FA CUP 2nd Round 1996
RED'S LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY
Saturday 7th December 1996
Barnet 3 Wycombe 3
If the red kit was meant to be lucky then it certainly did the trick at Underhill as Wycombe fought their way back from the dead to force a replay at Adams Park. 2-0 down at half-time, Wycombe looked out of the competition for another year but two goals in a minute in the second half and then a desperate strike by John Williams in the 77th minute after Sean Devine had restored Barnet lead left the Wycombe fans more than happy.
The match was never going to be easy with so many players unavailable. A half-fit Gary Patterson was recalled to midfield and John Gregory also gave youngster Maurice Harkin his first ever taste of First Team action with a second-half substitute appearance. Matt Lawrence also filled in at the back for the injured Jason
Barnet took the lead with their first serious shot on goal - Sean Devine weaving his way in from the right wing, playing the ball across to Phil SIMPSON whose curling shot from the left hand edge of the box found the right hand top corner of the Wycombe goal.
Wycombe responded with long range shots from Desouza and Lawrence and on 24 minutes Dave Carroll nipped into the Barnet box but as the ball flew across the face of the goal the vital final touch was missing. Barnet stepped up a gear on the half hour when a serious of efforts ended with the home side doubling their lead. This time it was Wilson out on the right wing whose cross eventually fell to Lee HODGES - the ex-Wycombe player's low shot squeezing through a crowd of players and just inside Cheesewright's left hand post. Wycombe had an immediate opportunity to strike back when Patterson was fouled on the edge of the box on 37 minutes but Mickey Bell couldn't match his accuracy from the game with Millwall and floated the free-kick over the bar. Wycombe continued to press up to the break with Lawrence unable to direct a Farrell cross and then Bell forcing a save from the Barnet 'keeper after Cousins and Carroll had combined. A minute before the break Farrell had a flying header deflected wide from 6 yards after a sweeping right wing cross from Carroll.
Half-time Barnet 2 Wycombe 0
The game appeared to be slipping from Wycombe's grasp as the second half progressed with McCarthy and McGavin both collecting bookings for strong challenges but it was those two who were involved in Wycombe's first goal. The lifeline came in the 59th minute when a long clearance by McCarthy was picked up in midfield by Farrell and just as the opportunity appeared to be lost, the ball broke to Steve McGAVIN 20 yards from goal and his low shot zipped into the Barnet net. Irish Under 19 International Maurice Harkin was brought on directly after the goal and he saw Wycombe level within 60 seconds.
McGavin, with a new lease of life after the goal, sped down the left wing and delivered a high cross into the box where John WILLIAMS towered above the Barnet defence to loop a header very nicely into the opposite corner of the net to make the score 2-2. A shell shocked Barnet then fought their way back into the game with Sean Devine being their centre of attention up front. Cheesewright nipped out to beat the Irishman to the ball on 63 minutes but he was not so lucky 5 minutes later - Micky Tomlinson pushing the ball through to DEVINE just inside the right hand side of the Wycombe box and he expertly pulled his shot back across to beat
Cheesewright. Wycombe forced the replay with 13 minutes left. A quick throw on the right wing by Lawrence was returned to the taker by Harkin and when the ball was sent high into the Barnet area, Desouza outjumped the Barnet defence and flicked the ball on for John WILLIAMS to slide delightfully home to thrill the Wycombe fans at the opposite end of the ground. The best chance to win the game for either side fell to Devine in the final minute when he swivelled in the box but thankfully for the 1,000 plus Wycombe following the ball inched past the post.
So Wycombe live to fight another day and have a chance to reach the Third Round for only the fifth time in their history. Gregory and Wycombe fans will be hoping that the return of key players will turn the tie in Wycombe's
WYCOMBE: Cheesewright, Cousins, Bell, McCarthy,
Lawrence, Patterson (sub 60 Harkin), Carroll, Williams, Farrell, McGavin, Desouza (sub 78
Skiverton). sub not used:McGorry
BARNET: Taylor, Gale, Hardyman, Codner, Primus, Howarth, Tomlinson, Simpson, Wilson, Devine, Hodges - sub not used: Brazil, McDonald, Campbell