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Wycombe Wanderers 2
Brentford 1
Saturday 16th March 1996
Football League Division Two

'Three points, relegation fears quashed, local rivals beaten, more than two shots on target. Everything is wonderful again. NOT! Most Wycombe fans will admit this was an improvement on recent results but Brentford did very little to test the Wycombe defence - with Dykstra, on his home debut, only making one serious save and that was in the 90th minute.' - that was how the COTN archives reported this 2-1 victory over Brentford at Adams Park. The report concluded: 'The final whistle signaled a relieved cheer from the Adams Park faithful but it was dissapointing to see Alan Smith and assistant David Kemp head straight for the dressing room while the players acknowledged the crowd with applause.'

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash wrote: 'Wycombe Wanderers skip per Terry Evans topped off a happier day’s work by Blues when he scored the winner against his old club Brentford on Saturday. Evans’s 61st-minute header was one of the highlights of Wycombe’s dominant second-half performance, one which ensured Dave Webb’s side were given little opportunity to spring any late surprises at Adams Park.

A tense Blues boss Alan Smith looked as if he were steeling himself for the worst possible scenario In the game’s dying moments, with luck and the players’ own contributory quirks having counted against them time and again this season. But he said afterwards that he was satisfied with his players’ performance, which followed on from last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury.

Brentford boss Dave Webb, on the other hand, was disappointed with his side’s general performance after they failed to build on snatching an equaliser which had momentarily unnerved Blues in the first half. The bottom line to the former Chelsea star was that he felt his players had let themselves down in the pride department. Saturday’s result made it two consecutive defeats which has undermined the London club’s efforts to claim mid-table stability after spending the first half of this season flirting with the prospect of relegation.

Such peaks-and-troughs echo those of Wycombe in recent weeks, but with Saturday’s win following a steady, although not outstanding, performance at Shrewsbury, at least the rot has been stopped and smiles have returned to the players’ faces, not least that of Evans. The scorer of a match winning header said afterwards: “It’s always nice to score against your old club. I couldn’t really fault the lads in the second half. A few heads went down again after they scored the equaliser and I thought: ‘Here we go again’, but the lads stuck at it and went out there thinking really positive in the second half.”

Saturday’s match didn’t really come to life until Dave Carroll opened the scoring, although Brentford midfielder Scott Canham felt confident to unleash a handful of long-range efforts at Blues’ on loan goalkeeper Sieb Dykstra who gobbled them up. Dykstra’s opposite number Kevin Dearden was left apoplectic at Brentford’s defence after Carroll stole into the box unmarked to head home Mickey Bell’s left-wing cross on 24 minutes.

Wycombe’s lead was shortlived, however. The visitors were level within three minutes after, almost predictably, Brentford’s old firm up front of the young Nicky Forster and older Robert Taylor clicked into gear to make Wanderers wobble. A slick pass from Taylor from midfield left Blues’ defence for dead and Forster with plenty of space and time to run on and score. Wycombe could have done with Carroll finding the back of the net rather than the side netting after he was found in space by Gary Patterson’s free kick which was flicked on by Evans on 42 minutes.

Evans had a header cleared off the line and Ryan’s header from the rebound was pushed over the bar amid Wycombe’s bright start to the second half. Wycombe consistent frustrations in front of goal continued, with strikers John Williams, who worked hard with no reward, and Steve McGavin, who struggled once again, not sufficiently rewarding the amount of possession Blues had.

Evans gave Blues some breathing space when he rose to emphatically power Paul Hardyman’s corner under the crossbar in the 61st minute. McGavin’s lack of confidence in front of goal was underlined when an excellent run and well-timed centre from Williams left him ideally placed to score, but the striker’s shot was slow and low enough for Dearden to rush out and smother it. Although Wycombe were still obviously not home and dry, Dykstra’s contribution — plucking everything out of the air with the greatest of ease — provided reassuring back-up in the dying moments.'

Wycombe: Dykstra, Cousins, Bell, Howard, Evans, Hardyman, Carroll, Ryan, McGavin, Williams, Patterson - subs not used: Desouza, Rowbotharn, Farrell
Scorers: Carroll 24, Evans 61
Bookings: ?
Brentford: Dearden, Harvey, Anderson, Ashby, Bates, Green (sub 77 Omigie), Canham, Smith, Forster, Grainger, Taylor - subs not used: Hutchings, Fernandez
Scorers: Forster 27
Bookings: ?
Referee: Mr K Leach (Brewood, Staffs) Attendance: 4,912

Manager Alan Smith was back on speaking terms with the press after game, saying: "It was a’ good team effort. We should have scored a few ‘more goals. I don’t really think the scoreline is a fair reflection of the ‘game. But the performance showed that we can work well as a unit. Sometimes we have not seen the whole picture this season, but today, it's very much a collective effort,"

Next game - Rotherham v Wycombe - Saturday 23rd March 1996
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