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Tue 2nd Sep 1997 - Wycombe 4 Southend United 1 - Division Two
Sun 7th Sep 1997 - Watford 2 Wycombe 1 - Division Two
Sat 13th Sep 1997 - Wycombe 1 Carlisle 4 - Division Two
Fri 19th Sep 1997 - Brentford 1 Wycombe 1 - Division Two
Sat 27th Sep 1997 - Wycombe 0 Preston 0 - Division Two
WYCOMBE 0 PRESTON 0
Football League Division Two
Saturday 27th September 1997

Wycombe can be satisfied with a halved match against Preston at Adams Park after losing Captain Paul McCarthy in the 29th minute for deliberate handball. Preston, who won at Adams Park last season against an 8 man Wycombe, had chances to win but Wycombe were boosted by the return of Dave Carroll and Michael Forsyth to the starting line-up and also saw Keith Scott play the final 30 minutes as both sides went for the three points. After the last home set-back against Carlisle, the players earned good applause at the final whistle and creep up one place in the table.
McCarthy's sending off turned the pattern of the game as Wycombe were forced to reorganise at the back. But Wycombe should have been leading before the Captain's dismissal. Mark Stallard screwed a chance wide on 24 minutes after the ball was laid in from the right then on 27 minutes a speculative right wing cross/shot from Keith Ryan was clawed down by Tellvo Moilanen in the Preston goal only for Paul Read to somehow miss the target. Two minutes later McCarthy saw red when Manchester United cast-off Jonathan Macken saw a close range shot hit the bar and then his follow up header tipped around the post by the diving defender. No complaints from a dejected McCarthy as he tossed the Captain's armband to Jason Cousins but he would have felt better when Lee Ashcroft blazed the resulting penalty over the bar. Ryan was left to patrol the center of defence and did enough to put off Macken on several occasions, the Preston forward sending a series of efforts wide of the target.
Half-time 0-0
Mark Taylor had his best game for Wycombe this season. On 57 minutes he tipped over a right wing cross from Gary Parkinson and with 19 minutes left he did well to palm a far post effort away following a deep left wing cross by substitute David Reeves. Keith Scott's presence up front began to cause Preston problems but it was fellow 'old boys' Carroll and Brown who brought the biggest cheer on 75 minutes as the latter drove in a shot following Carroll's jinxing run on the right - hands-up those who thought it had gone in? At the other end, Preston had some enthusiastic claims for handball waved away after a cross from the right smashed into Forsyth. Mo Harkin was given 15 minutes to impress as Gregory went for the win and the youngster came as close as any Wycombe player to scoring. With 8 minutes left he played a one-two with Scotty before letting fly from 25 yards only to see Moilanen punch the ball away from the top corner. Frustration finally got the better of Mackin with 3 minutes left when he was booked for a wild challenge on Cornforth - he was lucky to stay on but justice was done in the final minute when his shooting techniques were passed to substitute Graeme Atkinson, who stabbed the ball wide off the outside of the Wycombe post during injury-time.

Full-time Wycombe 0 Preston 0
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Cousins, Bodin, Ryan, McCarthy, Forsyth, Cornforth (sub 90 Kavanagh), Read (sub 60 Scott), Stallard (sub 76 Harkin), Carroll, Brown Att:4,838

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BRENTFORD 1 WYCOMBE 1
Football League Division Two
Friday 19th September 1997

John Gregory relied on experience for the Friday night game at Brentford and returned with a point. In came on loan left back Paul Bodin from Reading, complimented by the full return of Jason Cousins and Keith Ryan.
A victory would have lifted Wycombe to fourth place and hopes were raised in the 2nd minute when a through ball from Steve Brown found STALLARD in space on the left - he nipped in front of Gus Hurdle and neatly slotted a low shot past Dearden to give Wycombe the lead. Wycombe remained bogged down in their own half for much of the first half and saw Robert Taylor test Martin Taylor from a free-kick on 13 minutes. TAYLOR found his mark however on 30 minutes when he latched onto a midfield ball from Marcus Bent and drove home from just inside the Wycombe box. Wycombe responded instantly when Steve McGavin struck the bar with a dipping drive before Bent went close at the other end as the game awoke briefly from its comma. Read could have done better when the bouncing ball deceived him on the stroke of half-time as the teams went in level
Half-time 1-1
Brentford started the second-half the more likely to score but the game deteriorated as a series of niggly challenges and off-sides stopped any flow or entertainment for the sparse crowd. Robert Taylor fired over on 53 minutes after a weak clearance by Ryana and five minutes later Martin Taylor misjudged a pick up but Brentford wasted the opening. The introduction of Dave Carroll began Wycombe's best spell of the game. On 78 minutes a big clearance by Taylor found McGavin running in on goal but Dearden held the shot well. Paul Read should have done better with a close range header on 82 minutes after a McGavin bye-line cross from the left and with 3 minutes left Steve Brown sent in a blockbuster but the only people in danger were the Wycombe fans in the upper tier of the away end.
In summary, a valuable away point that lifts Wycombe to 6th in table with Saturday's programme to come. An improvement at the back but the return of Keith Scott is eagerly awaited to add that bite up front.

Full-time Brentford 1 Wycombe 1
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Cousins, Bodin, Kavanagh, McCarthy, Ryan, Cornforth (sub 66 Carroll), Read, Stallard, McGavin, Brown subs not used Harkin and Simpson Att:3,695

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WYCOMBE 1 CARLISLE 4
Football League Division Two
Saturday 13th September 1997

Wycombe crashed to their first home defeat since Boxing Day 1996 at the hands of managerless Carlisle. Even more disappointing was the nature of the defeat as the side failed to battle when the going got tough. John Gregory will now have a major headache as he trys to juggle the lineup again in order to create the necessary openings up front. The reverse leaves the Wanderers in 10th place in the table with a goals for and against tally of 14.
Carlisle took the lead after just 4 minutes when Andy COUZENS scored from close range after the Wycombe defence were left ball watching. Wycombe got back into the game thanks to the first of several bizarre decisions by referee Frazer Stretton - the one who abandoned last seasons's game at home to Peterborough. Stretton spotted a handball in the Carlisle area after 11 minutes and although it looked like a Wycombe player was to blame, Wycombe accepted the gift. John CORNFORTH made no mistake from the spot - hitting the ball into the right hand top corner. It was the start of Wycombe's best spell of the game - culminating on 23 minutes when Harkin, Beeton and Brown combined on the left before Read headed into the side netting. The killer blow came 6 minutes before the break when a free kick from the Carlisle right by Owen Archdeacon found its way through a sea of players before Matt JANSEN flicked the ball past Taylor with his head.
Half-time Wycombe 1 Carlisle 2
Despite the introduction of Jason Cousins for the second-half, Wycombe struggled to create any serious openings. Carlisle could have gone further ahead on 62 minutes when Jason Kavanagh performed miracles to clear off the line. Gregory threw on Dave Carroll on 65 minutes and the messiah had an immediate impact when he won the ball deep in his own half with the chance finally falling to the feet of Read but he skewed the shot wide to increase the groan factor. Steve McGavin's replacement was not a popular one on 75 minutes and within 2 minutes the game was put beyond Wycombe's reach. This time it was via a penalty given to United for a fairly tame looking challenge by Carroll on Richard Prokas - ARCHDEACON sent the Cumbrians into ecstasy from the spot. Wycombe made a rare assault on goal with two minutes remaining when Cornforth crossed deep from the right for Harkin to lay the ball to Simpson but there was to be no consolation as the ball skidded wide. The nightmare performance was concluded in the final minute when COUZENS headed home at the far post following a cross from the left.

Full-time Wycombe 1 Carlisle 4
This was trully awful and John Gregory and his players would do no worse than issue an immediate public apology to the Wycombe fans for a spineless performance against a side who had just 4 points before this game. Solutions? Let's hope Scotty's fit soon and Cousins and Carroll can bring the passion back to the Wycombe side. Brentford away next Friday is the place to start.
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Kavanagh, Beeton (sub 45 Cousins), Mohan, McCarthy, Harkin, Cornforth, Read, Stallard, McGavin (sub 75 Simpson), Brown (sub 65 Carroll) Att:6,018

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WATFORD 2 WYCOMBE 1
Football League Division Two
Sunday 7th September 1997

A 12,000 plus crowd saw Wycombe swept aside by the powerful forward line of League leaders Watford at Vicarage Road. The game, proceeded by a spontaneous standing ovation for the on looking Elton John, was one of spectacular misses, goal line clearances and saves - mostly at the Wycombe end. Watford were nearly left rueing their missed chances when Paul Read snatched a late goal for Wycombe and then subsequently hit the bar as Wycombe clambered for a share of the points. Wycombe stay third third after this loss and will look to departure of Michael Forsyth after just one minute through injury as a major factor in the pattern of the game.
Wycombe started the game with the same eleven that was fielded for the second half against Southend in the week but quickly had to change the plan when Forsyth was injured. He came to assist Taylor in a clearance within the first minute but was left clutching his stomach and was replaced shortly afterwards by Michael Simpson. The reorganisation saw Beeton move into the left side of central defence and Brown into the left back role. Watford made the breakthrough after just 5 minutes following an initial slip up by Kavanagh, Jason Lee centred from the left for Ronny Rosenthal to miss kick towards goal and Micah HYDE to put the loose ball into the open net. Wycombe looked chaotic at the back but looked dangerous when they broke forward. Read failed to capitalise on a flick header through by Stallard after 7 minutes and 5 minutes later shot straight at the 'keeper. Then on 24 minutes McGavin should have shot instead of taking the ball wide. It was Watford, though, who did everything but score. On 30 minutes a rasping shot hit the Wycombe bar and rebounded to Gifton Noel-Williams who saw his shot somehow blocked by Taylor. 5 minutes later yet another powerful drive hit the Wycombe woodwork and seemed to go over the line before being cleared by Paul McCarthy. Wycombe survived the claims, however, and could have snatched an equaliser had Read's dipping half volley been a foot lower on the stroke of half-time
Half-time Watford 1 Wycombe 0
Wycombe should have been level 5 minutes into the second-half when Read played a neat ball through to Stallard on the right side of goal but his effort was nothing more than a back-pass. There was another extraordinary goal-line clearance on 52 minutes when Steve Brown managed to block a Noel-Williams effort after Taylor has also blocked. Watford claimed handball but Wycombe survived again until the 62nd minute when Jason LEE drove an unstoppable shot into Taylor's left hand top corner. Two minutes later the woodwork came to Wycombe's rescue again after a corner on the Watford right - Taylor grateful to pick-up the rebound at the first attempt. But just as Watford looked to be going for the kill, Wycombe grabbed a lifeline when Read and Stallard combined, the latter squaring the ball from the right hand bye-line for READ to shoot home from close range after 69 minutes. With the home fans silenced and the 2,000 plus travelling fans from Wycombe in full voice, Wycombe pressed for a leveller. The closest Wycombe came was on 83 minutes when a deep cross from the right by Stallard was met by the head of Read but his looping header hit the bar and was cleared. Wycombe had a half-hearted claim for a penalty turned away with 4 minutes left when McGavin was forced off the ball following good work from Harkin on the left. It would have been a harsh decision - but it was worth a shout. Wycombe finished the stronger side but Watford were well worth their win and will surely be in the running for automatic promotion this season.

Full-time Watford 2 Wycombe 1
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Kavanagh, Beeton, Mohan, McCarthy, Forsyth (sub 3 Simpson), Cornforth, Read, Stallard, McGavin, Brown (sub 78 Harkin) sub not used Carroll Att:12,100

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WYCOMBE 4 SOUTHEND UNITED 1
Football League Division Two
Tuesday 2nd September 1997

The goals kept on flying in on Tuesday as Wycombe rose to third spot in the table after a relatively comfortable victory over Alvin Martin's Southend. An early goal by Mark Stallard set Wycombe on their way and despite a terrible error by Martin Taylor to allow the visitors to equalise two minutes before the break, Wycombe hit back within a minute and added two further goals in the second half. Wycombe are now top scorers in the league with 12 goals. At the same stage last season Wycombe had scored only 2 goals and it took until the home game with Rotherham on 1st October to reach the dozen league goal mark.
Wycombe could have taken the lead within the first 20 seconds when Stallard broke in from the left but his low shot was palmed wide for a corner on the right. Wycombe took the lead, however, on 10 minutes when Alan Beeton, playing in a left wing-back role, won the ball from two Southend players just over the half-way line. The ex-Youth teamer then sent in a flighted cross to the far past where Stallard side footed into the roof of the net from close range. Wycombe continued to press and fellow 18 year old Maurice Harkin saw a low shot from the right saved well on 27 minutes. Paul Read also saw a couple of fine incurring long shots whistle wide. The visitors came on strong as the half progressed but Taylor in the Wycombe goal was in the right place at the right time until his almighty clanger just before the break - when he dropped a high cross from the Southend left and Jeroen Boere tapped in the loose ball. The goal was a sickener for the Wycombe fans but the players responded within a minute. This time Harkin played the ball to Stallard on the left side whose cross to the far post was met by John Cornforth who was delighted again to add to his goal tally and restore Wycombe's lead.
Half-time Wycombe 2 Southend 1
Steve McGavin replaced Harkin at the interval as Wycombe held onto their lead despite increased pressure from Southend. Taylor tipped over on 54 minutes but Wycombe extended their lead 5 minutes later. McGavin raced down the right before exchanging passes with Jason Kavanagh with the latter finally crossing from the bye-line and Paul Read stroking the ball into the net. Taylor made another good save on 77 minutes, to make up for his earlier blunder - saving with his legs from the Southend No9 as he threatened from the right. Southend's Ex-Wycombe schoolboy player Keith Dublin was sent-off in the 80th minute for flooring Paul Read with an elbow - with another massive huddle of players and officials stepping in to offer their comments before the red card was shown. Wycombe wrapped up the game with a 90th minute goal through Stallard after McGavin had provided again from the right.

Full-time Wycombe 4 Southend 1
WYCOMBE TEAM: Taylor, Kavanagh, Beeton, Mohan, McCarthy, Forsyth, Cornforth (sub 87 Carroll), Read, Stallard, Harkin (sub 45 McGavin), Brown (sub 71 Simpson) - Att:4,528

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