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|Wycombe Wanderers 1992-1993 - retro|
Feb 1993 - Wanderers dive into Quarter-Finals
The end of February 1993 saw Wanderers continue their drive towards the Final of the FA Trophy amid a controversial fallout with the local paper over the revelation that Dave Carroll was Scottish.
Wanderers superb form in the Conference had pushed the Club into the non-League limelight and five Wycombe players were provisionally named in the England Semi-Pro squad to face Wales at Cheltenham in March. Simon Stapelton, Steve Thompson, Steve Guppy and Andy Kerr would all eventually appear in an England shirt but Dave Carroll was not so lucky. Bucks Free Press reporter Pete Lansley tentatively questioned the FA over the fact that Carroll was born in Scotland and therefore was he still eligible to play for England at Semi-Pro level. The question sparked some frantic investigations by The FA before they announced that Paisley born Carroll was not eligible to play for England because his parents and grandparents were all Scottish.
The Club were not happy at the way the story had been sensationlised in the press and after the obligatory "war of words", Pete Lansley found himself banned from reporting on Wanderers games until further notice. The farce culminated when Carroll was informed of his England call-up on the same day as another notice from the FA said he couldn't play and to cap it all Carroll was injured and wouldn't have played anyway!
The ban meant there was no Bucks Free Press report for Wanderers Third Round FA Trophy tie with Bromsgrove Rovers on Saturday 20th February. The tie attracted a crowd close to 5,000 to Adams Park and they saw a tight game that Wanderers eventually ran out 2-0 winners. The goals coming from Stapleton and a highly dubious penalty won and converted by Keith Scott.
Talking about the tie later in the season, Scott said "I went through for the first goal and was just lining myself up for the shot and to be fair I kicked the ground and the guy at the same time has come through to tackle. Fortunately, as the ball broke, Stapes was in a position to follow up. The referee did say if we weren't in a position to play he would have given the penalty". Stapleton's goal eased the pressure slightly on Wycombe but with Jason Cousins forced to leave the pitch after being knock unconscious, it took until the second-half before a second penalty incident finally killed off the Bromsgrove challenge. Again Scotty takes up the story, firstly commenting on the first penalty claim: "Whether it was penalty or not, god only knows. The second one was definetly NOT a penalty. I've gone through, the goalie has come out and I've decided I'm going around him. I've kicked the ball too far and I've thought what I'll do is just fall over. When I fell over I was facing the crowd and I felt really embarassed. Then the next thing I know I've heard a big cheer and I thought, my word, we've got a penalty here." When the Bromsgrove protests had subdued, up stepped 'Scotty' to complete a 2-0 victory that saw Wanderers go through to a home Quarter-Final tie with Gateshead.
Wycombe line-up vs Bromsgrove: Hyde, Cousins (sub Ryan), Crossley, Kerr, L Thompson, Hutchinson, Greene, S Thompson, Stapleton, Scott, Guppy - Att:4,907
Three days later Wycombe continued on another cup run with a 3-1 home victory over Dagenham and Redbridge in a Semi-Final 1st leg tie of the Drinkwise Cup. Writing in the matchday programme Martin O'Neill commented on the Bromsgrove game, saying "In terms of results Saturday could not have been better. We progressed to the Quarter-Final of the FA Trophy and Slough took a tumble in the League at home to Northwich. But the best news of the weekend came on Sunday when Jason Cousins was released from hospital. The young full back was knocked unconscious just before half-time. He came around an hour later in hospital and although detained overnight, he travelled home with a heck of a headache but no broken jaw. He remembers going out with the rest of the team for the start of the match but absolutely nothing else. So when I went to visit him on Sunday I had to remind him that he had picked up a booking which threatens to ban him for two matches. Also, bookings for dissent are "fineable", so perhaps Jason's "amnesia" for the duration of the game was understandable. Cousin's two year spell at the Club has been remarkable. We picked him up on a free transfer from Brentford at the beginning of last season and he has been a revelation ever since. Despite the occasional "nightmare" - some of the games I think might have brought on his amensia - he has been nothing short of excellent for us. He has never been dropped by me and his attitude and desire to compete is unquestioned"
The Dagenham tie marked the return from injury of Kim Casey and he took just seven minutes to get on the score sheet. Wanderers second goal on 49 minutes came from a majestic strike from Steve Guppy, described after the game by Martin O'Neill as "absolutely wonderful". Keith Ryan sealed it up on 62 minutes before ex-Wanderer, Mickey Nuttell, scored a consolation goal with 20 minutes remaining.
Meanwhile Wanderers hectic League programme continued on Saturday 27th February with hard fought draw at a snowy Northwich Victoria where Paul Hyde survived a possible red card. 'Hydey' was harshly adjudged to have pulled down Vics striker Tony Hemmings a minute before the break but the referee only produced a yellow card and Hyde was there to save Malcolm O'Connor's spot-kick. There were further chances for both sides but the game ended goalless. After the game Wanderers learned that closest rivals Slough and Bromsgrove had both lost and the lead at the top of the table was now ten points. Martin O'Neill said "It was a point gained regardless of other results considering Northwich are on a very good run. It was a very hard game. We always thought that if we had been unbeaten in this particular game, we'd have achieved something"
For March 1993 Wanderers would start the month with a home game against Kettering Town where they would be protecting a ten match unbeaten run in the Conference and an unbeaten home record stretching back to a FA Trophy Quarter-Final defeat to Witton Albion in March 1992. Earlier in the season Wanderers had thrashed Kettering 4-0 at Rockingham Road. It all looked very simple.
[Previous - Trophy run continues against Morecambe] --- [Next - Gupps reluctant to fly north]
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