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Notts County 0
Wycombe Wanderers 1
Tuesday 7th November 2006
Football League Cup - 4th Round
Wanderers made it through to the Quarter-Finals of the League Cup after a tense fought 1-0 victory at Notts County. In an even game, where both sides had numerous chances, the vital goal came in the 49th minute when Jermaine Easter forced the ball home following a left wing cross from Scott Golbourne that County 'keeper Saul Deeney couldn't hold. Meanwhile, Wanderers 'keeper Ricardo Batista kept Wycombe ahead with two late saves.
Vicory at Meadow Lane came after Wanderers boss Paul Lambert was forced to re-shuffle his side again due to a suspension to central defender Will Antwi - sent off in the previous Saturday's game at Shrewsbury. Meanwhile, midfielder Tommy Doherty remained unavailable (serving the final game of a three match ban for a red card at Boston) but Stephan Oakes returned to the side after completing his three match ban for a red card against Doncaster.
First clear cut chance of the evening at Meadow Lane came on 4 minutes when Matt Bloomfield saw Deeney dive full length to tip a chance around the post. Tommy Mooney also headed wide from a Kevin Betsy right wing cross as Wanderers showed their intentions were not to sit back. Mooney went even closer moments later with a downward header from eight yards that Deeney managed to block and then react again to deny the follow up from Betsy.
At the other end Junior Mendes blasted County's best chance in the first-half over the cross-bar before Ricardo Batista had the home fans gasping as he produced saves to deny ex-Wanderer Gary Silk and Mike Edwards.
After the impressive display from both 'keepers in the first-half it was an error that led to the crucial goal. Four minutes after the re-start Deeney fumbled a Scott Golbourne cross the near post and Easter was on hand to convert the loose ball for his 12th goal of the season and also continue his record of scoring in every round to date. The 800 travelling contingent for Wycombe went wild.
Bloomfield, Easter and Mooney all came close to extending Wycombe’s lead but Deeney kept the home side in the tie to set up a grandstand finish as County went all-out for an equaliser. Veteran striker Jason Lee saw Batista claw away his header ten minutes from the end and then right at the death, Batista twice denied Martin before the final whistle set-up manic celebrations behind the goal at the away end.
Wanderers' feat of reaching the last eight of the Football League Cup is the first time a team from the basement division has gone this far since Doncaster Rovers in the 1975/76 season. Opponents in the Quarter-Final for Wanderers were later confirmed at Charlton Athletic away from home.
Final Score - Notts County 0 Wycombe 1
Meanwhile, Notts County manager Steve Thompson commented: "Wycombe have given us our hardest game in this competition so far, no disrespect to Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Southampton. I think they are the best team in our league. I knew it would be tight and they'd come at us from the start. They certainly defended very well but we had chances to get some goals."
Reaction from the Wycombe players saw Midfielder Kevin Betsy say: “We’re a League Two team with limited resources and to get to the quarter-finals is a fantastic achievement. Notts gave us the hardest game we have had in this competition. We had our backs against the wall at the end but everyone stood firm. Man for man we helped each other, that’s what a team is and we are a real team."
Former League Cup winner Stefan Oakes added: “I was desperate to win because it was against one of my former clubs. It gave the match an extra edge. It means everything to reach the quarter-final. At the end of the game it felt as though we had won the final itself. “The four at the back were magnificent but everyone was a hero. It was a massive team effort.”
Anthony Grant, who was a candidate for Man of the Match: “That performance was for the boys. I got sent off in the league game against Notts and I wanted to make it up to the boys by helping them get through to the next round. It doesn’t matter who we play next. We have made history for the club by getting this far but we want more.”
Goalscorer Jermaine Easter: “It was great to get the goal but more importantly we got the win. We should have won the game more convincingly because we had a lot of chances. As soon as the keeper spilled it I knew I was going to score. He had done brilliantly all night but I wasn’t going to save his blushes. It is the most important goal I have ever scored. I have scored in every round so far and hopefully I can get another in the quarter-final. It was the stuff of legends at the end when we were celebrating with the fans.”
Defender Russell Martin: “That’s the best moment of my career so far. To be in the quarter-finals is unbelievable. Every round has been awesome and we think it can get even better. I remember watching it on the television when Wycombe played Liverpool in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and I don’t see why we can’t achieve that with this team. The only disappointment was that I got booked and will now miss a game."
Goakeeper Ricardo Batista: “It was a difficult game but everyone played their part. I made some good saves but it was all about the team. I have never been in a quarter-final before and I am going to enjoy it.”
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