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|1993-1994-RESULTS, SCORERS, ATTENDANCES - MORE REPORTS||1993-1994 RETRO INDEX|
Wycombe Wanderers 1
Chester City 0
Saturday 21st August 1993
Football League Division Three
Wanderers first ever home game in the Football League saw a near capacity 5,600 attendance gather at Adams Park. They saw an unchanged side to the one that beaten Leyton Orient in the week grab victory thanks to an 8th minute strike from Keith Scott.
Pre-match news had seen teenage forward Alec Norman sign a full-time one year deal with the Club and so become the first High Wycombe player to join Wanderers since Mark West ten years previous. The 19 year old was also the first player to progress through the Club's revamped Youth system managed by Jim Melvin. Norman joined Martin O'Neill's first team squad just days after midfielder Kim Casey joined Solihull Borough for a reported £4,000 fee. 32 year old Casey had joined Wanderers 18 months previous for a £9,000 fee from Cheltenham Town but the player had opted to leave Adams Park as he preferred to remain part-time. Casey, best known for his legendary status while at Kidderminster Harriers, made 50 First Team appearances for the Wanderers, scoring 20 times. Martin O'Neill commented, "I think he has been an excellent servant to the Club."
Meanwhile, post-match news had revealed that Keith Scott had been on a fitness regime during the close season although had ironically been described as 'Keith Slob' by a bumbling public address announcer before a pre-season friendly at Worthing. After scoring against Chester, Scott commented, "The hardest goal to get is always the first one. Strikers thrive on confidence, so that one has certainly helped me." 26 year old Scott had also been the winner of a sprint competition devised by coach and BBC sports commentator Paul Dickinson during Wanderers' pre-season training, adding "I just feel a lot fitter due to the fact we are training full-time."
Bucks Free Press - Claire Nash reporting from Adams Park:
Martin O'Neill declared his dismay after Steve Guppy's vintage performance against Chester City at not having received a single offer from another club for the influential winger's services. "I am astonished no club have even made a derisory offer. I am quite pleased no one has come in for him so I do not have to worry about turning offers down", said the manager after Wycombe Wanderers' first Football League victory. O'Neill would not be drawn on a value for Guppy. But dismississed one national Sunday newspaper's suggestion that it could be as much as £500,000. "I see players in the Premier League and the First Division. I think he can play in the First Division," he said.
Guppy made the telling difference which secured Blues' first three points at Adams Park on Saturday. It was the winger's 40- yard pass, finding Keith Scott rampaging forward in accurate mode in the eighth minute, which put Blues ahead in a game which lacked memorable fluency to match the occasion's historical status.
Guppy, though, was a constant threat throughout, terrorising City's Roger Preece on the left flank as a vital cog in Wycombe's sweeping moves forward. The visitors looked solid enough to get a foothold after going behind, but a significant last touch was woefully absent, even from mainstay marksman Stuart Rimmer.
Blues' keeper Paul Hyde was relatively untroubled, with Wycombe's back four of Jason Cousins, Andy Kerr, Matt Crossley and David Titterton clearing any danger in the early stages. But it could have been very different had referee Mike Bailey ruled in Chester's favour moments before Wanderers scored. Kerr appeared to bring down Rimmer after the striker raced goalwards with Eddie Bishop's pass. But the apparent infringement was not punished. Moments later Blues broke away with possession, Guppy drifting the ball from the left, over the top to Scott in the centre. Wycombe's highest scorer from last season cliested the ball down after beating Chester's highly-regarded centre half Colin Greenan to the ball, to shoot past City keeper Bill Stewart and open his 1993/94 account.
Dave Carroll followed up with a sweet volley which whizzed narrowly over the crossbar in the 16th minute after Scott had again used his chest to good effect to bring the ball down from a free kick. Chester endeavoured to find a way back, Rimmer occasionally probing, but failing to find a way through.
Necks did at times have to crane as the play became frequently aerial. But Wycombe signalled their threat on the break as the interval neared. Just as Chester pressed, Hyde at one point punched the ball out to find Guppy who sent Steve Thompson on his way, although the move was cut out. Guppy carved a chance which Simon Stapleton must have rued not making more of at the start of the second half.
Guppy twisted in, around, then past Preece, and sent in a low cross which Carroll laid on for the incoming Stapleton, but the midfielder trundled it past the near post in the 49th minute.
Thompson did look glorybound once found by Keith Ryan's deep midfield pass in the 52nd minute, but he let the ball run away too far, allowing the outcoming Stewart to clear.
Mark Came thwarted Scott's 55th-minute run onto another long ball from midfield with a challenge which technically should have seen him take an early shower, but the defender was merely shown the yellow card. Scott admitted he should have hit the target from Guppy's whipped- in cross which followed, but the striker's header veered over the crossbar.
Wycombe were forced to withstand Chester's face-saving assault during the last 20 minutes. Dangerous strikes by the likes of City's Bishop and David Pugh were deflected or charged down.
Wanderers had last-gasp chances to put the game out of their opponents' reach. But the last five minutes saw the hosts penned into their own box until Lightfoot's shot went high and wide, and the final whistle blew to silence those of Wycombe's impatient 4,500 supporters.
Keith Pike - The Times (national press)
The burden of expectancy is already weighing heavily on Wycombe and Martin O'Neill's decision to reject Nottingham Forest's summer overtures and committ himself to the Buckinghamshire club has only added to it. Bookmakers have made them short-priced favourites for the third division but of the 29 sides admitted to the league since 1923 only three have won promotion at the first attempt and, on the evidence of their 1-0 defeat of Chester City on Saturday, Wycombe's credentials are suspect. O'Neill's own expectations are more realistic. "We are not suddenly going to sweep all before us." he said. "The supporters should realise what a big step up we have made"
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