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|1993-1994 RETRO INDEX
|Retro - A look back on the 1993/94 season
April 1994 - Getting tense at top of table
Wanderers moved back up to second place in the Division Two table after a relatively comfortable 2-0 victory over bottom of the table Darlington at Adams Park on Tuesday 29th March 1993. Second half goals from Steve Guppy and Tony Hemmings ensured the points that got Wanderers promotion campaign back on target. Martin O'Neill commented afterwards "One could almost feel the tension on Tuesday, especially when Tony Hemmings' goal immediatedly after half-time was inexplicably disallowed. However, the players didn't wilt and, remarkably, neither did you. Your encouragement certaibky helped us get the all important first goal"
The victory over Darlington left Wycombe on 62 points. Leaders were Chester City on 63 points, while trailing Wycombe were Crewe (61 points), Shrewsbury (61 points) and Preston (58 points). However, Martin O'Neill was cautious as he made a return to writing for the matchday programme for the home game with Torquay United on Saturday 2nd April 1994, commenting "I have no doubt this season will prove every bit as dramatic as the last few years and there will be many a twist and turn before events are decided on the last day of the season." O'Neill would have probably cracked-up if you had told him that Wycombe would go on to register just one victory in the final eight League games of the season.
The Wycombe boss had moved to sign Tony Cunningham and Nick Cusack close to deadline day and he made further additions prior to the Torquay game, commenting in his notes "Steve Book, a goalkeeper, has also joined us on a non-contract basis to give us a bit of cover in case Paul Hyde gets injured or Chuck Moussadik doesn't." O'Neill had also taken on John McClellend, an ex team-mate at Northern Ireland, on a similar basis. O'Neill commented "Actually he is only here to help me carry a few plastic bags around. That's a stupid in-house joke by the way with no relevance to anything in particular. A bit likes these notes really." Neither player would make a First Team appearance for Wycombe.
Torquay were in 6th on 55 points and were behind against Wycombe when Matt Crossley headed home Steve Guppy's corner on 13 minutes. Wanderers continued to dominate but couldn't add what would have been a vital second goal. However, trying to take centre-stage was referee Phillip Don who contrived to book nine players, including four from Wycombe. "It was bordering on incredibility" said O'Neill after the game after he had seen Mark Sale grab an equaliser for the visitors with a headed goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time. O'Neill added "It was two points dropped today and the ref had plenty to do with that."
Meanwhile, Torquay Manager Don O'Riordan was delighted with the point, while also criticising the referee, commenring "The crowd was getting our players booked. I was not happy with some of the decisions. But we kept going. I think we got our just reward.".
The trip to 11th placed Rochdale on Easter Monday 4th April 1994 proved another tough encounter for The Wanderers. On a day when they weather ranged from bright sunshine to hail and snow, Wycombe were beind in the third minute when Steve Whitehall slotted past Paul Hyde from close range. It could have been worse before O'Neill switched the formation, moving Steve Guppy to the right, Tony Hemmings to the left and pushing Dave Carroll up front with Tony Cunnigham. The changes took a while to work but on 70 minutes Hemmings laid the ball off to Carroll who fired past Martin Hodge in the home goal.
Rochdale, however, were ahead again within six minutes when substitute Jon Bowden saw a shot deflect past Paul Hyde. O'Neill responded by making a double substitution, bringing on Simon Garner and Nick Cusack for Cunningham and Hemmings. It was Garner's first appearance for three weeks following a hamstring injury and while the home fans were dishing out their 'zimmer frame' jokes, it was the former Blackburn Rovers striker who silenced them when he stabbed home after Glyn Creaser had headed down Carroll's cross.
The two points over the Easter period saw Wanderers drop back to third place in the table, trailing Chester and Shrewsbury (both on 67 points) by three points. Crewe (62 points) and Preston (59 points) were both hot on Wycombe's heels and both would provide opposition in Wycombe's final run-in to the season.
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