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Wycombe Wanderers 3
Tuesday 11th April 1995
Football League Division Two
Wanderers returned to winning ways with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Wrexham at Adams Park in a match re-arranged from 21st January 1995. Steve McGavin scored his first goal for Wycombe followed by a brace from Mickey Bell as Martin O'Neill's side raced into a 3-0 lead by the interval. No further goals but the victory lifted Wycombe to 6th place in the table - behind 5th placed Oxford United only on goal-difference - the two sides would meet the following Saturday in an all-ticket encounter at Adams Park.
Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash said: 'This is the one Wycombe Wanderers had to win to keep promotion play-off matters in the melting pot.
Captain Terry Evans believed Saturday’s bitter disappointment at Bournemouth would spur his team mates on against Wrexham last night, saying: “To lose like that is a heartbreaker. It will pull the lads together even more. We will strive forward and battle through.” And they did just that. Blues left Wrexham for dead with three goals in a blistering first-half performance. Steve McGavin got the ball rolling with his first Wycombe goal on 21 minutes. Mickey Bell scored twice on 27 and 37 minutes to secure the healthy lead. “We needed that win, that’s all there was to it,” said Bell, whose goals were his third and fourth of the season.
Wycombe’s scintillating midweek performance resembled those against Bradford and Peterborough which suggests they thrive more under floodlights than in the sunshine, having followed up the two previous wins with disappointing results at Hull and Bournemouth.
Blues bolted out of the blocks, forcing five corners in the first 15 minutes. But they didn’t make the most of them. They had a golden opportunity to take an early lead on 16 minutes. Tony Hemmings went clear with Dave Carroll free on his right, but the striker dallied too long and lost the ball. McGavin made amends for him five minutes later when he lashed home Evans’ flick on from Terry Howard’s throw. It was a richly deserved debut goal for the influential striker.
Wanderers pretty much played out the rest of the first 45 minutes in Wrexham’s half. Bell profited from a searing Carroll cross from the right for Blues’ second goal and his first of the night. The winger got the decisive touch when he slid in with a Wrexham defender.
And Wrexham goal keeper Andy Marriott had no chance when Bell scored his second with a far-post header from Evans’ cross. Blues kept Wrexham under the cosh going into the break and then stifled any hopes of a second half revival. Gary Bennett, the leading scorer in Division Two with 43 League and Cup goals, was notably subdued.
Blues dictated the pace of the second half and looked the more likely to score again. Bell almost bagged a hat-trick, while Peter Garland peppered the goal with long-range howitzers. This was a vital win for Wycombe but they’ll need to guard against tension blunting their momentum against Oxford in Saturday’s play-off ‘decider’.
Speaking after the game, goalscorer Mickey Bell said: “We set our stall out straightaway. We don’t hang back now and it seems to be working.” He added: “After Bournemouth, it’s great to get a chance so soon to put things right. We were determined to do so.” Meanwhile, Manager Martin O'Neill said: "I thought we played brilliantly. Under great pressure to win and keep us in the play-off hunt, the players responded magnificently and produced a real five star performance." And after seeing his side win for the third consecutive occasion under the lights at Adams Park, O'Neill added: " Alan Hutchinson, interviewing me on our Blues Line, suggested that we should move all our home games to Tuesday nights."
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