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|Retro - A look back on the 1986/87 season|
February 1987 was always going to be a tough month League wise for the Wanderers with meetings against Farnborough Town, Yeovil Town and Slough Town in the pipeline.
The visit to Farnborough Town on Saturday 7th February 1987 had a shock in store for the Wanderers fans amongst the 1,120 attendance. They discovered on arrival at the ground that not only was Noel Ashford ruled out due to injury but goalkeeper Gary Lester had received a deadleg in training and with no reserve available, midfielder Graham Bressington would be forced to take the shot stopping role for the entire 90 minutes. Boro had their problems too, with former Wanderer Simon Read ruled out with an injury but in the end the resulting 0-0 scoreline came as a huge relief for Wycombe and effectively ruled Farnborough out of the title race. They would fall out of the top six by the end of the month. The BFP Midweek ran the headline "RAMBO TO THE RESCUE" as a tribute to Bressington's performance in the match. Manager Alan Gane praised the youngster too, saying "Graham did well and made some good saves. I was very pleased with him. I'm happy with the point and we would have settled for that before we came."
Wanderers' only serious challengers for the Isthmian League Championship remained Yeovil Town and they were in town the following Saturday (14th February 1987) for the long awaited return League meeting. The match was billed as "THE BIG ONE" by the local press and Alan Gane commented, "We want to win but more importantly we don't want to lose. The team spirit is sky high at the moment. In fact the morale is so high that even defeat won't affect them." This was fortunate for Wycombe because before an official attendance of 2,473 the Somerset side recorded their fourth victory of the season over Alan Gane's team - this time a solitary headed goal from Paul Thorpe on 65 minutes giving the visitors the three points. The closest Wanderers came to equalising came on 74 minutes when Noel Ashford curled in a shot from Mark Dawber's flick-on but Neil Coates managed to rescue the visitors with a goal-line clearance. Alan Gane admitted his side paid too much respect to the West Country club when he spoke after the match, saying, "They are a good team but we treated them as if they were a great side and when the chances came along we just couldn't put them away." Gane added, "Yeovil seem to have a jinx on us and we wanted to beat them as a matter of pride but we won't be losing any sleep over it."
Wanderers progressed to the semi-final of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup the following Tuesday (17th February 1987) with a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Marlow. The visitors, managed by former Wycombe boss Mike Keen, were beaten by a freak goal and two penalties. It was Wanderers opener on 41 minutes that had an element of luck attached to it - Anthony Riley's cross sailing over Paul Tillen in the Marlow goal and into the back of the net. Two minutes later it was 2-0 when Neil Price was chopped down in the box and Mark West slotted away the spot kick. Those goals put Wycombe into cruise control and when Declan Link's header was handled on the line by Jamie Ferguson in the 71st minute, West converted his second penalty of the evening to take his goal tally for the season to 29. A home meeting with Abingdon Town awaited Wanderers for a place in the final.
Wanderers had a rest day the following Saturday with the next League game coming on Tuesday 24th February 1987 with the trip to Windsor & Eton. After the previous month's exploits from The Royalists, the match was approached with slight caution from Wanderers followers. It was justified too with Wanderers taking until the 40th minute to take the lead when Jason Seacole headed into the path of Kevin Durham whose cross was burried by Declan Link. Wanderers made it 2-0 two minutes after the restart when Graham Bressington smashed home following a one-two with Link. Windsor midfielder Phil Day argued with the officials over the goal and despite being pulled away by team-mates, the referee lost patience and pulled out the red card. That proved to be curtains for Windsor as Bressington made it 3-0 on 56 minutes. Substitute Mark Dawber made it 4-0 on 83 minutes and Neil Price made it five a minute later. Gary Attrell snatched a consolation goal for the home side in stoppage time. The win restored Wanderers lead in the table to 15 points and more importantly the slight lack of confidence in the team.
Wanderers closed the month with another high profile League match at Loakes Park, this time against Slough Town on Saturday 28th February 1987. The match was used as an exercise by the local police to assess crowd control at Loakes Park. They decided that as Reading and Oxford United were both without a game they would send 120 officers to the match. They joined the official attendance of 2,144 who witnessed a close but rather drab battle where Slough included former Wanderers goalkeeper Trevor Bunting, defender Jimmy Jacobs and midfielder Des McMahon and striker Kenny Wilson. And it was Slough who stunned the home fans after only 10 minutes when Tony Knight burried a header from Jimmy Brown's cross. Gary Lester kept out a Wilson header on 18 minutes as Wycombe struggled to spark in the early stages. But Alan Gane's men finally burst into life midway through the half, first when Jason Seacole saw a shot saved by 18 year old Bunting and then on 27 minutes when Seacole followed up Ashford's shot to make the score 1-1. Wycombe went on to dominate the second-half but Bunting was in fine form to deny his former club and keep the final score at Wycombe 1 Slough 1. As usual the result from Yeovil's match was waited eagerly. The 'Tannoy Man' announced that he would attempt to find out the score as soon as possible for those who wished to stay behind and it was a strange sight to see a fairly large contingent of Wycombe fans celebrate when it was announced 'BOGNOR 1 YEOVIL 0' - thus leaving Wycombe 16 points at the top of the table. However, Wycombe's performance was a disappointment to Manager Alan Gane, who commented, "We were very lethargic and I don't understand why. I didn't want to change the team after we had played so well in the second half against Windsor last Tuesday. But we were very disappointing against Slough. Having said that we created enough chances to have won the game and that was encouraging. I'm just sorry for the fans. We never seem to do well when there is a big crowd and I'm disappointed for them." He added, "They were keyed up for the match and they looked sharp. Obviously we were looking to win it but overall a draw was a fair result."
Vauxhall Opel League Premier Division Up to and including Sat 28th Feb 1987 Top seven only PL W D L GF GA Pts 1. Wycombe W 33 25 3 5 84 28 78 2. Yeovil Town 31 18 8 5 44 22 62 3. Slough Town 30 18 5 7 52 28 59 4. Harrow Boro 31 16 6 9 51 33 54 5. Bognor Regis 28 15 8 5 64 38 53 6. Hendon 30 15 5 10 51 47 50 7. Farnborough 30 14 8 8 56 53 50
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