Also from 1998/99
APRIL '99 NEWS
|April 1999 Special Report|
The game at Maine Road on Saturday 24th April 1999 was so memorable that we make no apologies for dedicating a special page to what was, after all, ONLY a league game. Playing in front of near 30,000 crowd, Wycombe put in a breathtaking display to stun the locals and send the heavily outnumbered (but not outsung) Wycombe fans into dreamland.
MANCHESTER CITY v WYCOMBE WANDERERS
Saturday 24th April 1999 - Division Two
Almost exactly twenty five years prior to this game Wycombe were drawing 1-1 at Leatherhead in front of less than a 1,000 people as The Wanderers went on to claim the Isthmian League Championship. City meanwhile were beating Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford in the old First Division before a 57,000 gate - the famous Dennis Law back-flick goal confirming that the Reds were going down to Division Two. Oh how times change. A fixture like this was unthinkable for Wycombe fans as little as six or seven years ago but to go there and actually win on merit and thus complete the double over City. It's what dreams are made of.
It was certainly a day that will stick in the memories of Wycombe fans for a long long time for many reasons. Having been pushed out on a limb in a 1,000 capacity temporary stand, the Wycombe fans could have been forgiven for thinking that they were merely unwanted accessories to City's promotion party piece. But Wycombe strolled into town and had their own private party as the 29,000 locals could only look on in disbelief as their beloved City side got it all wrong.
Sanchez and Wycombe got it all right yet again and went at City from the off. After just 5 minutes Sean Devine scooped the ball over after Jermaine McSporran had sprinted down the right in front of the massive Kippax Stand before delivering a good cross. On 11 minutes Martin Taylor dropped a City corner from the right but the ball was scrambled clear. Steve Brown was injured in the commotion but he played on regardless. It was also to be Taylor's last error as he went on to play a blinder. Devine showed his pace on 14 minutes when he raced through but he was hauled back by Gerard Wiekens. The City man was booked and Michael Forsyth, playing his first league game for over a year, also found his way into the book for complaining that a yellow card wasn't enough for Wiekens. A minute later Wycombe were ahead when a delightful flick by Devine fell on a plate to Andy Baird who stroked the ball crisply into the back of the net right in front of the soon delerious Wycombe fans. City responded and Taylor made the first of many top-drawer saves when he pushed Michael Brown's drive wide after Cooke had chipped through on 17 minutes. Michael Simpson saw a 30 yarder dip just inches over on 25 minutes after Devine had mis-controlled and the ball broke loose. Three minutes later Cooke blazed over at the other end much to the amusement of the Wycombe fans before those same fans went into a new level of pleasure. On 30 minutes City had a free-kick deep in their own half taken by 'keeper Nicky Weaver. Forsyth meet the clearance with a searching 40 yard header that found Baird who re-payed Devine for the first goal when he played on to Sean Devine, who finished with one clinical touch. A very sweet moment.
Dickov saw Martin Taylor tip away his shot on the turn after 35 minutes as City Manager Joe Royle brought on Aussie striker Danny Allsopp to try and break through the resolute Wycombe defence. Taylor made a string of saves before the break including smoothering a free-kick and blocking a near post header after City moved in from the right. Wycombe held out until the stroke of half-time when the defence took too long to clear their lines and when the ball came in low from the right, Shaun Goater was grateful to smash the ball past a helpless Taylor. The half-time whistle came as a massive relief to the Wycombe fans who were now preparing for a second-half onslaught.
Half-time City 1 Wycombe 2
Strangely, though, the mad rush never really came. Sanchez played another trick by taking off the tiring McSporran and bringing on Alan Beeton after 52 minutes. Two minutes later City went close when Andy Morrisons's header scraped the top of the Wycombe cross-bar after a City free-kick from the left. Devine had a golden chance to increase the lead on 56 minutes but he screwed his shot across the face of the goal after he had only Weaver to beat from the right side. Brown got himself booked and nearly worse on 66 minutes when he jumped into a challenge and then mouthed it to the ref. It was around this point that you wonder just how many times you can look at the clock and see that just another minute has passed. It was now all City but their finishing was as bad as the game at Adams Park back in November. Allsopp missed from close range from a Terry Cooke corner and Goater shot wide from 10 yards after Lawrence wanted too much time on the ball and lost possession. Danny Senda was thrown into the cauldron with five minutes left as the locals started to leave their seats in their droves. It was just another thirty glances at the clock later, at around 16:53, that the final whistle was blown and the Wycombe fans and players could celebrate a momumental (©Martin O'Neill) victory.
Final Score Manchester City 1 Wycombe Wanderers 2
WYCOMBE TEAM:Taylor, McCarthy, Lawrence, Vinnicombe, Forsyth, Ryan, McSporran (sub 52 Beeton), Simpson, Brown, Devine (sub 85 Senda), Baird sub not used Lee
CITY TEAM:Weaver, Edghill, Vaughan (sub 35 Allsopp), Wiekins, Morrison, Horlock, Brown, Bishop, Dickov, Goater, Cooke subs not used Taylor and Whitley. Att: 29,337
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