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|1990-1991-RESULTS, SCORERS, ATTENDANCES
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|A look back at the 1990/91 FA Trophy run
Kidderminster Harriers 1
Wycombe Wanderers 2
Saturday 11th May 1991
FA Trophy Final - match day
(research, memories and words by Paul Lewis - first published during 2015/16 to mark the 25th anniversary)
Wanderers' appearance and victory in the 1991 FA Trophy Final was perhaps a defining moment in the post Loakes Park era of the Club. Having vacated the much loved town centre site in May 1990, Wanderers debut season at the newly built Adams Park culminated in Martin O'Neill taking the Club to only its second Wembley appearance and the first since the famous, but ultimately unsuccessful, meeting with Bishop Auckland in 1957.
The clash with Kidderminster at the 'Twin Towers' will also be traced as 'year zero' for many Wycombe supporters - it was either their first ever game, or the one that finally gave them the bug to venture down to Adams Park. Wanderers had averaged 2,794 for League games at Adams Park for the 1990/91 season but the huge local interest in the Wembley appearance generated ticket sales in the order of 25,000. Average League gates at Adams Park the following season would soar to 3,606 (a 29% increase) as a result of the success during the 1990/91 season.
Ticket prices for the match at Wembley were £6, £10 or £12 and 17,000 were sold in the first week following the semi-final victory over Altrincham on Saturday 13th April 1991. On the day of the Final several special coaches and trains headed out of High Wycombe, some starting as early as 9am in order to sample what could potentially be a great day in the history of the Club.
Read the 25 year retro match preview here >>>
Reporting on the match for the Bucks Free Press from Wembley Stadium, Pete Lansley wrote: 'Mark West enacted the final scene of Wycombe’s fairytale 1990/91 season when he scored a brilliant winning goal to capture the FA Trophy at Wembley.
The 2-1 triumph over Kidderminster Harriers will be remembered as a cup final played to the perfect script, with the homegrown hero scoring the winner, the record crowd shattered and Wembley a sea of blue.
A clear Wycombe majority in the 34,842 crowd created the atmosphere that dream cup finals are built on. When the teams were announced at 2.1 5pm, every Wycombe player’s name was greeted with cheers that resounded around the home of English football. The cheers rang even more loudly when West laid on the first goal for Keith Scott and then, after Kidderminster had equalised, dived in to score a stunning header.
The 25,000 supporters ensured they made the most of Wanderers’ first ever triumph at Wembley as the Wycombe wave rippled round the stadium. It was pure carnival.
Wycombe deserved to win a game with a remarkably high number of chances because they chased with more zest, attacked more directly and defended more tightly. The Wembley pitch is exactly the size of Adams Park’s, but despite this, the occasion sapped all the players’ energies, and scoring chances were frequent. Kidderminster, who played some neat football with the extra man in the middle of the park, enjoyed their fair share of these. Failing to convert any of their three positive first- half openings left them trailing and Wycombe in the driving seat.
After a cagey opening in which Wycombe settled the better, Blues took the lead with only the game’s second chance. Steve Guppy put West away down the left wing as Kidderminster’s defence left him on- side, and Scott was on hand at the near post to bundle the ball home over the line.
But the goal spurred the midlanders on. After 26 minutes, Steve Lilwali burst between two Wycombe players and was through in Wycombe’s penalty area. He chose to shoot early, from the corner of the box, and Granville saved his ground shot comfortably enough. Then Antone Joseph missed when unmarked ten yards out. Richard Forsyth found Lilwall, who crunched his way past Matt Crossley and sent a cross back perfectly for Kiddy’s skipper to sidefoot embarrassingly wide. It was again down the left that Lilwall fed Dave Hadley and his cross was headed over by Delwyn Humphreys.
Wycombe’s other best chance came after 28 minutes. Guppy and Stuart Cash combined to flight a ball in to Scott. He played a one-two with West inside the area, and arched a left-footer goalwards. Paul Jones, who played tremendously. well, flipped to touch the ball round the post.
With the goal advantage, Blues played like a side away from home, defending in depth and breaking well. Guppy in the second half and West, superbly throughout, helped ease pressure by going on runs down the flanks. After 31 minutes, West dispossessed Lilwall deep in Wycombe’s half, saw off the midfielder’s challenge and progressed to beat David Bamett out wide near the Kiddy area. Barnett, not for the first time, scythed West to the ground and earned a line in referee’s Mr Watson’s Wembley notebook. Kidderminster played the neater football, but Wycombe with more purpose. In midfield, Simon Stapleton battled magnificently, supported by Keith Ryan. The Harriers had Forsyth hanging back just behind Lilwall and Joseph, and Peter Howell just in front. The two full backs pushed forward to make up for the lack of width. Their formation had a direct bearing on the goals.
Manager Martin O’Neill said: “They’re a clever side. playing with Howell not completely up or back. He caused us problems in the home defeat early December. So I was reasonably pleased to see him coming off.” Harriers’ full backs ensured Dave Carroll and Guppy had their work cut out tracking back. But gaps behind the full backs also allowed West and Scott space to create Wycombe’s goals. On the hour, after Blues had lost the intitiative somewhat, McGrath volleyed a delicate ball forward to Hadley who ran at Creaser. Reaching the edge of the area, Hadley shot low but with unimpressive power. But Granville allowed the ball through his hands and Kidderminster were level.
This was the fillip Blues needed, the kick in the guts to fire them up again. Ryan reposted by firing over from close range after Scott had headed down. Then Carroll, onside, in space, failed to control another Guppy cross as Blues stepped up the pressure. Creaser played a ball down the right wing for Scott. Having just delayed a cross and obliged the waiting West to sit out a chance, Scott this time played an early cross as his strike partner pelted into the area. The centre was knee high, but West timed a diving header to perfection to send the ball beyond Jones.
O’Neill said: “It was a winner good enough to grace any Wembley game, and good enough to win this Trophy. “He wasn’t always the fans’ favourite, but he’s had a magnificent season.” In the closing minutes, Granville saved well from Lilwall, while Brett Wilcox, unmarked, headed feebily wide. McGrath volleyed over as well. But the best of the late chances fell to Carroll, whose left-foot shot from ten yards was well saved by Jones after Stuart Cash had made inroads. Then the nail-biting was over and Wycombe had won a cup at Wembley. What memories the team have created for us; what an incredible honour it was to be there.'
Final Score: Wycombe Wanderers 2 Kidderminster Harriers 1
Saturday 11th May 1991 - What was said to the press >>>
Saturday 11th May 1991 - Picture special >>>
FA Trophy memories 1991 - 25 year anniversary retro index
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