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Saturday 30th November 1996 WREXHAM 1 WYCOMBE 0
Wycombe will need a miracle to stay in Division Two if their luck doesn't change soon following the latest set-back at Wrexham. Having fallen behind to a goal within the first minute, Wycombe slept for the remainder of the half but then totally dominated the second period with Welsh 'keeper Andy Marriott and poor finishing costing Wycombe the chance to grab at least a point.
Manager Gregory, with team selection problems next week against Barnet, left out Steve Brown in preference for Matt Lawrence - but Lawrence looked to lack match fitness and was substituted in the second-half. Club stalwart Jason Cousins was also draughted in for Matt Crossley, in preparation for the latters suspension next week.
It was a goal after just 40 seconds that won the game for Wrexham when Deryn Brace crossed from the right wing for Craig SKINNER to volley first time past a stunned Cheesewright in the Wycombe goal. The goal sparked a spell of intense Wrexham pressure that saw Karl Connolly net the ball after 12 minutes but the flag was raised for offside. On 18 minutes Lawrence lost out in midfield and Brian Hughes was unlucky with an attempted chip. Wycombe survived the pressure but made no headway of their own and a minute before the break McGavin gave away the ball on the Wrexham right and when Hughes was pulled back by McCarthy the referee had no option but to show the yellow card - Peter Ward sent the resulting free-kick inches past Cheesewright's right hand post. Wycombe's best moment of the half??..the half-time whistle.
Half-time Wrexham 1 Wycombe 0
Wycombe's second-half performance was in stark contrast to the first - within the opening minute McGavin sent away Davis but Marriott came out to smother. Moments later McGavin saw a curling effort go a foot over the bar. With their confidence lifted, it was Wycombe who were now running the show - on 57 minutes Desouza took the ball to the right-hand bye line before delivering a low cross that Davis smashed into the body of Marriott. Wycombe's best chance of turning the game came a minute later when Davis finished a good run down the left by setting up Dave Carroll 12 yards from goal - Carroll picked his spot but Man of the Match Marriott spread himself to frustrate the Wycombe faithful. Wycombe continued their dominance on 64 minutes when a Carroll corner from the left was headed back by Evans and as Desouza closed in, the ball was somehow cleared off the line by Wrexham defence. Gregory switched to a 5 man 'front-line' for the final 15 minutes when John Williams was thrown into the fray. Wrexham meanwhile were limited to long range efforts, with Hughes going close twice in the final ten minutes, but the Welshmen were generally frustrated by the linesman's flag. Wycombe's final fling of the day came on the stroke of full-time when Williams crossed from the right touchline only to see Desouza sum up Wycombe's day by glancing his header wide of the opposite post.
It's getting desperate now for Wycombe with the fixtures rapidly being eaten up and the points not materialising. The main problems appear to be in front of goal where McGavin, Desouza and Williams are all off form. Davis appears to be a spark up front but is more of a provider than a 'goal getter'. Oh how we need a Keith Scott or a Mark West to poach us a few goals - if you don't shoot you don't score, goes the cliché
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Cousins, Bell, McCarthy, Evans (sub 76 Williams), Kavanagh, Carroll, Lawrence (sub 60 Farrell), Davis, McGavin, Desouza. subs not used:Crossley. Att:3,280
Saturday 23rd November 1996 WYCOMBE 0 PRESTON 1
It was 'Red-Card Day' for Wycombe against Preston at Adams Park on Saturday when referee Robert Styles sent-off three Wycombe players in a controversial second-half. Wycombe had just begun to dominate the play against a side 4 places above them in the table when Matt Crossley was adjudged to have pulled back Kevin Kilbine in the box. Lee Ashcroft stepped up to convert the 52nd spot-kick and when Steve Brown also saw red 8 minutes later for a second bookable offence, Mr Styles was firmly struck from any Christmas card list of Wycombe fans. Wycombe bravely fought on but when Terry Evans joined Crossley and Brown in the dressing room for a 90th minute challenge on Russ Wilcox, Wycombe's nightmare day was complete.
Wycombe started the game with the same line-up that had narrowly lost at Watford in midweek and had the better of the earlier chances - McGavin go close on two occasions within the opening 15 minutes. Preston responded with a long range attempt from Paul Sparrow that went safely past Cheesewright's right hand post. On 20 minutes Evans and Cheesewright contrived to offer Preston's Kilbane a chance but luckily he had been taking lessons from the Wycombe front line - his shot ending in the Valley End. Preston's best effort of the half came on 27 minutes when Mark Rankine forced a save from Cheesewright following a free-kick from just outside the box - more significantly, Brown was shown the yellow card for the initial challenge for what seemed an innocuous challenge. Wycombe responded within a minute when Carroll went close with his back to goal and with 3 minutes remaining in the first half Carroll flicked the ball to Desouza who from 10 yards out forced an excellent save from Bobby Mimms in the Preston goal.
Half-time Wycombe 0 Preston 1
Wycombe continued the pressure following the break with McGavin and Desouza combining inside the Preston box but the final shot from Desouza was typically lacking in accuracy or conviction. The penalty award on 52 minutes was a major blow to Wycombe's rhythm - Lee ASHCROFT sending Cheesewright the wrong way to give the visitors the lead and Wycombe struggling with 10 men. On the hour mark it was 9 men as Brown was pulled up for a tame tackle on Ashcroft in midfield - a free-kick was bad enough - but a red card! To Wycombe's credit they kept on pressing forward against a 10 man Preston defence but they received no favour from the officials. Another ludicrous decision on 63 minutes saw Desouza penalised for a foul as he ran towards goal! Wycombe introduced John Williams for a disappointing Neil Davis as the game entered the final quarter and it was the substitute who broke down the right on 75 minutes before playing the ball in for Desouza who centred for Bell to force a corner from the opposite side. Preston had a rare chance on 81 minutes when a lunging header was pushed away by Cheesewright but Wycombe went close again when Terry Evans tried to scramble home a Carroll cross from the right. The best chance for an equaliser came with just a couple of minutes left on the clock - Desouza latching onto a Bell cross from the left but again the finish was poor with the goal at his mercy from 15 yards. As the Wycombe fans made for the exits, the afternoon's misery was compounded with 'Big Tels' dismissal - a decision that had Wycombe fans screaming for Mr Styles who with performances like this will surely not be seen refereeing at this level for much longer.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Kavanagh, Bell, McCarthy, Evans, Crossley, Carroll, Brown, Davis (sub 75 Williams), McGavin, Desouza. subs not used:Farrell and Cousins. Att:4,920
Tuesday 19th November 1996 WATFORD 1 WYCOMBE 0
A lack of concentration in the final minute cost Wycombe a share of the points from their first ever Football League encounter with Watford. Urged on by a 1200+ following at Vicarage Road, the Wanderers restricted Watford to the minimunm of chances and could well have grabbed all three points had the lethargic forward line awoken from what seems like a endless slumber period. David Connolly scored the vital goal for the promotion chasers after Dave Carroll has lost the ball in midfield - the result keeps Wycombe rooted to the bottom of the table with time running out fast for a turn around in fortunes.
The Wycombe side saw the return of Jason Kavanagh and Neil Davis - replacing Jason Cousins and John Williams respectively from the side that overcame Colchester on Saturday. Both sides struggled to come to terms with the slippery conditions caused by the rain and snow earlier in the day and the game threatened to turn into a farce as a brief downpour in the early stages added to the woe. Wycombe had the first real chance when the nippy Neil Davis raced dowm the left wing after 4 minutes - his centre was hacked away, however, with the Wycombe players claiming a hopeful handball. Watford were restricted to long range efforts but Wycombe went close again on 12 minutes when Mickey Bell forced a good save from Kevin Miller from a shot from the edge of the box. A minute later Wayne Andrews nearly caused an embarrassment for Terry Evans and John Cheesewright when he went close with an interception. Wycombe's best chance of the half came on 33 minutes when Miguel Desouza sent in a powerful shot from about 30 yards that Miller saved low to his right. From the resulting corner, Carroll flashed the ball across the face of the goal as the final touch went wanting. 2 minutes later Watford responded with their best chance of the half when the impressive looking Nigel Gibbs delivered from the right for Steve Palmer to head goalbound and Cheesewright to push wide for a corner.
Half-time Watford 0 Wycombe 0
Watford introduced the lanky Gifton Noel-Williams for the second period and he caused problems for Crossley and McCarthy, who all seemed to be having a competition on who could remove the opponents shirt without the referee noticing - which judging by Mr Lynch's decisions throughout the game, was quite easy. The second-half was 22 minutes old before either side threatened - with Wycombe breaking through McGavin, who eased it through to Davis who squared for Desouza put he lost control 15 yards in front of goal. Wycombe received a set-back on 73 minutes when Davis had to leave the field injured. Substitute, John Williams has an immediate affect when he sprayed the ball across field to Bell on the left wing who squared the ball to Carroll who sent in a shot that just inched past the right-hand upright for Wycombe's best effort of the half. The game entered the final couple of minutes with Wycombe enjoying the majority of possesion but lacking the final conviction upfront. A draw seemed on the cards, when Watford suddenly sprung to life - Tommy Mooney on the left wing centering for sub Gary Penrice to direct fractionally wide of Cheesewright's left hand post. Then in the 89th minute Mooney sent another high ball in from the left, only for Cheesewright to punch clear. Mickey Bell picked up the ball sent it across field to Carroll who played a one two with Kavanagh and with disastrous consequences lost possession in midfield to Penrice. Penrice pushed the ball to Noel-Williams, who took command and drove in a powerful ball to the right side of the box where David CONNOLLY struck the ball home under the studs of Cheesewright's boots. Heartbreak for the Wycombe fans and yet more concern of where the next goals are coming from.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Kavanagh, Bell, McCarthy, Evans, Crossley, Carroll, Brown, Davis (sub 73 Williams), McGavin, Desouza. subs not used:Patterson and Cousins. Att:7,657
Saturday 16th November 1996 COLCHESTER UNITED 1 WYCOMBE 2
FA Cup 1st Round
See Full match report for more details.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Cousins, Bell, McCarthy, Evans, Crossley, Carroll, Brown (sub 75 Patterson), Williams, McGavin, Desouza. subs not used:Lawrence and Markman. Att:4,378
Saturday 9th November 1996 WYCOMBE 2 PLYMOUTH 1
Wycombe fought their way to three hard earned points as they overcame Neil Warnock's Plymouth Argyle side at Adams Park. Wycombe dominated the game for long periods but had to rely on a scrambled second half goal from Miguel Desouza to seal the points after the game had threatened to be spoilt by some bizzare refereeing decisions by Steve Bennett. The official mangaged to book 6 Argyle players for incidents that Scully and Mulder would be hard pushed to work out.
Manager John Gregory made just one change from the side that lost 3-0 at Crewe, bringing in Desouza for Skiverton. John Cheesewright retained his place between the sticks but caused the crowd a few heart palpitations as Argyle sent in a series of ariel attacks. Carroll and Brown continued their good work in midfield, with the latter grabbing a rare headed goal to give Wycombe the lead. Neil Davis looked rapid up front but both McGavin and Desouza were missing that final bite in front of goal.
Wycombe were on the attack within 2 minutes when a centre from Mickey Bell was met on the volley by Desouza but the ball flew wide. On 13 minutes Desouza acted as provider when he set-up McGavin in front of goal but the side-footed effort lacked conviction. Referee, Bennett, made his first impression on the game after 19 minutes when a Carroll corner from the left was headed home in typical style by Terry Evans but the 'goal' was ruled out for pushing. Almost immediately Carroll picked-up the ball in midfield and danced into the box from the right but his flick shot was cleared over the bar and into the mass of Plymouth fans in the Hillbottom Road end. Wycombe's barren run of games without a goal (515 minutes to be precise) was finally ended on 24 minutes when Mickey Bell centred from the left for Steve BROWN to head at full stretch - the ball rebounding off the post and despite the efforts of stand-in 'keeper James Dungey, was ruled to have crossed the line. The lead should have been increased on 30 minutes when Desouza made a powerful run in from the left but he made the the angle too acute and hit the side netting. Plymouth's first serious attempt on goal came 2 minutes later when the 'whippet' like Neil Illman sent in a low shot from the right hand edge of the box that Cheesewright did well to turn around the post. Loan defender Jason Kavanagh saw a header go close on 35 minutes but Plymouth drew level level on 39 minutes. The goal came as Wycombe were claiming for a foul on McGavin out on the left wing but with a throw-in given instead, Plymouth broke down their right side and the looping centre was struck home by defender Paul WILLIAMS at the far post as Cheesewright and his defence were left sleeping.
Half-time Wycombe 1 Plymouth 1
There was more confusion at the back for Wycombe 7 minutes into the second half when Cheesewright made a real mess of clearance but recovered to drag the ball away as the Plymouth contingent claimed for penalty- thankfully for Wycombe, the officials signalled a goal kick. On 63 minutes Mr Bennett drew yet more adjectives from the crowd when he disallowed another 'goal' for Wycombe following a well worked move that involved 5 or 6 passes. The chance originated from the back with Desouza finally being sent free down the left. He crossed the ball for Carroll, who returned the ball across the face of the goal for Davis to slide home - sadly Davis was ruled offside. That decision seemed to upset Wycombe and the vistors enjoyed their best spell of the game. On 68 minutes Illman flashed a header over the bar and then moments later Cheesewright raced out, missed the ball and it was left for Terry Evans to spectacularly clear off the line as a goal looked certain. Steve Brown finally got Wycombe back in attacking mood on 73 minutes when he closed in from the left but McGavin could only force a corner when he seemed to have more time at the far post. From the resulting Mickey Bell corner, however, Wycombe regained the lead when DESOUZA semi-chested the ball home at the far post much to the delight of the home crowd. Desouza had another run on goal after 81 minutes but again wanted too much time and the chance was blocked but Wycombe hung on to receive their biggest cheer of the season from a very relieved and nerve wracked crowd.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Kavanagh, Bell (sub 90 Farrell), McCarthy, Evans, Crossley, Carroll, Brown, Davis, McGavin, Desouza. subs not used:Williams and Cousins. Att:5,456
Saturday 2nd November 1996 CREWE 3 WYCOMBE 0
Manager John Gregory blamed a "mad 15 minute period" in the second half for the latest defeat by Wycombe. Promotion chasing Crewe killed Wycombe off with three quick strikes shortly after the break and there was never any way back. Derby County loan defender Jason Kavanagh made his debut in a Wycombe shirt, replacing Jason Cousins and 'keeper John Cheesewright retained his place in preference of Brian Parkin whose was suspended for the midweek game at York.
Cheesewright had little to do in the first half and Wycombe could well have taken the lead had the luck been on their side. On 26 minutes Neil Davis saw his header cleared off the line by Billy Barr as some claimed the ball had crossed the line. With Wycombe still playing a 5 across the back formation both defences remained on top and the sides went in goal-less at half-time.
Half-Time Crewe 0 Wycombe 0
Last season at Crewe the Wycombe supporters froze on the terraces, this season the team decided to enter deep freeze mode. The half was just 4 minutes old when a long punt by Barr was chased by Dale ADEBOLA and he struck the ball past a stunned Cheesewright. On 56 minutes Crewe got a controversial second through Gareth WHALLEY after McCarthy had been chopped down and the referee failed to stop play. Manager Gregory was clearly upset with the decision and had words with the official after the game. The trio of goals was completed on 60 minutes when Danny MURPHY scored with a superb chip from over 20 yards whicj beat Cheesewright and went in off the underside of the bar. Dave Farrell replaced Skiverton soon afterwards but the game was dead and buried for Wycombe who have yet to score a goal under the new manager.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Cheesewright, Kavanagh, Bell, McCarthy, Evans, Crossley, Carroll, Skiverton (sub Farrell 69), Brown, Davis, McGavin. subs not used:Cousins and Desouza. Att:3,636 (lowest of the day)

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