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March 1999 Reports
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Sat 6th March 1999 WYCOMBE v Colchester - Division Two
Sat 13th March 1999 WYCOMBE v Northampton - Division Two
Sat 20th March 1999 Reading v WYCOMBE - Division Two
Tue 23rd March 1999 Bristol Rovers v WYCOMBE - Division Two
Sat 27th March 1999 WYCOMBE v Oldham - Division Two
Saturday 27th March 1999 - Division Two

Wycombe waltzed to an easy 3-0 victory over a poor Oldham side in the 1.00pm kick off at Adams Park on Saturday to give new hope of avoiding the drop. Kicking away from The Valley End in the first half for the first time in weeks, the new style Wycombe side were on top from the start. Goals from Dave Carroll(2) and Paul McCarthy before the break put Wycombe on course for a second consecutive league victory for the first time since October.
With Keith Scott having moved to Reading, Sean Devine made his home debut in the light and dark blue quarters and new signing Jamie Bates slotted in at the back like he'd played there for years. Keith Ryan moved into midfield - with Steve Brown suspended.
Wycombe tore into Oldham from the off. On 3 minutes a quick move from the back saw Carroll provide from the right for Devine to hit a sweet shot that hit the right hand upright. Two minutes later a mazey run from Andrew Baird right into the heart of the Oldham box ended with the 'keeper smothering. Wycombe took the lead on 16 minutes when Vinnicombe and Simpson exchanged on the left before Emblen lofted into a ball that Carroll side-footed home despite Kelly's attempt to keep it out. With the score still at 1-0, Martin Taylor made a crucial save on 26 minutes when he got his finger tips to a low angled shot from Andy Gray after the loan striker had broke in from the left. Wycombe killed the game off in the ten minutes before the break. On 35 minutes Baird laided the ball back to Emblen on the left side another flighted cross was headed home by Carroll from an almost identical position as his first goal. Two minutes before the interval a right wing corner from Simspon saw McCarthy's downward header beat Kelly with ease.
Half-time Wycombe 3 Oldham 0
Oldham never threatened in the second-half and must have left their fans wondering if they might be sucked into the relegation zone. Wycombe had further chances to chalk up more goals. Baird blazed over on 46 minutes and a Bates cross from the left on the hour mark saw McCarthy head over at the far post. With fifteen minutes left Baird broke from midfield before playing through to Devine who hit the woodwork again with a fierce shot that cannoned back just out of range of Baird. Sanchez gave a Football League debut to Danny Senda on 79 minutes as he and McSporran revelled in the shocking form of the Oldham defence. Oldham contrived a further effort on goal on the stroke of full-time but Wycombe had the final say with Devine and McSporran both going close in injury time.

Final Score Wycombe 3 Oldham 0
WYCOMBE TEAM:Taylor, Ryan, Vinnicombe, McCarthy, Bates, Lawrence, Carroll (sub 79 Senda), Simpson, Emblen, Devine, Baird (sub 79 McSporran) sub not used Beeton Att:4,083

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Tuesday 23rd March 1999 - Division Two

After over ten months of waiting Wycombe finally achieved the long awaited away victory with a fantastic 2-0 victory at The Memorial Ground, Bristol. A brave header from Jason Cousins gave Wycombe an early lead before Mr Sean Devine almost tore the net out late on to seal the points. The Wycombe players saluted the loyal fans at the final whistle - could this be the start of a famous recovery? Team news at the Memorial Ground saw Lawrie Sanchez favour Paul McCarthy in the centre of defence ahead of Keith Ryan and with Keith Scott unwell on the way down to Bristol, Sean Devine had the opportunity to make his first start in a Wycombe shirt. Devine's goal at Reading the previous Saturday had been the talking point for Wycombe fans prior to the game and his enforced partnership with Baird caused several problems for the Rovers defence although Baird took such a bashing he was replaced at half-time by Jermaine McSporran.
This was always going to be make or break night for Wycombe and they got off to the flying start when Michael Simpson's corner from the right was powered into the Rovers net by the head of Jason Cousins after just 8 minutes. It was a brave near post header amongst the flying boots and Cousins was flat out for about a minute before hobbling off with some sort of leg injury. A few minutes later a dazed Cousins was replaced by Ryan. The main danger a lame Rovers side came from Jason Roberts who gave Ryan the run around for most of the night.
Wycombe continued to press after the break for a vital second goal as the locals started to get restless. McSporran had a golden opportunity just five minutes into the second-half when he rushed at a shot after Brown provided. Taylor made a great save on 56 minutes after Simpson lost out to Cureton before Rovers brought on 17 year old Nathan Ellington. It was now nail biting time for Wycombe fans. Simpson escaped with a yellow card for a fierce challenge on Ellington after 70 minutes as it started getting desperate. Then on 83 minutes a quick throw from Vinnicombe right in front of the Wycombe contingent was knocked back and forth, before Sean Devine, with his back to goal, turned and in one touch crashed the ball home to send the loyal band of 200 or so travelling Wycombe fans into ecstasy.

Final Score Bristol Rovers 0 Wycombe 2
WYCOMBE TEAM:Taylor, Brown, Vinnicombe, McCarthy, Cousins (sub 15 Ryan), Lawrence, Carroll, Simpson, Emblen, Devine, Baird (sub HT McSporran) sub not used Westhead Att:4,833

including 23 Mar   P  W  D  L  F  A PTS
13 Blackpool      36 10 13 13 33 41 43 
14 Luton          36 11  9 16 42 51 42 
15 Bristol R      35  9 13 13 47 43 40 
16 Notts Co       35 11  7 17 42 52 40 
17 Colchester     36  8 15 13 39 53 39 
18 Oldham         36 10  7 19 37 50 37 
19 York           36  9  9 18 43 64 36 
20 Lincoln  C     35 10  6 19 33 57 36 
21 Burnley        36  8 11 17 37 65 35 
22 Northampton    36  7 12 17 28 42 33 
23 Macclesfield   35  8  9 18 26 41 33 
24 Wycombe        36  7 10 19 35 48 31 

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Saturday 20th March 1999 - Division Two

This was another sickener for Wycombe fans as they saw the Wanderers outplay Reading for most of the game but still come away with nothing. Division Three is now looming large and it's now probably a question of when, not if. It could of been a different story, though, if Dave Carroll had put away a 40th minute penalty after Baird was fouled but his spot kick went wide right of the goal and the chance to equalise Jim McKintyre's opener on 28 minutes was gone. Andy Bernal was sent-off for the offence on Baird but Wycombe still couldn't break down ten-man Reading. The Royals had just a handful of chances on goal but scored again on 71 minutes when Wycombe lost the ball in midfield and a left wing cross was headed home by an unmarked Darren Caskey. Wycombe were given a glimmer of hope on 80 minutes when substitute Sean Devine (on loan from Barnet) cooly placed a shot past Scott Howie from the edge of the box but it was too late. A great effort all around from Wycombe and their fans but the reality of Division Three is starting to sink in.
This was the first ever league meeting between the two sides on Reading territory and the 10,000 plus crowd saw the kick-off delayed for 15 minutes due to a 'computer error' at the ticket office. It was Wycombe who had all the early possession. Keith Scott just failed to latch on to flick through from midfield after 7 minutes while on 14 minutes a Steve Brown through ball found Baird but he couldn't quite lift the ball over Howie. Scott saw a diving header go wide after a ball in from the left by Chris Vinnicombe before disaster struck. Reading hoofted the ball forward and Jason Cousins, caught in two minds between heading clear and header it back, only suceeded in contriving to loop the ball off the back of his neck into the path of McKintyre who appeared to handball it before sticking it past Taylor. The goal knocked the stuffing out of Wycombe for a while but a lifeline appeared six minutes before the break. Brown was left in space on the left and his shot was parried to Baird who was about to tap it in when he was dragged away by Mr Red Card himself Andy Bernal. Bernal even had the cheek to complain about the decision - when they were dishing out brains this chap was near the end of the queue. After Bernal had gone Carroll stepped up to take the spot kick, Howie went the wrong way but the ball went about a yard clear of the right hand post. Story of the season.
Lawrie Sanchez, who was sporting a very smart Beatlesque suit on the touchline, must have given his usual half-time roasting as Wycombe really went for it in the second-half. Wycombe forced two corners within the first two minutes - the first of which from Michael Simpson saw Brown head just over at the near post. Baird found himself through on goal on 49 minutes but he ran out of steam as he approached the target from the right edge of the area while Keith Scott saw a lobbed effort from a similar position land on the roof of the net eight minutes later. Brown picked up his obligatory yellow card on 59 minutes when he made a challenge straight from the Andy Bernal school of thinking before Sanchez brought on two more strikers. The plan backfired, however, as Wycombe lost possession in midfield and Caskey scored. Devine's late goal sparked life into the game again. Scott set up the goal and Devine only needed a couple of touches before stroking the ball in with an embarrassment of ease. A narrow miss via a diving header from Ryan on 90 minutes and a Baird effort that was blocked three minutes into injury time didn't give Wycombe their deserved point and the Wycombe fans are now preparing for the worst.

Final Score Reading 2 Wycombe 1
WYCOMBE TEAM:Taylor, Brown, Vinnicombe (sub 69 McSporran), Ryan, Cousins, Lawrence, Carroll (sub 65 Devine), Simpson, Emblen, Scott, Baird sub not used McCarthy Att:10,328

Bottom half of Division Two table including 20th March

                  P  W  D  L  F  A PTS
13 Blackpool      36 10 13 13 33 41 43 
14 Luton          35 11  8 16 41 50 41 
15 Bristol R      34  9 13 12 47 41 40 
16 Notts Co       35 11  7 17 42 52 40 
17 Colchester     36  8 15 13 39 53 39 
18 Oldham         36 10  7 19 37 50 37 
19 York           36  9  9 18 43 64 36 
20 Lincoln  C     35 10  6 19 33 57 36 
21 Burnley        36  8 11 17 37 65 35 
22 Northampton    36  7 12 17 28 42 33 
23 Macclesfield   35  8  9 18 26 41 33 
24 Wycombe        35  6 10 19 33 48 28 

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Saturday 13th March 1999 - Division Two

This was the pits. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it did. Defensive errors, a red-card and a ninth home league defeat of the season has pushed Wycombe to the bottom of the table and on present form Wycombe fans can start looking up the directions to Halifax, Hartlepool and Exeter ready for next season. Wycombe have taken five points from their last ten games and with just twelve games left you need to be the eternal optimist to see a survival route now.
Wycombe were 1-0 down after 17 minutes when the defence went to sleep and Sean Parrish nipped in to put the Cobblers ahead. The visitors looked the far better organised side and it simply wasn't happening up front for Wycombe who failed to test the Town 'keeper to any serious degree in the first-half.
A ridiculous penalty decision could have sealed the game for the Cobblers on 56 minutes. Jason Cousins was judged to have tangled too strongly with Sampson or Corazzin (only referee Mr Bates knows). Justice was done though when Carlo Corazzin's spot kick was saved by the knees of Martin Taylor. Sanchez threw on Simspon and McCarthy moments later to replace Wraight and McSporran but five minutes later ex-Cobbler Steve Brown headed down the tunnel as he was shown the red card for a second bookable offence after lunging in.
Wycombe's glimmer of hope came on 68 minutes when a quick clearance by Taylor was nodded on to Andrew Baird who side stepped the Cobblers defence before driving the ball home for another class goal. The equaliser prompted Wycombe's best spell of the game. Two minutes later Baird came in from the left to set-up Keith Ryan but his shot curled the wrong side of the target. On 81 minutes a Dave Carroll free-kick from the right found Ryan again but again the shot failed to hit the target. On 84 minutes Wycombe's season was left in tatters when Jason Cousins tried to control a long Northampton clearance back to Taylor but he only succeeded in playing the ball into the path of Corazzin who scored with ease. Wycombe nearly snatched an equaliser with a minute left when Scott saw a volley tipped over but it was too late and not even the ludicrous idea of playing a fanfare before corners could magic the ball into the net. The referee completed his day's work on planet Earth by sending off Northampton's John Frain in the third minute of injury for a badly timed tackle on Keith Ryan.

Final Score Wycombe 1 Northampton 2
WYCOMBE TEAM:Taylor, Wraight (sub 57 McCarthy), Vinnicombe, Ryan, Cousins, Lawrence, Carroll, Brown, McSporran (sub 57 Simpson), Scott, Baird sub not used Emblen Att:4,861

Bottom half of Division Two table including 13 March 99
                  P  W  D  L  F  A PTS
13 Blackpool      34 10 12 12 33 37 42 
14 Luton          34 11  8 15 40 47 41 
15 Bristol R      33  9 12 12 44 38 39 
16 Colchester     35  8 15 12 39 52 39 
17 Notts Co       33 10  7 16 38 48 37 
18 Oldham         35 10  7 18 37 49 37 
19 York           35  9  9 17 42 61 36 
20 Lincoln C      34 10  6 18 33 53 36 
21 Burnley        34  8 10 16 36 63 34 
22 Northampton    35  7 12 16 28 40 31 
23 Macclesfield   34  7  9 18 24 41 30 
24 Wycombe        34  6 10 18 32 46 28 

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Saturday 6th March 1999 - Division Two

This game will haunt Wycombe fans for ever more. It was a full ten minutes into injury time when Colchester equalised and the site of a smug David Gregory running in front of the Wycombe fans with a finger on his lips is now firmly engraved in the brain. That can be filed alongside the Paul Hyde affair (September 1991) as the Essex boys had the last laugh again at Adams Park.
Wycombe looked to be heading for three points thanks to second-half goals from Andrew Baird and Keith Scott when a wreckless challenge by Martin Taylor deep into injury cost Wycombe a vital victory against the old rivals from deepest and dumbest Essex. Colchester had gone ahead early on when Jason Dozzell nodded in after a corner from the right. Wycombe simply weren't in the game for the opening 25 minutes but after Baird had a goal ruled out for offside on the stroke of half-time, Wycombe dominated.
The opening spell was not only worrying for Wycombe fans but also for a furious Lawrie Sanchez who saw his side concede again from a set-piece. The visitors, kicking towards their own mob at the Hillbottom Road End, also had the ball in the net after just three minutes through Neil Gregory. The officials delayed long enough for the U's fans to invade the pitch and be hauled out all before offside was declared and cheer the rest of the crowd. Reality struck on 18 minutes when Dozzell scored from Aspinall's corner and it could have been worse. Wycombe began to kick-in on 24 minutes when Scotty's header forced a great save from Carl Emberson and five minutes before the break Keith Ryan had a header blocked on the line. Baird had the ball in the back of the net fron six yards as half-time approached but it was quickly given as offside and Wycombe fans avoided the urge to invade the pitch.
After the break Wycombe went for route one and it paid off on 57 minutes when a goal bound effort from McSporran hit the back of Colchester defender Joe Dunne and it fell very nicely indeed for Baird to tuck in. What should have been the match winning goal came on 76 minutes when Carroll's free kick was swung into the box and Scotty rose to head in from the edge of the six-yard box. Joy.
The time ticked away and a long stoppage for an injury to Aaron Skelton was noted by the lard like figure of Fraser Stretton - yes the same man who was fooled by the ice ballet performance of Peterborough a couple of years back. As the clock hit ninety the fourth official signalled seven extra*ttttt. After eight minutes Dave Carroll was booked for complaining and the game went on. Taylor's lunatic challenge on Neil Gregory, as the Colchester player sped in from the right, came in the ninth minute of injury time and our old friend Mr Crettin had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Brother David Gregory put the penalty away in front a fuming Valley End. Ironically, Gregory scored a 90th minute penalty to snatch victory back in September at Layer Road. Gutted is an understatement.
Surely our time will come?

Final Score Wycombe 2 Colchester 2
WYCOMBE TEAM:Taylor, Wraight, Vinnicombe, Ryan, Cousins, Lawrence, Carroll, Brown, McSporran (sub 90 Emblen), Scott, Baird (sub 86 McCarthy) sub not used Simpson Att:4,670

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