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Chester City 3
Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 11th December 1993
Football League Division Three
Wanderers' unbeaten away run in the Football League finally came to end at an in form Chester City side on Saturday 11th December.
After a goalless first half in wet and windy conditions it was City, now just two points off the play-off zone, who opened the scoring on 53 minutes when Staurt Rimmer's shot gave Paul Hyde no chance. It was 2-0 on 77 minutes when Mark Leonard headed home Rimmer's cross from the right. Wanderers responded briefly two minutes later when Terry Evans flicked on Jason Cousins' throw and Tony Hemmings scored with a shot on the turn. However, a chance of a point disappeared another two minutes later when David Pugh stabbed the ball in after Wanderers' defence failed to clear Joe Jakub's free-kick, the game ending Chester 3 Wycombe 1. While Wycombe were losing at Chester, news came through that Keith Scott had scored one of Swindon Town's goals in a 2-2 draw at Anfield. Martin O'Neill's search for a replacement for Scott was continuing amid negotiations to sign Steve Thompson and Glyn Creaser on full-time contracts. Both players and maintained working part-time while also playing for Wycombe. Thompson showed his serious intentions by handing in his notice with the RAF. However, Thompson would need the extra cash from playing with Wycombe having racked up a £72 phone bill calling the Club's premium rate phone line and then not replacing the receiver properly.
There was sad news too off the pitch with the annoucement that former Wanderers player, trainer and groundsman 'Jock' Shepherd had died at the age of 75. 'Jock' was a Wycombe season ticket until his death. He had lived in Wooburn Green after moving from Glasgow aged ten. He played for Wycombe reserves in 1947/48 after serving with the Army in the Second World War. After a spell playing with Maidenhead United, he returned to Wycombe as trainer in the 1950's and was groundsman from 1969 until the mid 1980's when he retired.
Bucks Free Press - Claire Nash reporting from The Deva Stadium:
Revitalised Chester City deftly snuffed out Wycombe's standing as the only side in English football to remain unbeaten on their travels. Three goals in 28 minutes on a lottery soggy surface sealed Wanderers' fate. Blues' fightback was restricted to a single reply at the Deva Stadium on Saturday. With Wanderers battling to get back on level terms, Chester sprang their trap effectively by hitting Blues on the break. "We gave away three bad goals," said midfielder Hakan Hayrettin. "No one means to make mistakes. But obviously the conditions were difficult. We had to push forward to get back into the match." The players were bitterly disappointed to lose their proud record, but it was there to be broken and City were perhaps the only club with the credentials to do it on Saturday. They posted their threat beforehand with an impressive surge up the Division Three table, and stood only two points behind Wycombe before kickoff. Chester almost upset present leaders Crewe two weeks ago before embarking on a victorious cup spree, which saw them win three matches (two FA Cup, one Autoglass Trophy) against Second Division opposition within eight days.
They had the added incentives of preventing Blues inflicting their first League double and upsetting a form side; back to back victors over Crewe and Preston and assured winners over Second Division Cambridge to earn a plum FA Cup tie against Premiership Norwich.
But if Wycombe's defiance after their first away defeat was anything to go by, then they will come back the stronger for it as they embark on a fixture-packed Christmas programme. Chester are now the side to knock off their pedestal as the power pendulum swings back and forth at the top of the table - City leapfrogging over Blues and Preston being shoved into second by Crewe.
If bad omens are to be judged, then Wycombe's coach arriving just 40 minutes before kick-off did not bode too well. But honours, or lack of them, were even after a first half where both teams were stretched to gain the upper hand in the wind and the wet. The hosts settled quicker and seemed unaffected by the absence of leading scorer Chris Lightfoot through injury. Fellow ∑dangerman Stuart Rimmer lurked dangerously as Chester persevered with a neat passing game. But their firmest shot on target came from a set piece. Central defender Colin Greenan tested Paul Hyde after his initial effort was blocked. But Wycombe's keeper got his body behind it.
Martin O'Neill kept faith with the side which beat Cambridge last week. Glyn Creaser started the game in central defence with Matt Crossley at left back in place of Duncan Horton, who failed a late fitness test on his ankle. Blues struggled to find their fluency with too many long balls being flighted beyond the reaches of front men Tim Langford and Tony Hemmings. But they started the second half brightly when Keith Ryan forced his way through midfield before feeding Hayrettin, who laid the ball on for Dave Carroll to thump a shot only narrowly off target within a minute of the restart.
Wycombe, though, were to go behind within minutes. Steve Guppy was caught in possession deep in his own half by lain Jenkins. The full back fed Rimmer who darted forward to give Hyde no chance with his well-drilled shot on 53 minutes. Blues walked a shaky tightrope for the next ten minutes. Rimmer consistently snapped at Creaser's heels. The latter was substituted by David Titterton, appearing in his first senior match since Bury away in September, on 58 minutes to save him further punishment. But Crossley, then Titterton were given as rough a ride. Wycombe mounted their sternest attacks on the right flank with Langford, Carroll and Hemmings linking well.
Jason Cousins' fierce shot on 60 minutes appeared goalbound from Carroll's cross, but it shaved the wrong side of the near post. With a bit more luck Langford might have closed the deficit on 70 minutes after a swift turn beat his man, but his shot skimmed the cross-bar. Chester's second goal typified the remainder of the hairs pulsating action. Wycombe pushed forward once more on 77 minutes. But City broke out of their defence through Roger Preece and Paul Wheeler who took the ball up to Rimmer, whose cross from the right was met by Mark Leonard's header. Blues immediately hit back through Hemmings who produced a great turn and shot in the box after Terry Evans flicked on Cousins' throw. But within two minutes Chester put the game out of reach when David Pugh struck home Joe Jakub's free 1 kick after Wycombe failed to clear. Blues plugged away to spark a late revival, but it was Chester's day. Wycombe's will come again - sooner rather than later.
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