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Wycombe Wanderers 0
AFC Bournemouth 0
Saturday 14th December 1974
FA Cup Second Round Proper
After defeating Southern League side Cheltenham Town at home in the First Round Proper, Wanderers came within a fraction of reaching the Third Round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history after being held to 0-0 draw by Football League Division Three side AFC Bournemouth at Loakes Park on Saturday 14th December 1974. Bournemouth had made easy work of dispatching Southwick 5-0 in the previous round but with the South Coast side struggling in their League campaign, expectations for a Wanderers victory were high and were justified as Wycombe went on to dominate the tie but in the end had to be content with a replay at Dean Court the following Wednesday after visiting 'keeper Kevin Charlton played a blinder to keep out a series of efforts from Brian Lee's side.
The matching of Wycombe and Bournemouth in the Second Round draw had been described as a 'dream' by Brian Lee and the Wanderers Committee took the decision within a day of the draw being made to make the tie 'all-ticket' and set a limit of 12,000 on the crowd. Entry prices were also increased again, with entry to the ground set at Adults 50p, Children 30p and OAP's 20p. Entry to the Main Stand Enclosure was 70p (inclusive of ground entry), with seats in the wings stands set at 80p and the centre seats at 90p. The limit of 12,000 was imposed following safety considerations and also "to give spectators a chance of better viewing and comfort". Treasurer Roger Lee (no relation to Brian) said he was confident that all tickets would be sold, including the 25% allocated to the visitors. But his predictions were not met, with the all-ticket criteria being dropped after a slower than expected uptake of tickets and the official attendance of 7,442 being nearly 3,000 less than the figure declared for the previous season's meeting with Peterborough United at the same stage.
Nevertheless, there was still huge excitement and expectation from the home fans as struggling Bournemouth made their first competitive journey to Loakes Park. Team news for Wanderers compared to the XI that had defeated Cheltenham in the previous round saw Gary Hand return at left-back, with Dave Bullock moved to the bench. Meanwhile, Terry Reardon was favoured in midfield to Dave Alexander. Keith Mead was declared fit the day before the tie to leave Wanderers with what many regarded as a full strength line-up. The vistors included the return of former Wanderer 'Big' John Delaney who had been made Captain for the day by the South Coast side. The Cherries had snapped up Delaney from Wycombe two years previous after then Bournemouth boss John Bond had been impressed with the centre-half during a friendly between the two sides at Loakes Park. Bond had since moved on to manage Norwich City, taking with him coach Ken Brown and three key players. Current boss at Dean Court was now 27 year old Trevor Hartley - the youngest boss in the Football League and part of a four man 'syndicate' running the unsettled club. Hartley made one unexpected change to the Bournemouth starting XI, bringing in John Wingate upfront for the injured John O’Rourke. That was the first boost for the day for Wanderers as O’Rourke was considered as a significant threat up-front having previous experience with QPR, Chelsea, Luton Town and Middlesbrough. In the end it was keeper 20 year old Kevin Charlton's performance that kept the Football League side in the competition. The former Wolves shot stopper had signed in the summer for The Cherries and kept out efforts from Paul Birdseye, Howard Kennedy and Micky Holifield to keep the game goalless and send both sides into the hat for the Third Round draw to be made live on Match of the Day later that evening, with, as tradition, clubs from the top two divisions joining the competition.
And there was to be great incentive for both sides after draw was made at around 11.15pm on Saturday evening. Ball No.64, 'Wycombe or Bournemouth' was the first number out of the bag - paired at home to First Division high flyers Middlesbrough. There was also drama moments later too when Middlesbrough were drawn out again, this time away to Coventry. There was a sudden hush and looks of perplexity when MOTD's Jimmy Hill asked "haven't we had Middlesbrough before?". The mix-up was eventually cleared up, with Norwich City travelling to Coventry and Wycombe or Bournemouth confirmed to be at home to Jack Charlton's Boro side in a tie scheduled for Saturday 4th January 1975. Wycombe's task was now to beat Bournemouth in the replay at Dean Court on Wednesday 18th December 1974.
What the papers said:
Reporting for the Bucks Free Press, Stuart Earp said: One man stood between Wycombe Wanderers and their first ever place in the third round of the F.A. Cup on Saturday. He was Kevin Charlton, the Bournemouth goalkeeper, who pulled off three brilliant saves to earn the Third Division Club a replay at Dean Court tomorrow (Wednesday).
And yet, having been on the receiving end of some considerable Wycombe pressure for most of the second half, Bournemouth could have found themselves playing Middlesbrough at the first attempt on January 4 in the next round. They broke out of defence in the 84th minute and home ‘keeper John Maskell had to pull out two wonder saves in the space of five seconds to keep the scoresheet blank.
A goal then would have been a travesty to Wycombe who, after a scrappy first half, took the game by the scruff of the neck and threw all they had at Bournemouth. The only reason the visitors survived was the performance of Charlton. His first superb save came from Paul Birdseye in the closing stages of the first half and then in the second, he fisted over a real piledriver from Howard Kennedy while in midair. Lastly, he managed to parry another powerful effort by Mick Holifield, who saw his shot then kicked off the line.
Any of those would have beaten many other goalkeepers but on Saturday, Charlton looked unbeatable. He certainly lived up to Brian Lee’s pre-match rating. The Wanderers manager had said: “His reaction saves are first class and his handling of the ball is excellent.”
Despite Charlton’s brilliance, though, Wanderers must be a trifle disappointed not to have sewn this match up at the first attempt. There were several scoring opportunities that went untaken plus a penalty appeal turned down by referee Lees.
The man who threatened most danger was Steve Perrin. After a slow start to the season, Steve is now at his best and on half-a-dozen occasions he left the Bournemouth defence trailing. His endeavour deserved greater reward. Tony Horseman was also impressive and rarely wasted the ball. The one disappointment was Keith Searle. Marked by former Wycombe skipper John Delaney, Keith found the sticky conditions very difficult and his lack of pace was sometimes badly exposed.
While the defence was always sound, with Gary Hand once again in great form on the left flank, perhaps the men who deserve the most credit are the midfield trio. Howard Kennedy, Terry Reardon and Mick Holifield worked like trojans to stamp their authority on the game. Kennedy’s distribution was often of the highest class while Holifield after a painfully slow start, was the one man who looked most likely to decide the issue.
Whether Wycombe can match or improve on their performance in the replay remains to be seen. But having contained the Bournemouth attack with something to spare throughout Saturday’s 90 minutes, they must feel confident of a good result tomorrow, especially with the incentive of a home tie with Middlesbrough in the next round!
With Keith Mead declared fit on Friday, Wanderers were at full strength. They called up Dave Bullock as substitute to cover for a possible Mead breakdown while Bournemouth made one unexpected change, bringing in John Wingate upfront for the injured John O’Rourke. This probably weakened their strike power as O’Rourke is by far the club’s most experienced player.
The first half was one long tussle for supremacy with neither goalkeeper seriously tested in the opening 30 minutes, which were strangely quiet for a Cup tie. There was the odd moment of excitement, like in the second minute when Hand crossed from the left but just too far for the strikers and then Howard Goddard, Bournemouth’s 17 year old centre forward drove weakly at Maskell after a 1-2 with Brian Greenhaigh.
Wycombe won their first corner after six minutes but again the cross was too strong and eluded the mass of players in the penalty area. Then with 11 minutes gone, Les Parodi stole in behind the defence to glance a header goalwards, but again Maskell was on hand to gather with ease. Much of the first half, however, was kept at long range by both defences. Neil Hague was always on hand to clear any Wycombe danger while Alan Phillips, although given a few anxious moments by Wingate, cleared up well at the back for Wycombe.
What was promising, was the amount of space Wanderers found for themselves and the amount of possession won by Reardon and Hand. Often these two came out with the ball after 50-50 situations. In the 27th minute, however, Wanderers showed their first sign of weakness in defence. From a free kick on the left, Parodi floated in a curling cross which Wycombe failed to clear inside the box. Delaney almost took the ball through and then Goddard thumped the underside of the bar with the Blues at sixes and sevens. Fortunately, the referee’s whistle brought the scramble to a close with Bournemouth penalised for off side.
A good example of Searle’s lack of pace came on the half hour. Delaney, made skipper for the day against his old club, slipped as he went to control the ball which gave Searle a yard’s start. Keith, however, did not make the best of the situation and halted the move and lost possession when confronted by two defenders. The seven minutes before half time belonged almost exclusively to Wycombe. With 38 minutes gone, Perrin broke through despite being held back by Keith Miller. Forced to a narrow angle Steve took the ball on and was only stopped by Charlton’s brave save at the striker’s feet. A minute later Holifield drove wildly at a cross from Hand and ballooned the ball well over the top.
The two best chances of the half came in the last three minutes. Once again Perrin created the opening with another surging run, beating three defenders before turning the ball inside to Horseman. “Bodger”was unable to get in a shot but the ball came out to Paul Birdseye who aimed his drive towards the top corner. Charlton, however, made the first of his three memorable saves by tipping the ball over the top. Then a minute later, from the second corner, Charlton made about his only mistake of the game. He came out to take Horseman’s flag kick but missed contact completely. The ball struck a defender and bounced over to Perrin who had the goal at his mercy, five yards out. But in trying to head high into the net, Steve could only send the ball fractionally over the crossbar. The half time whistle went soon after that move and Wycombe were left to reflect just how valuable a goal at that stage could have been. Nevertheless, it showed some weakness in the visitors’ defence and with Wanderers kicking towards their own fans in the second half, there was still everything to play for.
Bournemouth began the second period with a flourish and twice Phillips and Mead had to hastily clear the danger. For Mead, the game became more painful as it went on and he did well to finish the 90 minutes. Horseman was unable to get in a shot as the defence converged in the 51st minute and then Delaney, who with Hague came up .for every set piece, saw a header bounce past the far post three minutes later. It was the only time ‘Big John’ threatened from such a move.
The pitch, soaked by Saturday morning’s rain, had cut up considerably by this stage and meant that Wycombe’s main attacking ploy, the ball through the centre of the defence, was rarely effective. In the later stages, however, they managed to overcome the conditions and used the through ball well, giving the Bournemouth defence a real grilling. They also stretched their game wide, using the wings to good effect.
It was from a ball through the centre that Wycombe almost broke through in the 69th minute. Horseman cleverly deflected a ball from midfield right into the path of Holifield. Half a yard clear of Hague, Mick was unceremoniously brought down from behind Just outside the box. Two Wycombe men joined the defensive wall for the free kick but Charlton anticipated Horseman’s ‘bender.’
Then seconds later Kennedy won the ball in midfield and slipped a pass through the defence for Horseman who took the ball on but he failed to get his full power into the shot and Charlton saved at the second attempt. Many felt Tony had been tripped while taking the ball, but Mr. Lees waved aside the penalty appeals. At this stage there was no stopping Wycombe. They were rarely out of the Bournemouth half for the next 10 minutes and with a combination of fine passing and running, they had the visitors distinctly rattled. With 73 minutes gone Horseman again found himself in with a chance. Taking the ball down, he delayed his shot as Charlton advanced and then tried to loft the ball over the ‘keeper. But the lob hit Charlton’s legs, enabling him to gather at the second attempt.
Charlton pulled off his most spectacular save in the 75th minute. Holifield outstripped the defence and took the ball to the bye-line before crossing low into the box. The half clearance came out to Kennedy on the edge of the box and his sweetly struck drive looked a winner all the way until Charlton launched himself into the air to fist the ball over the top.
Charlton’s save from Kennedy must have been a killer for the Blues. Kennedy could hardly believe it and looked up to the heavens while the rest of the side could only have wondered just how they were going to beat this goalkeeper. Even that wasn’t the end of Charlton’s activity. With 82 minutes gone Perrin won a corner. Horseman’s kick was again only half cleared and this time fell to Holifield. From 10 yards Mick turned and lashed in a shot through the crowded goalmouth. Charlton couldn’t gather cleanly but deflected the ball towards Payne who kicked another ‘cert’ off the line.
In those minutes of constant Wycombe attack, John Maskell had been watching intently at the other end without even a sniff of the ball. It was this inactivity that made his 84th minute saves even more commendable. The man who started Bournemouth’s closest effort was Alan Welsh. He sent a 50 yard crossfield ball down the slope to Greenhalgh, catching the home defence stretched to its limits. Birdseye, racing back, couldn’t stop Greenhalgh slipping the ball inside to Goddard who hammered in a powerful drive. Maskell parried the Shot but only as far as Parodi, following up. It looked a mere formality for the Bournemouth man, with Maskell still on the turf after his first save. But, showing lightning reflexes, John stuck out an arm and amazingly managed to hold the second shot to keep Wycombe in the game. A goal at that stage would have finished them for good.
With only a few minutes remaining Wycombe resumed their assault on the Bournemouth net but were unable to create anything clearcut with the visitors well content to play out time — and no doubt extremely relieved to have a second chance of making the third round.
Reporting for the The Times, Clive White said: It was the sort of swift, incisive counter-attack that usually knocks the opposition cold. Yet Wycombe Wanderers survived this double-fisted assault a few minutes from the end of Saturday’s FA Cup tie and lived to fight another day — Wednesday evening, to be precise, when the foe will again be Bournemouth after this goalless draw.
Up until those last few minutes AFC Bournemouth, of the Football League, had been taking a pounding on the ropes, but when Welsh broke away and flighted the ball beautifully out to Greenhaigh, Wycombe’s fine dreams began to cloud over. However, like all good Cup stories, it had a fairy-tale ending and following Greenhaigh’s pass, Maskell, the Wycombe goalkeeper, saved splendidly, twice in quick succession, from ferocious shots by the big wingers, Wingate, and Parodi.
So Wycombe, for the first time in their history, went into the third round draw, ‘held on BBC television’s Match of the Day on Saturday evening. They were first out of the bag and when the name of Middlesbrough immediately followed you could almost hear the calculations going on in the Wycombe treasurer’s head. But first Wycombe must get past Bourne mouth and it is a pretty big but. Certainly on Saturday at Loakes Park Wycombe did not deserve to draw. They deserved to win. How much they were helped. by their sloping pitch was hard to tell. It seemed to inhibit Bournemouth for quite a while, though Wycombe, it is said, do not make the full’ use of it. One wonders what Jack Charlton, the manager of Middlesbrough would make of it.
Bournemouth got an early introduction to Wycombe’s litte bit of the Chiltern Hills. As they ran out before the. kick-off one Bournemouth player threw out the ball in the usual manner only to watch in horror as it continued to roll right across the pitch down the 11 foot slope. When Wycombe came out they threw the ball upwards and lengthways. Professionals must have nightmares about playing on pitches just like this one, and it was a nightmare that became all too reaL They soon discovered that their professional slickness was no match for the “amateurs’” enthusiasm in midfield.
The first half was not a particularly good one as these games go, but after half-time Wycombe really carried the game to their opponents, completely over-running them. Bournemouth’s centre half Delaney, who spent four seasons with Wycombe as captain, could do little about it.
Horseman—a chairmaker by trade—missed two golden opportunities because he sat on them longer than was necessary, and Charlton, the young Bournemoutb goalkeeper, made a number of excellent reaction saves. In the closing minutes Bournemouth cleared another effort off the line and passions ran high. Wycombe supporters appealed for everything, even when it was clearly not theirs, but they deserved more breaks than they got.
What else was happening in the UK in late December 1974
15 December – New speed limits were introduced on Britain's roads in an attempt to save fuel at a time of Arab fuel embargoes following the Yom Kippur War
18 December 1974 - Fourth Division Chester reach the semi-finals of the Football League Cup after beating Newcastle United 1–0 in a replay. Middlesbrough lose 3–0 to Manchester United, leaving no First Division clubs in the competition.
21 December 1974 - No.1 UK Singles Chart - Lonely This Christmas - Mud
22 December – The London home of Conservative Party leader and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Edward Heath was bombed in a suspected provisional IRA attack. Mr Heath had been away from home when the bomb exploded, but returned just 10 minutes afterwards.
24 December – Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? - last episode BBC comedy
26 December – Steptoe and Son - last episode BBC comedy
28 December – Tom Baker makes his first full appearance as the Fourth Doctor in the Doctor Who.
28 December - No.1 UK Albums Chart - Greatest Hits - Elton John
31 December - At the end of the year five points separate the top thirteen teams of the First Division. Ipswich Town lead the table, alongside the previous season's Second Division champions Middlesbrough. Chelsea have moved out of the relegation zone at the expense of Leicester City.
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