FA CUP 3rd Round Review
WYCOMBE WANDERERS 0
v BRADFORD CITY 2
Sunday 5th January 1997
There was an air of massive disappointment as the Wycombe fans made their way home from Adams Park on Sunday following a 2-0 home reverse to Bradford City in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. Wycombe were left contemplating what might of been after a series of missed early chances and then a double first half strike by 33 year old John Dreyer - both goals coming from shots outside of the box and after controversially given free-kicks by referee Uriah Rennie.
On another bitterly cold afternoon, it was Wycombe who came out firing on all cylinders. In the opening minute Bell sent in a low cross from the left and Dreyer was forced to clear for a corner on the right. Carroll, returning to the side after being dropped for the Walsall game, delivered the corner and Bradford 'keeper Mark Schwarzer did well to smoother a Michael Forysth header as Wycombe sensed a early goal. On 5 minutes a Bell corner on the left was picked up short by McGavin but Schwarzer got down again to save. It was to be one of few saves, however, for the Australian International as Wycombe began a series of woeful attempts on the Bradford goal. Steve Brown headed over from close range on 7 minutes and 6 minutes later it was McGavin's turn as he volleyed over after Bell had provided again from the left. Wycombe were dealt a bitter blow on 24 minutes when Jason Kavanagh was pulled up for what looked to a fair challenge out on the Bradford right wing. With the Wycombe players still arguing about the decision, the free-kick was curled in and John DREYER gave a shooting lesson as he fired home from the edge of the box past a statue like Cheesewright. There was worse to come on 30 minutes when Captain Jason Cousins was penalised for tangling with Carl Shutt, also out on the Bradford right. A very lethargic looking Chris Waddle took the free-kick again and with an almost carbon copy of the first goal DREYER drilled home again to stun the Wycombe fans and send the team in at half-time trailing and rueing their poor finishing.
Half-time Wycombe 0 Bradford 2
It was obvious that Wycombe needed an early second-half breakthrough to get themselves and the crowd going again but it was the same old story of the season so far, as shot after shot was sent wide, mis-hit or simply not hit at all! Steve Brown was culprit again after less than a minute into the second-half when he fired over, then on 49 minutes McGavin lashed a shot from the left wing wide and high into the frustrated fans in the Valley terrace. John Gregory and an animated Wycombe bench bench urged the players forward for assault on the City goal but it was a day DeSouza and Williams will want to forget. Bradford, meanwhile ventured forward on 61 minutes but defender Richard Liburd screwed his effort wide from the right. Still cheered on by a relatively optimistic home crowd, Brown won a free-kick on the left, with Carroll setting up DeSouza but the outcome was the inevitable miss. Wycombe did get the ball into the net on 68 minutes when Carroll ran through on goal but the flag went up early for offside. John Gregory sent on big Terry Evans in the 72nd minute in the unusual role of centre-forward as the situation became desperate. Evans made his presence felt in more ways than one as he caused a scramble in the Bradford 6 year box on 78 minutes, then 4 minutes later Evans towered up to nod the ball down for McCarthy to force a rare piece of action for Schwarzer. The game was summed up in the final minute of normal time when a left wing corner was floated in by Carroll but Evans headed wide of the mark.
Full-time Wycombe 0 Bradford 2
So Wycombe continue their record of having never reached the 4th Round and also never scoring a goal at the 3rd Round stage in 5 attempts. Bradford go on to face Everton in the 4th Round at Goodison Park. Wycombe and their fans, meanwhile, can only hope that the forwards find their feet or Gregory finds alternatives up front before the goal drought costs Wycombe their place in Division Two.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Cousins, Bell, Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forsyth, Carroll, Williams (sub 61 Farrell), DeSouza, McGavin, Brown (sub 72 Evans). sub not used:Harkin
BRADFORD TEAM: Schwarzer, Libard, Jacobs, Kiwomya (sub 77 Wright), Mohan, Dreyer, Hamilton (sub 77 Pinto), Duxbury, Waddle, Shutt, O'Brien sub not used: Steiner