There was a time when an appearance in the first round proper of the F.A. Cup was something to be celebrated for Wanderers followers. It took 45 years for the club to make it to the first round for the very first time. Therefore joy was plentiful when a 4-0 victory at Camberley and Yorktown in the fourth qualifying round saw the Blues through to a historic meeting with Gillingham in November 1932.
The visit to Kent saw the club face Football League opposition for the first time and 6,400 were at the Priestfield to see Liddle give the hosts the lead six minutes before the break. Dick Braisher grabbed an equaliser with a quarter of an hour remaining to earn a creditable 1-1 draw and a replay at Loakes Park. It was played on a Wednesday afternoon (due to a lack of floodlights) and the visitors came from behind to win 4-2.
It took another 23 years before the first round was reached again with Burton Albion recording a 3-1 victory at Loakes Park in November 1955. The club achieved many things under Coach Sid Cann and soon a first round appearance became a regular occurrence. Therefore I am going to concentrate on our away ties in the first round of the greatest cup competition in the world? for the rest of this article.
A trip to the old Avenue Ground ended in a 3-2 defeat to Dorchester Town in 1957 but the following year saw a second visit to a Football League club. The Blues made the short trip to the County Ground where Northampton Town claimed a 2-0 victory. The second round was reached for the first time in the clubs` history in 1959 but there was more disappointment in 1961 when the Wanderers were beaten 3-0 by Ashford Town (Kent) in a replay at Estella Park following a goal-less at Loakes Park.
The club finally won a first round tie on their travels in November 1962. In fact it came just down the road at York Road with 5,337 fans watching striker Tony Horseman bag a brace in a 3-0 win. Three years later the Blues made the short trip to Josephs Road to face Southern League Guildford City. Goals from Keith Samuels and Len Worley earned a 2-2 draw but the “Sweeney” won the replay 1-0 at Loakes Park.
One of the most famous cup ties in the clubs` history came in 1966 when they met Bedford Town in the first round and the “Eagles appeared to have the initiative after a 1-1 draw at Loakes Park. The replay at the Eyrie ended in an incredible 3-3 draw with the Wanderers conceding an equaliser just two minutes from the end of extra time.
Wycombe won the toss for choice of venue in the second replay, but that also ended in a 1-1 draw after it was abandoned at the end of ninety minutes due to a waterlogged pitch. The third replay at the Eyrie was watched by over 8,000 spectators but despite a brace from Horseman the hosts won 3-2.
There was a very disappointing exit in 1970 when local rivals Slough Town won the replay 1-0 at the Dolphin Stadium after the first tie at Loakes Park had finished in a 1-1 draw. Following the success in the 1974/75 season when the club reached the third round proper for the first time there was another meeting with Bedford Town.
The first tie at Loakes Park ended in a 1-1 draw and the replay at the Eyrie finished all-square at 2-2. Some may find it interesting to note that the attendance of 4,267 was just over half that of the tie nine years previous. The Blues gained revenge with a 2-1 victory in the second replay at Loakes Park courtesy of goals from Dave Bullock and Dylan Evans. A 2-1 win over Waterlooville at Jubliee Park in 1976 set up a second round clash with Reading at Loakes Park which the Biscuitmen won 2-1.
The club made its` longest journey for a first round tie in 1977 and it ended in an embarrassing 2-0 defeat to Southern League Minehead AFC. The Recreation Ground is 164 miles from the Chair Metropolis and is still the furthest the club has travelled, until this weekend that is, when they make the 224-mile journey to Fleetwood.
A 1-0 defeat to Maidstone United at London Road followed in 1978. In 1981 the Blues drew 1-1 with Hendon at Claremont Road before winning 2-0 in the replay at Loakes Park. A year later the Wanderers were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Bristol Rovers at Eastville. The last appearance in the first round before the move from Loakes Park came in 1984 when a goal-less draw at New Writtle Street was followed by a 2-1 defeat to Chelmsford City in the replay.
The first season at Adams Park saw the club drawn at Conference rivals Boston United and even manager Martin O`Neill admitted his side were slightly fortunate to escape from York Street with a 1-1 draw courtesy of an equaliser from Nicky Evans. The Pilgrims were thrashed 4-0 in the replay. The following season saw another 1-1 draw, this time against Kettering Town at Rockingham Road. Sadly the Poppies won the replay 2-0 at Adams Park.
There was plenty of excitement in 1993 when the Chairboys were drawn away to Bristol Rovers at Twerton Park and goals from Tim Langford and Dave Carroll gave the visitors a 2-1 win. If that was a highlight the next away tie was a real horror show. Following a 1-1 home draw with Gillingham in 1995, the replay at the Priestfield was settled by an early Terry Howard own goal in a lamentable performance under Alan Smith.
There were scenes of celebration in 1996 when the Wanderers knocked the Essex Apes out of the cup. A 2-1 win over Colchester United at Layer Road was sealed thanks to goals from Miguel De Souza and a suspiciously offside-looking John Williams. Continuing the up-and-down theme the following season saw a woeful effort in the replay against Isthmian League Basingstoke Town at the Camrose Ground.
The Blues had let slip to two-goal lead to draw the first tie at Adams Park and were twice pegged back by “The Dragons” in the replay which again finished in a 2-2 draw. The home side chalked up a “giant-killing” when they won the penalty shoot-out 5-4 with Keith Scott having his spot-kick saved by Town goalkeeper Dean Beale.
In 1999 there was a bizarre trio of games with Southern League Oxford City. The first two games ended in 1-1 draws and a penalty shoot-out was only averted when the game was abandoned due to an electrical fault in the floodlight circuitry beneath the away end which had activated a smoke detector and subsequently a fire alarm. The “second replay” was played at Oxford United`s Manor Ground and the Chairboys scraped a 1-0 win courtesy of a Steve Brown goal and a dreadful miss from City`s Jason Davy.
Hayes were beaten 4-3 in an entertaining contest at Church Road in 2001 yet it would be another seven years until the Wanderers faced a first round tie on the road. A Matt Harrold hat-trick sealed a comfortable 4-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow in 2008 but the following year the Blues exited the competition with barely a whimper, losing 2-0 to Brighton and Hove Albion in a replay at the Withdean after a 4-4 draw in the original tie.
Last season saw another visit to Middlesex and Church Road where Gary Waddock`s men laboured to a 2-1 win over Hayes and Yeading United which was secured with an injury-time winner from Gareth Ainsworth.
Wycombe Wanderers have played 27 first round FA Cup ties away from home. They have won eight, drawn nine and lost ten.
Here`s the full list?
1932/33 Gillingham 1 Wycombe 1
1957/58 Dorchester Town 3 Wycombe 2
1958/59 Northampton Town 2 Wycombe 0
1961/62 Ashford Town 3 Wycombe 0 (replay)
1962/63 Maidenhead United 0 Wycombe 3
1965/66 Guildford City 2 Wycombe 2
1966/67 Bedford City 3 Wycombe 3 AET (replay)
1966/67 Bedford City 3 Wycombe 2 (3rd replay)
1970/71 Slough Town 1 Wycombe 0 (replay)
1975/76 Bedford Town 2 Wycombe 2 AET (replay)
1976/77 Waterlooville 1 Wycombe 2
1977/78 Minehead 2 Wycombe 0
1978/79 Maidstone United 1 Wycombe 0
1981/82 Hendon 1 Wycombe 1
1982/83 Bristol Rovers 1 Wycombe 0
1983/84 Chelmsford City 0 Wycombe 0
1990/91 Boston United 1 Wycombe 1
1991/92 Kettering Town 1 Wycombe 1
1993/94 Bristol Rovers 1 Wycombe 2
1995/96 Gillingham 1 Wycombe 0 (replay)
1996/97 Colchester United 1 Wycombe 2
1997/98 Basingstoke Town 2 Wycombe 2* AET (replay)
1999/00 Oxford City 0 Wycombe 1 (replay)
2001/02 Hayes 3 Wycombe 4
2008/09 AFC Wimbledon 1 Wycombe 4
2009/10 Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Wycombe 0
2010/11 Hayes and Yeading United 1 Wycombe 2
* lost 5-4 on penalties