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Wycombe Wanderers 5
Bradford City 2
Tuesday 26th March 1996
Football League Division Two

With under 3,000 Wycombe fans at Adams Park to see it, Miguel Desouza hit another blistering hat-trick against Bradford City to complete the double over the Yorkshire side - the 5-2 victory keeping Wanderers' slim play-off hopes alive. Desouza had bagged a three goal haul in the earlier fixture at Valley Parade, however, the return at Adams Park could not have started any worse for Wycombe when after only 4 minutes Chris Kiwomya sent a looping shot high over the stranded Sieb Dykstra in the Wycombe goal. With that 'oh no not again' feeling, the lowest league crowd at Adams Park since August 1992 saw Bradford almost increase their lead on 21 minutes when a cross from the left wing was headed against the post by Amdy Ormondroyd. Two minutes later, however, Wycombe were level when Steve McGavin made a rare run down the right wing and crossed for Desouza to slot home. Keith Ryan's deflected shot on 34 minutes looped over Ward in the Bradford goal to make it 2-1 before Desouza went on to complete his hat-trick during the second-half.

Reporting for the Bucks Free Press from Adams Park, Claire Nash wrote: 'Wycombe Wanderers skipper Terry Evans put Blues’ biggest victory in the Football League down to their having the Indian Sign over opponents Bradford City. Well, whatever it was certainly did the trick when goal-starved Miquel Desousa’s hat-trick, his second against the Yorkshire club this season, and goals by Keith Ryan and Evans gave Blues’ poorest crowd of this term something to cheer about on Tuesday. A gate of 3,022 underlined supporters’ low expectations after a 0-0 draw at Rotherham last Saturday and the play-offs are more likely to remain a pipedream despite this handsome-looking, nay unbelievable, scoreline.

Blues had the key to combating Bradford’s game-plan, one which left the visiting play-off hopefuls dangerously vulnerable in defence and Wycombe exploited it to the full. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means, but improved dis plays by Wycombe’s midfield, namely Steve Brown, on his return from a two-match suspension, and up front Steve McGavin, who helped create many of the chances for strike partner Desouza, also counted in Wanderers’ favour.

Evans wasn’t quite so scientific. “We’ve got the Indian sign over them,” said Evans, in reference to doing the double over Bradford who Blues beat 4-0 at Valley Parade last September and 3-1 at Adams Park last season. He added: “Our shutting down was brilliant tonight. But I thought Bradford were very square at the back. When we caught them out, it was just a straight race from the halfway line.”

Blues are still a handful of wins away from possibly putting together an amazing run to storm into the Division Two play-offs, and that would be at the expense of teams who falter above them. Although Wanderers stay in 12th place, they are now unbeaten in four games and go into tomorrow’s match against Burnley at Adams Park in optimistic mood.

There were two additions to the squad in time for yesterday’s transfer deadline; with Terry Skiverton returning to the club on a free transfer from Chelsea. The 21-year-old defender was on loan to Wycombe at the end of last season, but went back to the Premiership club in the summer. Skiverton has been signed for the remaining six weeks of this term, with Smith having the option on whether to lengthen the contract. Former Colchester United goalkeeper John Cheesewright has been signed on a free transfer from Braintree as cover for on-loan QPR goalkeeper Sieb Dykstra. Cheesewright replaces Vince Matassa who has been released after injuring his knee.

Bradford goalkeeper Gavin Ward, meanwhile, is doing very nicely thank-you after being signed by Bolton for €400,000 the day after letting in five at Adams Park. Dykstra, on the other hand, may have sensed the eyes of former Wycombe favourite Paul Hyde boring into him from the terraces on Tuesday. With just four minutes gone, he went walk about with the ball and passed straight to Andy Kiwomya while still yards off his line. Kiwomya had plenty of time to tee up his shot and lob the frantically backpeddling Wycombe goalkeeper.

With one of Wycombe’s blood curdling nights of surreal woe on the cards after Ian Ormondroyd’s header was denied, the complexion of the match changed after Desouza got on the end of McGavin’s excellent cross from the right on 23 minutes. Soon afterwards, Ryan came up with an inspirational effort 35 yards out. After skipping through a tackle, he looked up and whacked the ball into the roof of the net with a fierce right-foot shot. “I just caught the goalkeeper off his line and it went over him,” said Ryan afterwards, and then underlined Blues’ positive thinking. “We’re now four games unbeaten and going in the right direction.”

Moments after his goal, Ryan was unlucky to have a shot charged down and Gary Patterson’s follow-up went wide. Desouza scored his second after the break after a well- worked build-up Brown’s pass unleashed McGavin on the left, the resulting cross giving an easy chance to put away from close range.

Although substitute Carl Shutt pulled one back with a long-range strike against the run of play, Wycombe marched on regardless. Desouza wrapped up his hat- trick with his best effort, picking up the ball in midfield and leaving marker Graham Mitchell eating dirt before running on to place the ball beyond Ward on 75 minutes. The striker almost got his fourth with eight minutes to go, but Evans was on hand to follow up Desouza’s header.'

Wycombe: Dykstra, Cousins, Bell, Howard, Evans, Brown, Carroll, Ryan, Desouza, McGavin, Patterson - Subs not used: Hardyman, Farrell, Rowbotham
Scorers: Desouza 23,63, 75, Ryan 36, Evans 81
Bookings: Brown
Bradford: Ward, Liburd, Brightwell, Mohan, Kiwomya, Mitchell (sub 82 Ford), Wright (sub 71 ShowIer), Duxbury, Ormondroyd (sub 65 Shutt), Stallard, Murray
Scorers: Kiwomya 4, Shutt 72
Bookings: Mohan
Referee: Mr Ian Hemley (Ampthill, Beds) Attendance: 3,021

Manager Alan Smith briefly commenting after the game, saying: "The midfield gave us a solid base to build on and our front players worked hard."

Other news that week saw the construction of the new Woodlands Stand start. The diggers moved into Adams Park on Monday 25th March 1996 to clear the embankment behind the existing Woodlands Terrace and in preperation. The roof of the Woodlands would be removed on 17th April 1996, with the terrace close for the last two games of the season. Construction was due to be completed for the start of the 1996/97 campaign.

Next game - Wycombe v Burnley - Saturday 30th March 1996
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