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August 1997 Reports
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Wigan Athletic 5 Wycombe 2 - Sat 9th August 1997 - Division 2 >>
Wycombe 1 Fulham 2 - Tue 12th August 1997 - Coca Cola Cup 1R 1L >>
Wycombe 0 Northampton 0 - Sat 16th August 1997 - Division 2 >>
Blackpool 2 Wycombe 4 - Sat 23rd August 1997 - Division 2 >>
Fulham 4 Wycombe 4 - Tue 26th August 1997 - Coca Cola Cup 1R 2L >>
Wycombe 2 Fulham 0 - Sat 30th August 1997 - Division 2 >>
 Saturday 30th August - Division Two

Wycombe reached the dizzy heights of 5th place in the Division Two table thanks to a 2-0 victory over Fulham at Adams Park. A goal in each half secured the victory with John Gregory again experimenting with the blend of players to good affect. Alan Beeton was given his full home debut in the left back role while Dave Carroll was left out. John Cornforth continued his creditability climb with another memorable goal as Wycombe laid to rest the recent Coca Cola cup exit at the hands of the boys from Craven Cottage.
Cornforth's goal goal came after just eight minutes following neat work by Brown in midfield and then Scott who laid the ball square to the Welshman who blasted home from a full 25 yards into the left hand top corner. It was just what Wycombe needed to silence the travelling fans who had seen Aidan Newhouse miss an early chance for the visitors after he broke in from the Fulham right. Newhouse was guilty of several misses throughout the game as Fulham's luck finally ran out. The goal also delighted Cornforth whose confidence multiplied 100% for the remainder of the game as he sprayed the ball around all four corners of the park. The first-half was marred or livened up depending on your point of view by a fracas in the Wycombe dug-out on 25 minutes that involved Wycombe's Men In Black (aka Gregory and Hill) and Fulham's Neil Smith. The obligatory melee of players and officials ensued and then everything returned to normal - personally I blame Ian Wright. Two minutes later Mike "I've had my 15 minutes of glory" Conroy came off second best when he tried to flatten Taylor- Conroy returned after treatment. An injury scare for Wycombe on 30 minutes when Keith Scott was forced to leave the field after aggravating his ankle injury again - he was replaced by Read who was keen to impress. 4 minutes before the break Newhouse missed another glorious chance for Fulham when he walked around a static Wycombe defence but his low shot edged pasted Taylor's right hand upright.
Half-time Wycombe 1 Fulham 0
Manager John Gregory was accompanied by a WPC for the entire second-half as the atmosphere simmered but thankfully didn't boil over. Paul Read saw a close range shot blocked on 57 minutes after a loose ball back to Walton in the Fulham goal. Two minutes later Mark Stallard battled well to win a corner on the left from which Wycombe went further ahead. The dead ball was floated to the far post by Cornforth and the combination of Mohan and McCarthy headed the ball back into the danger area where Stallard shot once against the 'keeper and then again into the net from less than 6 yards to give Wycombe a two goal cushion. Wycombe could have gone further ahead on 61 minutes when McGavin broke clear of Herrera and Blake but just flicked the ball over the bar from 12 yards out in a central position. Fulham rarely troubled the Wycombe defence - even the introduction of Oxford throw-out Paul Moody late on couldn't help Fulham, his woeful finishing just giving added amusement to the Wycombe fans.
Three very nice points - Man of the match John Cornforth

Full-time Wycombe 2 Fulham 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Kavanagh, Beeton, Mohan, McCarthy, Forsyth, Cornforth, Scott (sub 30 Read), Stallard (sub 88 Harkin), McGavin (sub 79 Simpson), Brown - Att:6,278
Tuesday 26th August - Coca Cola Cup 1st Rnd 2nd Leg

A reshuffled Wycombe side bowed out 6-5 on aggregate to Fulham after the return leg of the Coca Cola tie at Craven Cottage ended 4-4. The goal feast included seeing Keith Ryan match Mike Conroy for 'goal of the season' with a stunning individual effort in the first half. Ryan was returning after injury, playing as wingback with Dave Carroll, as Wycombe threw caution to the wind. Loan player Nicky Mohan was forced to sit out at Bradford City's request while Maurice Harkin made his first start in a Wycombe shirt with Paul Read playing alongside Keith Scott up front.
Trailing from the first leg, Wycombe got off to worst possible start, conceeding a 5th minute goal to Aidan Newhouse after Harkin had gone close for Wycombe. Fulham went further ahead on aggregate in the 24th minute through Richard Carpenter. The goal feast continued after 30 minutes when Keith Ryan scored his wonder goal. Ryan picked the ball up in his own half and set off, passing the half way line before thumping home from about 35 yards in front of the Wycombe following at the away end of Craven Cottage. Any chance of a Wycombe revival was seemingly snuffed 4 minutes before the break when a Steve Hayward freekick was picked up by Paul Brooker whose shot was deflected but Newhouse stuck the loose ball away
Half-time Fulham 3 Wycombe 1
A typical Keith Scott goal gave Wycombe a little hope on 51 minutes when Maurice Harkin set-up Scotty from extreme close range. It was Harkin himself who levelled the scores on the night with a 25 yard chip to open his first team account for Wycombe. Fulham gave themselves further breathing space on 65 minutes when Micky Conroy scored. and from then on Fulham dominated and could have gone further ahead but for Taylor, although Taylor had McCarthy to thank for a goal-line clearance. Wycombe finally made another breakthrough on 81 minutes when a Keith Scott effort shaved the post and from the resulting corner by John Cornforth the ball deflected in off a Fulham defender. Wycombe went all out for the winner with Brown going close and McCarthy forcing a save from Walton in the Fulham goal as the home fans screamed for the final whistle.

Full-time Fulham 4 Wycombe 4 (Fulham win 6-5 on aggregate)
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Carroll (sub 72 McGavin), Ryan (sub 57 Brown), Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forsyth, Cornforth (sub 82 Stallard), Harkin, Simpson, Scott, Reid - Att:5,055
Saturday 23rd August - Division Two

Wycombe took all three points from the trip to Blackpool as the finishing that had deserted them at Wigan turned full circle with Mark Stallard picking up two goals - the first a real comedy of errors - and John Cornforth capping another good display in midfield with a delightful second-half chip. John Gregory chose to give Alan Beeton his full Wycombe debut while Dave Carroll was dropped and Steve Brown was forced out with a combination of sunstroke and bronchitis.
In stark contrast to last week's heatwave conditions at Adams Park, Bloomfield Road was blessed with torrential rain for the majority of the ninety minutes. Those conditions didn't help the flow of the game with neither side able to take control. Blackpool took the lead after 23 minutes when a move down the left wing ended with a deep cross that Quinn headed home after Taylor hesitated. It looked ominous but Wycombe responded well and the equaliser came on 36 minutes when Stallard's initial shot hit the post before he contrived to miss an open goal from the rebound - luckily McGavin was on hand to spare the blushes and square the ball back to give Stallard another go. 2 minutes later Wycombe were ahead when Jason Kavanagh saw a shot from the right hand edge of the box take a wicked deflection and end in the net.
Half-time Blackpool 1 Wycombe 2
Wycombe went further ahead 5 minutes after the break when Stallard raced through from the half-way line before nipping the ball over Banks in the pool goal. As the Wycombe fans went into dreamland having waited until Christmas of last season to see an away win, the best was yet to come. On 62 minutes Keith Scott pulled the ball back from the left, Simpson set up Cornforth on the opposite edge of the box and the midfielder sent in a delightfully placed chip that nestled nicely in the Blackpool net via the underside of the bar. There was still time for Taylor to make a couple of good stops but the Blackpool finishing would be kindly be stated as being poor. Gary Brabin scored with a 30 yarder in injury time but by this time the locals had either gone home or were looking for better things at Man City in the week.

Full-time Blackpool 2 Wycombe 4
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Kavanagh, Beeton, Mohan, McCarthy, Forsyth, Cornforth, Scott (sub 78 Harkin), Stallard (sub 83 Read), McGavin (sub 77 Carroll), Simpson - Att:4,733
Saturday 16th August - Division Two

Nicky Mohan made an impressive Wycombe debut against Northampton as the Wanderers looked for their first win of the campaign. Keith Scott, who sprained an ankle in last weeks nightmare at Wigan, returned up front, with Paul Read and Jason Kavanagh being the unlucky duo left out. However, on another painfully hot and muggy day, Wycombe had to settle for a point with both sides missing at hatful of chances and never really testing either 'keeper.
In a drab first half Northampton wasted a couple of early chances while Wycombe failed to make any progress up front until 6 minutes before the break when a Keith Scott shot was deflected wide for a corner. Michael Simpson's effort was blocked from the resulting Carroll deadball but the visitor's could have taken the lead just before the break when David Seal found himself in space in front of goal but he fired wide into the Valley terrace.
Half-time 0-0
Wycombe dominated the second half with Steve Brown turning in a great performance in front of his old fans, who, in the true spirit of football, gave him some real stick! On 54 minutes Simpson and Carroll combined on the left side and when the ball broke to Mohan he saw his shot fly fractionally wide of the left hand upright. 5 minutes later Brown tried his luck again from long range but although it contained accuracy it was comfortably picked up by the Northampton 'keeper. Steve McGavin broke from midfield on 65 minutes with the outcome a floated cross to the far post where Scotty met it well but the ball went inches wide of the top corner of the Northampton goal. The Cobblers responded within 30 seconds but their chance went begging again. As the game headed for a stalemate both sides made that final push for all three points. On 84 minutes, after Northampton had claimed a penalty, Wycombe broke down the right with McGavin flashing in a low shot but off target, then with 3 minutes left a John Gayle cross from the Northampton right looked to be sailing over Taylor but the 'keeper recovered to palm the ball up and Mohan was there to hack the ball away and save Taylor further embarrassment after Tuesday's fiasco against Fulham. Wycombe still had time for one more chance when Brown galloped down the left. He sent in a hard cross for Stallard to head on the run but sadly it was just wide of the near post. Scotty picked up a knock in injury time (thankfully it didn't look too serious) and was replaced by Read but the draw was a fair result with both sides still left without a win.

Full-time Wycombe 0 Northampton 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Cornforth, Brown, Mohan, McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Scott (sub 92 Read), Stallard, McGavin, Simpson Subs not used: Harkin and Kavanagh. Att: 5,130
Tuesday 12th August - Coca Cola Cup 1st Rnd 1st Leg

Wycombe trail Fulham by a single goal after another loopy goal conceeded. This time it was a 45 yard shot from just over the half-way line by Mike Conroy. The goal after 72 minutes beat Taylor back to his line and came after Wycombe's best spell of the game. Fulham had taken the lead in the 28th minute when Aidan Newhouse headed home a right wing cross from Glenn Cockerill but Wycombe ground their way back and finally equalised 4 minutes before the break when Carroll weaved in from the right and Paul Read nipped in to put the ball home.
Without the injured Keith Scott, Wycombe lacked that final touch up front but like at Wigan on Saturday, created enough chances to have won the game. Mark Stallard went close as early as the first minute when a right foot drive flashed over the Fulham bar. Aidan Newhouse was causing the most problems for the Wycombe defence and Taylor had to alert to grab a shot from the right at the second attempt. It was Newhouse in an unmarked position at the far post who gave Fulham the lead and Wycombe more defensive headaches. Wycombe's equaliser came after a period of sustained pressure from the Wanderers and again it was the creative Carroll who provided the ball for Read to flick past Walton in the Fulham goal.
Half-time Wycombe 1 Fulham 1
Kicking towards the Valley terrace Wycombe dominated most of the second-half. On 58 minutes Carroll crossed from the right, Read headed goalwards but the chance was blocked and then Brown thundered in a drive that was also shut out by the Fulham defence. 4 minutes later yet another Carroll cross from the right, this time to the near post, should have seen Read test the 'keeper but the chance squirted wide. Fulham's decisive goal on 72 minutes was a bitter blow to the spirit of the team and particularly Martin Taylor's who will not be enjoying his baptism in the Second Division. John Gregory gave Maurice Harkin a chance to prove himself in the closing stages and he was involved in Wycombe's best chance to draw level again on 88 minutes. A long clearance by Taylor was picked up by Harkin whose shot on the run was deflected back towards Read who rifled in again but Walton managed to palm the ball wide for a corner.

Full-time Wycombe 1 Fulham 2
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Cornforth, Brown, Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Read, Stallard, McGavin (sub 76 Harkin), Simpson Subs not used Beeton and Ryan. Att:4,360
Saturday 9th August - Division Two

Wycombe started where they left off last season - with an away defeat and a howler of a defensive display. The final score-line of 5-2 to Wigan however is total flattery to the home side who were gifted at least three of the goals as Wycombe trailed 4-0 at half-time. Scotty finally put Wycombe back in the frame with two quick goals in the second-half but an injury on 77 minutes forced his departure and with went Wycombe's hope of a dramatic comeback.
The match played in heatwave conditions saw a lively opening by both sides with Wycombe creating a clear opening after just 2 minutes - Stallard pushing the ball across from the left for Scott to put inches wide. Wigan took their early advantage on 5 minutes when a right wing cross by Scott Green was directed past Taylor by the stooping head of debutant Brendan O'Connell signed recently from Charlton Athletic. Wycombe countered with a wealth of opportunities to draw level - McGavin being the prime culprit in wasting at least three chances. On 7 minutes he saw a header cleared off the line and minutes later should have scored when the hard work of Dave Carroll on the right bye-line set the striker up from less than 10 yards. Wigan striker David Lowe forced a finger tip save from Martin Taylor on 13 minutes while at the other end Carroll found Wigan back in numbers as he saw a shot cleared off the line. It was on 28 minutes when disaster struck for Wycombe. A corner from the right was beaten vertically sky-bound by Taylor and in the resulting chaos he flapped the ball against his own bar and O'Connell was more than delighted to pounce on the loose chance. Within a minute Wycombe were 3-0 down following another bizare goal - this time a 35 yard effort from Scott Green taking a wicked deflection off another Wigan player to leave Taylor total wrong footed and with no chance. Could it get any worse? YES, as on 41 minutes a fairly harmless Wigan cross from the left was needlessly handballed by Forsyth at the far post. What he was thinking of I do not know - we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and blame it on sun-stroke. The resultanting penalty by Green summed up Wycombe's luck as the shot was saved by Taylor but Ian Kilford was first to react as the Wycombe defence were melted to the spot. There was even time for Wycombe to miss yet another chance when Scott pushed another effort just wide from 12 yards on the stroke of half-time.
Half-time Wigan 4 Wycombe 0
With Wigan sitting back on their lead in the second-half, Wycombe had to score eventually and it came following the introduction of John Cornforth for the disappointing Keith Ryan on 64 minutes. He immediately set-up a good chance for Stallard but the ex-Bradford striker had an off day in front of goal - particularly when he's forced to play on the left - and missed the opening at the near post. Two minutes later, however, Wycombe got their goal when McGavin took the ball to the right hand bye-line before pulling back for Scott to thump sweetly home from the edge of the box - the ball crossing the Wigan line via the crossbar. It was 4-2 on 69 minutes when Brown switched the ball from the left side to Carroll who curled in a cross for Scott to head home in typical Scotty fashion from about a 8 yards. In our ideal fantasy football world this report would continue with Scott going on to claim his hat-trick, Dave Carroll to run the entire length of the pitch before scoring with a back heel off the post and teenager Alan Beeton coming on to score the winner with a 25 yard shot from the left wing that left the home fans stunned. In reality, however, Scotty came worse off after a 50/50 challenge in the 6 yard box on 77 minutes and his departure on a stretcher was not in my script. Alan Beeton did make his debut though and did OK with what opportunties he had. Wigan rubbed salt into the sunburns on 89 minutes when more hesitation at the back led to O'Connell claiming his hat-trick - scoring from close range after a deep ball in from the right was kept in play by the head of Carroll who couldn't find Taylor.

Final Score Wigan 5 Wycombe 2
Let's put this down to a freak result on a day not suited for football- rather than to unkindly suggest that it was a third rate defensive performance only made to look slightly respectable by Scotty being able to shot on target for at least half the time. Early days though and we're not bottom of the table, blah, blah, etc, etc.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Ryan (sub 64 Cornforth), Brown, Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Scott (sub 79 Beeton), Stallard (sub 71 Read), McGavin, Simpson Att:4,706

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