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|1993-1994-RESULTS, SCORERS, ATTENDANCES - MORE REPORTS||1993-1994 RETRO INDEX|
Wycombe Wanderers 1
Cambridge United 0
Saturday 4th December 1993
FA Cup Second Round
Wanderers continued their 1993/4 FA Cup campaign on Saturday 4th December with a Second Round home tie against Cambridge United. The biggest crowd of the season to date, 6,313, turned out along with the Sky cameras who provided extended highlights later that evening.
A tense game against more Second Division opposition finally burst into life in the 56th minute when Tony Hemmings whipped in a cross from the right by Jason Cousins.The U's with Steve Claridge in their side were tamed by a robust Wanderers defence but were almost gifted an equaliser when Paul Hyde kicked a clearance straight to Mike Danzey but 'Hydey' recovered to grab the rebound. Hemmings then went close to doubling the lead before Hyde saved well in the dying moments before the final whistle was greeted with huge relief by the Wycombe faithful.
Martin O'Neill was delighted after the game, saying, ""It was a rip-roaring Cup tie. We showed incredible spirit. We could have had three more goals. It was a terrific performance, sensational." And that was before O'Neill had heard the draw for the next round. Victory against Cambridge meant that Wanderers reached the Third Round of the FA Cup for the first since 1986 and there was excitement in the draw when Premiership Norwich City were pulled out of the hat to face Wanderers at Adams Park on Saturday 8th January 1994. The tie against one of O'Neill's former club's guaranteed a sell-out 7,800 gate at Adams Park - with terrace prices set at £6.
Looking forward to the tie with The Canaries, O'Neill said "It's a terrific draw. We have a better chance here. The match is something special for the players and the fans.".
Bucks Free Press - Claire Nash reporting from Adams Park:
It wasn't pretty at times, but Tony Hemmings and the magic of the FA Cup conspired to produce a heart-stopping finale to this second-round tie. What started out as a dour contest at Adams Park was transformed into a gripping battle after Hemmings rifled home his 56th minute goal.
A finger-chewing last 20 minutes saw Second Division Cambridge put Blues on the rack to avoid an upset. But Wycombe, and right back Jason Cousins particularly, rose to their challenge magnificently. United's all-feet-to-the-pumps strategy heightened the drama when it left Wycombe ample opportunity to capitalise on the break, which they did repeatedly with strikers Hemmings' and Tim Langford's pace coming to the fore.
But chances were spurned and with Blues' keeper Paul Hyde chipping in with one or two out-of-character near-clangers, their lead remained gettable until the final whistle.
"During the last 15 minutes we put the pressure on, but my players got a few home truths out there. People would not make runs," said United boss Gary Johnson. "They (Wycombe) deserved it to be honest because, they competed well. They always put an extra man round the ball. If we had it, they already had two men round it."
United's recent rich history in the competition - reaching the quarter finals two years running in 1990 and 1991 - ultimately counted for nothing. The spectacle they took part in was not for the fainthearted - on or off the pitch. Expectations were reeled in and left dangling by a nondescript opening - a lukewarm-up for a half-time plug by ex-Radio One disc jockey Simon Bates for his panto at the Wycombe Swan. Hopes of a classic were put on hold, although the endeavour was honest by both teams as they sized each other up. Wycombe probed with a handful of well-worked moves when the action wasn't jammed in midfield with head-to-head ping-pong. Steve Guppy had a half chance on 15 minutes when found at the far post by Dave Carroll's cross after Keith Ryan's run past three markers. But his angle was too narrow and he could only head back into play from the byline. Hemmings blasted narrowly over the bar on 23 minutes, after receiving the ball from Langford who was threaded through by Carroll. Then United keeper John Filan did well to deny Langford with his feet on 26 minutes after the striker's swift turn and run forward. Langford then turned provider when he deftly chipped the ball over Dean Barrick before squaring to Guppy wide on the left, the winger drilling wide of the near post on 36 minutes. A minute later Guppy centred for the incoming Ryan whose snap volley was only narrowly off target.
Cambridge's opening chance fell to midfielder Gary Rowett, whose header was wide from a cross by talented Kofi Nyamah, United's goal hero from their first-round match against Reading. Dangerman Steve Claridge didn't come into the frame until a free kick on 19 minutes. His pass to Nyamah, though, was cut out by Cousins. But the striker loomed ominously and should have scored from 20 yards out when found in space on 30 minutes by John Fowler. But United's leading scorer ballooned his shot wide. Fellow marksman Michael Heathcote similarly wasted a good opportunity seconds later, after a cross found him unmarked in the box. But his effort to curl the ball merely made it skewer wildly off target. United keeper John Filan's feet did well to deny Langford on 26 minutes after the get.
Both sides had to reorganise at the halfway stage. Duncan Horton was replaced by Glyn Creaser after the left back injured his ankle when thwarting a Heathcote surge. Crossley made way for Creaser in central defence to take up the full back role. Heathcote resumed his more usual position in central defence after right back Andrew Jeffrey injured his thigh. But Wycombe were the more composed after the reshuffle and broke the deadlock 11 minutes after the interval. Cousins played a major role in Blues' goal, to add to his air-tight marking to cancel out Nyamah, when his cross into the box was chested down and fired home by Hemmings.
Within seconds nerves were frayed when Hyde smashed the ball straight at Heathcote's replacement up front, Mike Danzey. But the rebound was kind on the keeper who was given time to recover the ball. Hyde's goal-kick gave Hemmings a long ball to chase to force a corner. With both sides building their momentum, Langford was denied by Filan after Hayrettin's deep pass put him clear.
Cambridge poured forward to snatch an equaliser. But, marshalled by skipper Terry Evans, every Wycombe player's diligence in getting back to soak up pressure stopped anything from getting through. The tide was turned each time to give Hemmings ample ammunition on the break. Four bursts forward within ten minutes ended high, finger tipped away, wide, and very high, respectively. The pacy forward was an ample handful for Heathcote each time, even if he was found wanting with a finish. The tension became excruciating for Wycombe supporters during the last two minutes of normal time with Evans booked after conceding a free kick with a challenge on Danzey. The setpiece, however, was poorly taken.
Then, through cracks between face-clenching fingers, they saw Hyde do well to beat Claridge to a loose ball and Nyamah fail to work wonders with an injury-time corner. By this time the Wycombe bench were anxiously scrambling talisman Steve Thompson onto the pitch as a late substitution. No matter, within seconds the whistle blew, Wanderers were mobbed and dreams of a fairytale third round began.
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