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Bristol City 0
Wycombe Wanderers 0
Saturday 30th September 1995
Football League Division Two

Wanderers extended their unbeaten run in the League to seven games but were left rueing missed chances from their first ever visit to play Bristol City at Ashton Gate. The game ended 0-0 after Manager Alan Smith made one change to the side that had drawn 1-1 at home to Wrexham the previous weekend - Gary Patterson returning to the side after Wimbledon loanee Stewart Castledine returned to his parent following following the end of his month with the Wandeders. The draw in Bristol left Wanderers in 11th place in table with all eyes now set on the midweek 2nd Leg Football League tie away to Manchester City.

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Ashton Gate, Claire Nash said: Wycombe Wanderers’ goalkeeper Paul Hyde was the hero of Saturday’s game when Blues extended their unbeaten run to eight games. Hyde suffered a nasty clash in the first half, which grounded him for five minutes. But he carried on and even pulled off a dramatic save in the dying seconds. The clash, after 20 minutes of play, looked so serious that the referee called for a stretcher, as the physio attended to the stricken goalkeeper. Hyde went down, much to the horror of Blues’ supporters, after he came off his line to challenge an advancing Bristol City forward. The Bristol player was booked.

Blues’ showing on Saturday was proof that they are in good enough shape to cause the upset of the Coca-Cola Cup second round against Manchester City, after extending their unbeaten run. Their hard-grafting performance secured a point at Bristol to keep Alan Smith’s plan of establishing a steady platform for success ticking over.

While Wycombe continued their good run in disciplined fashion at Ashton Gate, [Manchester] City went down 3-0 at Nottingham Forest. They had Ian Brightwell sent off and five players booked in their seventh successive Premiership defeat. A Wycombe upset may well precipitate Alan Ball’s exit as City boss, with morale already plumbing new depths and Chairman Francis Lee not quite so willing to offer supportive comments to his manager. [Manchester] City’s angst is in Wycombe’s favour if they want to progress to the Coca-Cola up third round for the first time.

There was a fair amount of confidence at Bristol, but it is clear that recent Ł150,000 signing John Williams has not tuned in alongside nine-goal Miquel Desouza yet. Wycombe had numerous chances to win at Bristol City who were playing it defensively safe to stem their inconsistent start to the season. Most of the openings fell to midfielder Gary Patterson who could have bagged a hat-trick if not for Sieb Dykstra’s fine goal-keeping, and the narrowest of misses with a header. Paul Hyde too was in fine form at the other end with a vital save amid an exciting finale to deny City’s pacy Junior Bent.

The game opened well for both sides. Wycombe’s build-up play and their tenacious defending were the most encouraging aspects of their performance. Four bookings for the hosts suggests theirs was an ill-disciplined performance, but they occasionally suffered from over-zealousness from referee John Brandwood.

City looked good going forward and made Wycombe work hard, but they were toothless when it came to the crunch, and Hyde dealt with anything that got through. Patterson came closest to breaking the deadlock with a header that squeaked just wide from Farrell’s cross just before the break. He had another chance on 63 minutes when he shot from the edge of the box after being found unmarked by Carroll. Dykstra did well to grab the shot and smother Carroll’s follow-up.

In the dying moments, Farrell and Carroll worked well in tandem to supply Patterson with a chance which the midfielder fired into Dystra’s arms. Bent, meanwhile, almost nicked it at the other end with a fine snap volley from Starbuck’s cross. Hyde’s reflexes, however, were superbly equal to it.
Wycombe: Hyde, Rowbotham, Hardyman, Howard, Cousins, Patterson, Carroll, Brown, Desouza, Williams (sub 80 McGavin), Farrell - subs not used: McGorry, Bell
Scorers: none
Bookings: Hardyman 84 (foul)
Bristol City: Dykstra, Hansen, Edwards, Dryden, Bryant, Kuhi, Bent, Owers (Seal 80), Nugent, S Patterson, Starbuck - subs not used: Munro, Hewlett
Scorers: none
Bookings: Nugent 24 (foul), Hansen 32 (foul), Patterson 42 (foul), Owers 44 (foul)
Referee: Mr M J Brandwood (Blackpool) Attendance: 5,564 (away 686)

Speaking after the game Manager Alan Smith said: "We need to be sharper in the box. Other teams in the Football League and in the Premiership will look at us and see we are well organised and difficult to beat. But we have got to be more clinical with our finishing and show a little bit more flair and self-belief" He added: "Their goalkeeper made three excellent saves and our goal keeper made one. I think that sums it up really. But I think everybody did their job except the finishing."

Commenting on the forthcoming League Cup tie at Manchester City, Smith said: "We will be up for that game, no doubt about it". Meanwhile, Assistant David Kemp went on to say: "It was obvious from the first game that we’ve got nothing to fear. Things have probably got worse for them and better for us. It’ll be a great experience for the lads. I hope they go out and enjoy it." The tie at Maine Road would come before Wanderers League visit to Burnley the following Saturday. "Manchester City will be like a night off for us, and on Saturday we’ll be back grinding out points in the league", said Kemp.
Next game - Manchester City v Wycombe - Wednesday 4th October 1995
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