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|1993-1994 RETRO INDEX
|Retro - A look back on the 1993/94 season
So close against Coventry
With Coventry City leading 3-0 from the 1st leg at Highfield Road, the return leg at Adams Park on Tuesday 5th October appeared to be a tie with little going for it for the Wanderers. So much so, that a crowd of barely 6,000 turned out to see it. Those loyal fans were treated to a classic.
Speaking before the game, Martin O'Neill wrote in his programme notes "Tonight is another big occasion for us. Our second leg match against Coventry, on the face of it, looks daunting. I thought we didn't play well enough at important stages in the first leg at Highfield Road and we gave ourselves a bit of work to do but nothing is impossible. I hope that Bobby Gould's impression of us being a "Cavalier" team still holds at the end of the game. There is absolutely no other approach for us to adopt tonight - is there? Well if there is don't tell me about it until after the game!"
Both sides were a little cagey at the start but as Wycombe got into their 'cavalier' style City began to shake. On 31 minutes Wanderers took a deserved lead when Matt Crossley's through ball found Keith Ryan who ran on to skim a 25 yard shot pass Steve Ogrizovic.
The second-half saw Wanderers kick towards the Valley End and it was literally one way traffic towards the home fans. The pressure finally told in the 63rd minute when Scott powered home a header at the near post following Steve Guppy's corner from the right to make it 2-0 on the night.
The crowd notched the noise levels up to eleven and after Terry Evans had one 'goal' disallowed due to Tony Hemmings' late challenge on Ogrizovic, there were just three minutes remaining when Evans was there to finish substutute Simon Hutchinson's cross. The aggregate scores were now level and the impossible was no very much on as the game went into extra-time.
The fairy tale took on another dimension in the 2nd minute of extra-time when Guppy stepped over a free-kick to allow Jason Cousins to drive the ball past Ogrizovic from around 30 yards. The defender in disgrace just two weeks previous slid for joy in front of the Woodlands terrace and Wanderers had to pinch themselves to release they were leading 4-0 on the night against Premiership opposition.
However, the end was to be cruel for gallant Wanderers. With just nine minutes of the tie remaining a slip by Hutchinson let in Steve Morgan who cracked a shot past Paul Hyde much to the relief of the travelling support for Coventry. This away goal would have been enough to take City through but there was another dampener on the night when Phil Babb's shot from the right flank deflected off Cousins and looped over Hyde to make the final score Wycombe 4 Coventry 2.
Wycombe line-up vs Coventry: Hyde, Cousins, Kerr, Crossley, Evans, Ryan, Carroll, Hayrettin (sub 67 Hutchinson), Hemmings (sub 107 Horton), Scott, Guppy - sub unused: Moussaddik - Att:5,993 - Ref: J Brandwood
There were mixed emotions after the game as the reality struck home how Wanderers had come so close to pulling off one of the greatest cup comebacks ever. Martin O'Neill said the effort of the team had been 'superhuman' and added "I was quite distraught myself. But I kept saying to them their efforts were extraordinary. Extraordinary!" O'Neill went on to praise Cousins on his return after suspension, commenting "I thought he was sensational tonight. I thought he was fantastic. He played the game fairly and didn't attempt to assassinate anyone - and he scored a wonderful goal". Jason Cousins himself added "The fans were brilliant with me tonight. How ever they felt about the incident the other Saturday they kept it to themselves and tonight I didn't get any backlash from it."
Martin O'Neill had a couple more weeks to collect his thoughts before giving his concluding comments on the evening when writing in his programme notes on 16th October 1993, "It was hard to believe that after 90 minutes we had beaten a top Premier League side 3-0 and that with seven minutes to go in extra time and with us now 4-0 ahead, sheer tiredness prevented possibly the finest comeback in the history of the competition. Ironically, despite the heroics of the players that evening, our dressing room had the atmosphere of a morgue. Victory had been gained but ultimate triumph cruelly snatched away, and the realisation of that fact was slowly sinking in. Over the following few days, letters and phone calls came flooding in to say how well we had done and what a great footballing match it had been. Thanks to all of you who took the time to do so. May there still be many more great moments for us to enjoy in the not too distant future."
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