parkin from about 3 yards with his back to goal. Wycombe equalised within 4 minutes through another delightful goal by Mark Stallard. Brown made a through pass from midfield, DeSouza dummied to Mickey Bell out on the left and the defender crossed to the near post where STALLARD beat Lund to the ball to side foot home from 6 yards. Wycombe dominated the remainder of the half, although both teams struggled to get out of midfield. On 22 minutes Stallard, Bell and Brown combined with the latter seeing his shot tipped over by Mercer for a corner of the Wycombe left. Carroll delivered the deadball to the far post where Terry Evans sent a looping header back in. This was headed away by Gaughan but Steve BROWN placed the return header into the roof of the net to give Wycombe a 2-1 lead. If there was ever a case of staying ahead until half-time then this was it but as the seconds ticked away Hanson played the ball in short from the right corner, Morris beat Evans with a back-heel from inside the area, Curtis fired in, Parkin saved brilliantly, Howard headed in, Cousins blocked and finally Jamie HEWITT struck home the loose ball through a pile of players. A massive blow and one from which Wycombe never recovered.
Half-time Chesterfield 2 Wycombe 2
Chesterfield started the second-half firing on all cylinders and Parkin made another good save on 49 minutes - tipping the ball over for a corner on the Chesterfield right. Mickey Bell had to clear the resulting move off the line at the far post. Chesterfield regained their lead on 54 minutes following a long throw from out on the right wing - Dave HANSON scoring with a spectacular over-head kick. Wycombe failed to react with any real passion. Dave Carroll had a half chance from 20 yards deflected wide for a corner on 64 minutes but Wycombe could have fallen further behind a minute later - Referee Mr West awarding a penalty to the home side after Kavanagh had pushed Hanson in front of the official. It was an incident you see week in week out without punishment - fortunately justice was done when Curtis screwed the spot-kick wide of Parkin's right hand post. Hanson took another dive on 77 minutes when Kavanagh breathed on him but this time the laughable claim for a penalty was waved away. The home side did complete the misery for Wycombe, however, when HOWARD meandered through from just inside the Wycombe half before striking home from the edge of the box with Evans and Forsyth left wanting.

Final Score Chesterfield 4 Wycombe 2
WYCOMBE TEAM: Parkin, Cousins (sub 76 Farrell), Bell, Kavanagh, Evans, Forsyth, Carroll, DeSouza, Stallard, Cornforth, Brown subs not used:McCarthy and Skiverton Att:4,354

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Tuesday 11th March 1997
Berks & Bucks Senior Cup

brief report thanks to Phil Ball
This was a surprisingly good game, helped a great deal by a very good playing surface, which is unusual for Slough. The Rebels fielded a strong team, whilst Wycombe fielded their Capital League side. A very close first half ended 0-0. Early in Second half a good cut in from wing-back Harkin, allowed McCARTHY to slide ball home. Soon after Slough equalised through Gary BRAZIL. With about 20 mins left Slough took the lead through Tony NOLAN, and looked to be heading for a win as the game slowed down. Anthony Clarke was brought on with 15 mins to go to replace the ineffective Lee Allen, and Wycombe raised their game. With 10 mins to go Farrell turned the defender well and was brought down for a penalty, converted confidently by Terry SKIVERTON. With just 5 minutes left, Aaron PATTON picked up a mis-handle from the Slough keeper, rounded the keeper, and slotted the winner home brilliantly from a narrow angle.
Final Score Slough 2 Wycombe 3
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Harkin, Patton, McCarthy, Hall, Beeton, Wraight, McGorry, Allen (sub 75 Clarke), Farrell, Skiverton Subs not used: Rowlands and Baird Att:562
Saturday 8th March 1997
Football League Division Two

Mark Stallard celebrated his debut for Wycombe with a well taken goal and an excellent lay-off for the second as 3 more points were gathered on route to Division Two safety. The new signing from Bradford teamed up with DeSouza up front - with no place for David Farrell in Gregory's team plan for the day. Steve Brown made his first start since December and Brian Parkin continued his comeback between the sticks. The win eases Wycombe back above Peterborough in the table but with York City winning there are now a whole group of clubs looking anxiously over their shoulders as the relegation battle hots up.
Urged on by a 1000+ following, Rovers bellied their lowly League placing by playing some neat football early on. Evans and Kavanagh also gave the Wycombe fans cause for concern with some sloppy defending and Parkin had to be on his toes after 8 minutes when Peter Beadle broke away and forced a good block from the former Rovers 'keeper. Wycombe finally snapped into action on 14 minutes when Carroll carved a way through on the right. His shot was blocked before Mickey Bell picked up the loose ball and fired high from the left side. The first glimpse of Stallard came after 20 minutes when he latched on to a Brown through ball but the new boy tried to place the shot and Collet blocked well in the Rovers goal. A minute later Wycombe should have been ahead when a pinpoint cross from the left by Bell was met at the far post by Brown but the midfielder couldn't get enough direction on the ball and the chance went over. Terry Evans tested his own 'keeper on 23 minutes with an angled header from inside his own area and shortly afterwards Evans was there again to deflect the ball over after Matthew Hayfield tried his luck from long range. Rovers best spell of the game culminated 11 minutes before the break when they worked a chance from the left ending with Paul Miller firing in from 25 yards and Parkin diving low to his left to bring off a good save. Wycombe responded with DeSouza seeing a first time effort tipped over by Collet after Carroll and set him up and from the resulting corner by Bell, Evans saw a header hacked away from the danger zone. Steve Brown picked up his obligatory booking after 39 minutes for a strong challenge on Miller on the Rovers left. Unbelievably Wycombe were awarded a thrown-in after this incident (presumably the ball was already out of play), which ended with Carroll heading marginally wide.
Half-time 0-0
Parkin received a standing ovation from the Rovers fans as he took his place for the second period but he was rarely troubled by the visitors forwards after Wycombe had taken the lead 5 minutes into the second-half. The break through came when Mark STALLARD met a deep cross from the right by Kavanagh - the ex-Bradford player hesitating slightly before toe-poking the ball home from the left corner of the 6 yard box. The goal really fired Wycombe up but DeSouza continued his grim form in front of goal when he saw a shot from the left blocked on 56 minutes. But the Wanderers went further ahead 8 minutes later after more good work by Stallard. Carroll initiated the move out on the right wing before pushing the ball into the box to Stallard, who with his back to goal held the ball up before turning and laying the ball square to BROWN who had the simple task of smashing the ball home into the Valley End goal. The goal was enough for Wycombe to play the remainder of the game from the back but Parkin had to be alert gain on 69 minutes when a sweeping cross from the left was met by Rovers substitute Andrew Gurney at the far post but he was denied by his ex-team mate. The visitors other substitute, Julian Alsop, also forced a good save from Parkin on 86 minutes following a low shot from the right and the 'keeper had Terry Evans to thank in the very last minute when he dropped a left wing cross but Big Tel was sitting on the line to maintain another clean sheet for the team.

Final Score Wycombe 2 Bristol Rovers 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Parkin, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, Evans, Forsyth, Carroll, DeSouza (sub 88 Harkin), Stallard, Cornforth (sub 85 Skiverton), Brown (sub 71 McCarthy) Att:5,386

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Tuesday 4th March 1997
Football League Division Two

Wycombe battled out a goalless draw at Griffin Park against the League leaders. Brian Parkin returned in goal in favour of John Cheesewright but had Mickey Bell to thank for a clean sheet as the defender cleared a second-half effort off the goalline. Wycombe's best chance to snatch all three points also came in the second-half when Dave Farrell ballooned the chance wide. It's still very tight at the bottom of the table with fellow strugglers Peterborough ending Watford's unbeaten run to jump above Wycombe in the table.
In a game that could have gone either way, it was Brentford who made all the early running with Paul Smith and Marcus Bent seeing angled shorts whistle past Parkin's upright within the opening 15 minutes. Wycombe countered, however, with ex-Bee Jason Cousins revelling in the jeers from the home fans. After 20 minutes he crossed from the right for DeSouza to send a thumping header a foot over the centre of the Brentford crossbar. Parkin saw a looping header hit the top of his crossbar on 23 minutes, as Brentford failed to justify their top of the table position. Wycombe entered a good spell of pressure on 30 minutes when Mickey Bell closed in from the left and forced a good low save from Tamer Fernandes in the Bees goal. Wycombe's best chance of the half came on 37 minutes following a strong challenge by Evans just inside the Brentford half. The ball broke to DeSouza who beat Fernandes to the ball on the edge of the area but failed to convert - seeing the ball cleared off the line. Parkin celebrated his return to First Team action with a fine save from a Slade free-kick right on the stroke of half-time.
Half-time 0-0
The home side's best chance to win the game came on 12 minutes into the second-half when an initial shot from the right hit the Wycombe woodwork only for Taylor to pick up the rebound a few yards out. Thankfully for the Wycombe fans huddled in the shoe box style stand behind the goal, Mickey Bell performed miracles by the clearing the ball off the line. On 65 minutes the referee left the field with a leg injury but not before booking Evans,Cousins and DeSouza. Wycombe's own chance to grab the points came with 10 minutes of normal time left on the clock - Dave Farrell weaving his way towards goal on the right but sending the final shot high. Wycombe clung on at the end but the home side never really tested Parkin and they got really desperate near the end when Marcus Bent went down like a sack of spuds in the Wycombe area claiming for a penalty after his own teammate had kicked the ball in his face! Fortunately his claims were laughed aside - get a life Marcus! The events for the night finally drew to a close at a quarter to 10 with a draw probably a fair result on chances created.

Final Score Brentford 0 Wycombe 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Parkin, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, Evans, Forsyth, Carroll, DeSouza, Farrell (sub 89 Harkin), Cornforth (sub 75 Brown), Simpson Sub not used:McCarthy Att:5,375

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Saturday 1st March 1997
Football League Division Two

Wycombe's first ever senior visit to The New Den ended in defeat and another bitter blow to Wycombe's Second Division survival plans. 5th placed Millwall did little to justify their position in the table and emphasised the thin line between success and failure in this division. Wycombe were also given another set-back when play-maker Steve McGavin had to leave the field with an injured leg on 26 minutes - the only consolation being that he was replaced by John Cornforth, making his first appearance since Boxing Day. The injured Paul Read was replaced, as expected, by Dave Farrell but he looked out of place in the strikers role in the centre. Again it was the lack of service and finishing in front of goal that cost Wycombe any say in the points.
An impressive Wycombe following at The New Den saw the red shirted Wanderers command the early stages, DeSouza having the best chance on 10 minutes after coming in from the right. But it was the boys from the Smoke who opened the scoring when a ball in from the right wing by Lucas Neill saw Cheesewright dive low and miss before Steve Crawford tucked the ball towards the empty net with Paul HARTLEY applying the final touch on the line - technically in an offside position. Wycombe responded through Dave Carroll on 19 minutes when he juggled the ball on the edge of the Millwall box before stroking the ball marginally wide of the left hand upright. Millwall lost top scorer Crawford injured before Cadette screwed a chance wide after a slip by Evans on 24 minutes and 2 minutes later Wycombe lost their striker when McGavin was replaced by Cornforth. Wycombe's hopes were improved 5 minutes before the break when a Carroll corner from the left was powerfully headed home into the opposite corner of the Millwall net by Michael FORSYTH on the edge of the 6 yard box. Neill continued his good form for the home side on the stroke of half-time centreing from the left for Hartley to head fractionally wide of Cheesewright's left hand post.
Half-time Millwall 1 Wycombe 1
It was Wycombe who dominated play in the second but without creating any real goalscoring opportunities. On 55 minutes Mickey Bell, the Wycombe hero in the previous meeting between these two sides, cantered down the left before nipping in and laying the ball off the Simpson - his first time effort being pushed wide for a corner by Tim Carter in the Millwall goal. DeSouza and Bell had chances blocked in quick succession shortly after the hour mark but Millwall regained the lead on 67 minutes following some slack Wycombe defending. Lucas Neill was the provider again, this time from the left after McCarthy had been given the slip, then as the ball came across Evans, Cornforth and Bell all watched as Tony DOLBY headed home from an unmarked position at the far post. It was only Dolby's second ever goal for Millwall in over 70 appearances. To Wycombe's credit they pushed for another equaliser but it was to be one of those days. Dave Farrell found himself in space on the left after 76 minutes but without support Carter shut him out on the edge of the 6 yard box. With Millwall restricted to the odd breakaway, Wycombe continued to press forward - in the 89th minutes DeSouza had a golden chance to level the scores after Farrell delivered but the striker hit the right hand side netting with Evans and Co screaming for the ball in the centre. Cadette set-up Neill in the dying moments but the Millwall defender flashed his chance wide but by then the home side had done enough to take all three points and upset Wycombe's survival plans.

Final Score Millwall 2 Wycombe 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Cousins, Bell, McCarthy, Evans, Forsyth, Carroll, DeSouza, Farrell, McGavin (sub 26 Cornforth), Simpson Subs not used: Harkin and Kavanagh Att:7,539
All match reports © 1997 Chairboys on the Net
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