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|1993-1994 RETRO INDEX
|Retro - A look back on the 1993/94 season
Jan 1994 - Highs and lows of the New Year
Wanderers began 1994 with a lacklustre display at 5th placed Walsall that had Martin O'Neill admitting he had "a bit of set to after the game" with the players. Andy Kerr started his first match since October in place of the injured Matt Crossley, while David Titterton replaced Duncan Horton at left-back as he started his first game in three months. Meanwhile Hakan Hayrettin was rested in favour of Simon Stapleton whose previous First Team game had been the August meeting with Chester City at Adams Park.
Wycombe were 2-0 down within 18 minutes - Rodney McDonald scoring from close range in the 8th minute while a mistake by Kerr resulted in Chris Marsh knocking the ball past Paul Hyde.
Wycombe pulled a goal back on 24 minutes through Tony Hemmings but the home side restored their two goal advantage on the stroke of half-time when an unmarked Kyle Lightbourne headed home. Eleven minutes after the re-start it was 4-1 as Jason Lillis scored. Hemmings scored another goal five minutes from time after Steve Guppy's free-kick was knocked back into the area by on-loan Lee Hodges. The Spurs player was making his Wycombe debut after coming on as a second-half substitute. But Hemmings strike was merely a consolation for a Wycombe side suffering only their second away League defeat of the season.
Just two days after the set-back at Walsall, Wanderers returned to form with a thrilling victory over Hereford United at Adams Park on Monday 3rd January 1994.
Wanderers ran Hereford ragged in the first-half, taking the lead in the 14th minute when Steve Thompson crossed from the right for Steve Guppy to send a diving header into the back of the Valley End net. The lead was doubled on 30 minutes when Lee Hodges' cross from the left saw Dave Carroll score with a stooping header from the near edge of the six yard box. Hodges missed a good chance to make it three just before the break and earlier referee Gurnam Singh waved away a penalty claim after Jason Cousins had been scythed down.
Incredibly Wycombe let the lead slip. On 52 minutes Max Nicholson's deep cross from the left saw caught Paul Hyde out at the far post and Owen Pickard played the ball back from the bye-line for Howard Clark to convert. Six minutes later the scores were level when Paul Eversham sent in a low 20 yard shot from the right channel that crept past Hyde. However, it was Terry Evans to the rescue within a minute when he rose highest to head home Carroll's corner from the left and secure the three points to reclaim Wycombe's fourth spot in the table.
Some people blamed Hyde for both of United's goals but Martin O'Neill lept to his 'keepers defence, saying "People sarcastically clapping when he has stopped the ball doesn't do anybody any good. The same people obviously didn't turn up for the Torquay game." Hyde reacted to some of the comments from the crowd but O'Neill added "As a professional player, he has got to deal with it a bit better than he does" O'Neill also added in his programme notes the following week "After Saturday's defeat at Walsall a win was absolutely essential. Don't you agree? I think I heard the occasional moan from the terraces when we tried to keep the ball in the corner for the last two minutes instead of putting it into their goalkeeper's arms for him to kick it back down the field and give them an opportunity to level the game again. They might have been the same people who were quick to tell me that we were not professional enough to hold on to a lead against Cheltenham two years ago when a last minute equaliser by them effectively cost us promotion to the Football League. No team in the Third Division would have lived with us on our first half performance."
Off the pitch news during the holiday period saw Subbuteo add the Wanderers strip to their range for the first time. The sets would retail for £4.50 and have since become collectors items.
Meanwhile, in the programme for the Hereford game, Wanderers Director and King of Wit, Alan Parry, gave out his annual awards, including "The Saddam Hussein Award for friendly opposition has to go the members of the Preston Guild. Now, I know that many of you will be wondering why I haven't nominated our old pals from Colchester. Admittedly, their dignified behaviour during the minute's silence here gave them a very strong case. However, I took into account that Colchester fans at least allow Wycombe supporters to cheer their team without getting upset and ringing the newspapers to complain"
In an ironic twist it was Parry who was impressed by the noise made by other Preston fans at Deepdale with drums and trumpets. Along with O'Neill and other Directors, it was agreed to encourage musicians to become part of the Adams Park atmosphere starting with the FA Cup tie with Norwich City.
It was also announced in January 1994 that the Club would be launching its first official newspaper. Blues News would be issued on a monthly basis in conjunction with the Bucks Free Press. The first issue was due out on Friday 4th February 1994.
This was also the time of the innovation of Fantasy Football. Former Wanderers striker Keith Scott, sold to Swindon for a few quid two months previous, was rated in the Daily Telegraph's new Fantasy League at £1.5 million. Martin O'Neill commented "I think fantasy just about sums it up. I think Keith would be delighted with that."
Wanderers took a break from League action on 8th January 1994 when they took on Norwich City in the Third Round of the FA Cup. The game was a sell-out against a side that had dumped Bayern Munich out of the UEFA Cup the previous season but were just about to lose their Manager Mike Walker to Everton. Meanwhile, Colchester were next in the Autoglass Trophy.
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