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Wycombe Wanderers 3
Peterborough United 1
Tuesday 28th March 1995
Football League Division Two
Wanderers finally ended their five game goal drought as they overcame a John Still managed Peterborough United at Adams Park. A brace from Simon Garner followed by a strike from Steve Brown took Martin O'Neill's side to 7th place in Division Two - just two points off a play-off position.
O'Neill brought in Gary Patterson to the starting XI compared to the side that had drew 0-0 at home to Crewe the previous Saturday - Charlton loanee Peter Garland being ruled out injured. Elsewhere, Terry Skiverton and Tony Hemmings returned to the bench in favour of Cyril Regis and Danny Wallace.
Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash said: 'What a difference a goal makes. It was expected it would, when it eventually came, and it did. Wycombe Wanderers’ confidence of old came flooding back after Simon Garner scored their first goal in 479 minutes of football against Peterborough on Tuesday night.
It finally ended Blues’ driest famine during Martin O’Neill’s managership, and Garner’s longest ever drought in a 15-year career. Just to make sure the habit was back, the stalwart striker scored again with a magnificent flicked header, after Peterborough equalised, and Steve Brown wrapped it up with an explosive finish after 69 minutes. The goals were oh so precious for promotion aspirations, and oh such a relief for all concerned at Adams Park — the players, the fans, and those who pined for having them to write about again. “I just felt relief after scoring,” said Garner. “It’s been a hard struggle and a strain on the players’ confidence. But I knew if we continued working as hard as we had, we would score again.”
The only downside of the night was Jason Cousins going off with a knee injury. The dependable right back, now battling to be fit for tomorrow’s match against Hull, was replaced by Terry Skiverton who filled in with his best performance yet since joining on a two-month loan from Chelsea.
The conditions, on the soggy side just six hours after three inches of snow covered the pitch, didn’t augur well for a classic contest. But it didn’t stop Wycombe from finding their feet and letting them do some stylish talking.
Peterborough had threatened to be less of a pushover than their inconsistent season suggested after holding Birmingham to a 1-1 draw last Saturday. But Wycombe didn’t hang around to find out, taking the lead after ten minutes. McGavin’s pass released Mickey Bell on the left, the winger flying past his man before putting in a pin point centre which Garner slid home from close range. A fanfare from the heavens wouldn’t have been out of place amid the deservedly exuberant celebrations from Blues’ goal-starved supporters.
Central defender Matt Crossley gave Blues a scare when he kicked a clearance onto his own post before the interval. Peterborough came out more positively after the break, with on- loan West Ham striker Dale Gordon scoring after a one-two with Charlery put him clear on 50 minutes. A timely foot out from Hyde thwarted Charlery five minutes later.
Wycombe restored their advantage within three minutes, Breen conceding a free kick after pulling McGavin back. Garner, the shortest player on the pitch, outjumped everyone else to head home Dave Carroll’s cross from the left. Blues needed more breathing space, and they got it when Brown put the result beyond doubt on 69 minutes. McGavin, despite Breen’s pressure, held the ball up for the midfielder to run onto and into the 18 box before unleashing a majestic drive into the top right- hand corner.
It was a blissful finish to signal the start of a potential revival. O’Neill is confident that Blues can win at least seven of their last nine games to clinch a play-off place.'
Commenting after the game Wanderers Manager Martin O’Neill was delighted with the win, saying: "The win was a long time in coming. But we are right back in contention again. O'Neill added: “The first goal was well worked. It settled us down nicely. Even when Peterborough equalised I fancied us to get another one." O’Neill praised goalkeeper Paul Hyde who made a vital save from Ken Charlery to stop the visitors going 2-1 up. “Hyde played magnificently as he has done all season. He made a great save at an important stage,” he said. But the Wycombe manager paid his most fulsome compliments to the performance of record signing Steve McGavin who had a hand in all three goals. “I thought he was fantastic. He’s now played three games and he’s been marvellous in every one of them.”
Watching the game from the stands were England and Newcastle United team-mates Peter Beardsley and Rob Lee. The pair were taking time out from training with the England side at Bisham Abbey. Beardsley commented: "It’s nice from our point of view to see that they try to play good football. Steve McGavin looks very sharp up front and they are playing the ball on the floor which is good to see."
Meanwhile, the evening after the Peterborough game O’Neill told the nation of his Wycombe Wanderers dream, as well as reissuing his pledge to stay at the club — for the time being, at least. O’Neill, in conversation with presenter Sybil Ruscoe on Radio Five Live fielded questions about his footballing future and Wycombe’s immediate and long-term prospects. "I think the very fact of turning down other jobs, you are showing a commitment to the football club,” he said, referring to his rejection of offers from Leicester City, Nottingham Forest and Bristol Rovers since he joined Wanderers in 1990. But he added: “I feel I want to manage with the big boys. I think if you are worth your salt, then that is where you want to be."
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