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|1993-1994-RESULTS, SCORERS, ATTENDANCES - MORE REPORTS||1993-1994 RETRO INDEX|
Carlisle United 2
Wycombe Wanderers 2
Saturday 14th August 1993
Football League Division Three
Wanderers historic first game in the Football League took place at Brunton Park, Calisle on Saturday 14th August 1993. A Division Three best of the day attendance of 7,752, swelled by at least a 1,500 following for Wycombe saw a solid debut by Martin O'Neill's League newcomers. Named by the bookmakers as favourites for the Division Three Championship, Wycombe fell behind in the 19th minute to Rod Thomas goal but equalised later in the half through a Chris Curran own goal. Steve Guppy became the first Wycombe player to score for the Wanderers in the Football League when he struck in the 76th minute but a opening day victory was denied when Curran made amends for his earlier blunder by when he rifled past Paul Hyde with seven minutes left on the clock.
Wanderers' starting XI included ten players from Martin O'Neill's Conference squad from the previous season - the only new face was former Maidstone, Welling and Barnet left-back Duncan Horton.
Bucks Free Press - Claire Nash reporting from Brunton Park:
Wycombe would be two Football League points the better if their sound engine had not run out of petrol during the last ten minutes at Brunton Park on Saturday. Carlisle equalised in the 83rd minute after Steve Guppy had put Blues ahead seven minutes earlier. But a point from a fierce, and at times heated, confrontation at this season's most- far-flung destination, appears to have sufficed.
"Probably I am disappointed we lost it to a bit of tiredness and sloppiness. But if you have made this journey for a match and recovered from being a goal down, then this is as much as could be hoped for," said Blues' boss Martin O'Neill.
With 2,000 of their fans boosting Division Three's highest attendance of the day to 7,752, Wycombe were left in the starting blocks after Carlisle came at them like a greyhound out of the traps.
New acquisitions Rod Thomas, the former Watford and England youth international, Carlton Fairweather, from Wimbledon, and George Oghani, Carlisle's highest scorer last season, exploited Blues' uncertainty to the full during the first 20 minutes. One opening forced keeper_ Paul Hyde into a superb save, lunging horizontally to thwart a Fairweather header from Thomas' 13th-minute free kick. It wasn't long before tricky Thomas, one of seven new faces drafted in by the Cumbrian club during the close season, secured Carlisle's breakthrough in the 19th minute, by driving home Oghani's cross.
A dispute between Blues' Steve Thompson and Darren Edmondson threatened, after the latter's challenge on Simon Stapleton, to develop into an ugly incident · until referee George Cain and players from both sides intervened. But it set an underlying tone - Carlisle intent on giving Blues a baptismally rough welcome into the Football League.
But by the half hour Wycombe had relaxed and plugged away to find a deserved equaliser. Scott's 41st-minute header from Dave Carroll's corner created a goal-mouth scramble after keeper Mervyn Day palmed it onto the qossbar. It rebounded to Carlisle's Chris Curran who headed it into the net.
Blues zipped up a gear and threatened to take a firmer grip in the halfs closing seconds, although Matt Crossley was fortunate to escape punishment after a horrendous lapse at the back allowed Shane Reddish through with just Hyde to beat.
Wycombe were forced into a second-half rejig when left-back Horton injured his ankle after a challenge on Steve McMahon (of Blackpool rather than Liverpool fame) for which the former Barnet skipper was booked. He was substituted by striker Tim Langford taking up his usual position up front with Scott, Thompson moving back into the centre of midfield, and Stapleton stepping into Horton's shoes.
Wycombe proceeded to pile on the pressure. If their opening goal seemed an inauspicious start to their first Division Three campaign, then their second was just what the script demanded as a possible match-winner. Carroll drilled in a tight low cross from the right, which Guppy finished off at the near post after Langford nearly got a toe on it. "It came in low. Tim almost got to it. But it came to me and I just buried it," said Guppy, describing his historic strike.
"We were right on top in the second half. The goal was definitely on the cards. But we had put so much effort into getting the goal, we lost some of our defensive play when we took a breather and then they got their goal," said the winger, echoing his manager's sentiments.
Carlisle levelled matters with attractive play. Thomas back-heeled the ball from Ian Arnold's cross for Curran to make amends for his earlier gaffe, rifling a 15-yard shot past Hyde.
Carlisle Express and Star - Tony Smith reporting from Brunton Park:
If they (Carlisle) had managed to maintain the momentum I think a second goal might have killed off the Londoners on their league baptism. Instead the longer the game went on the more the visitors came into it, the more they found their league legs.
Make no mistake Wycombe are a useful footballing side who can play a bit; they will challenge strongly for a second successive championship.
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