So, after the hysteria of Craven Cottage, we returned to earth with a mighty bump. We were dominated 3-1 by a Lincoln side now without their hoofing attributes and with a great passing game in place that we simply couldn’t cope with despite taking an early lead. Next came a very enjoyable game as we entertained Swindon. With 90 minutes on the clock, Wycombe fans were beginning to leave in drobes as Swindon’s 1-0 lead didn’t look like being relinquished and the chants ‘Mooney, What’s the score?!’ echoed from the away end but those words surely gave Tommy every ounce of strength left in his tired legs to leap up and head the ball into the Valley net. Cue absolute delirium and the ‘Mooney, What’s the score?!’ chant suddenly began from the other end, a priceless moment despite the fact it was only a home draw.
This was when our league form really began to fade in my opinion, the football got awfully scrappy and there was no ‘Plan B’ method in place. Despite an absolutely diabolical refereeing performance at Accrington Stanley, they are simply a team we should have been beating if we were serious about promotion.
A comfortable home win against Torquay followed then by a 2-0 defeat at Walsall which really showed how far the bar had been raised this season as it was not a poor performance by any means, it really did dawn how we should have taken the advantage last year.
The next few games revolved around the cups really, a 1-0 win over Swindon in the amusingly named Johnstone’s Paint Trophy may sound significant but it will be a game etched in fans’ minds for a long time thanks to the sensational goal scored by Ian Stonebridge from over 35 yards which left puzzled fans thinking ‘have we really just seen that?!’ and that is no offence at all to Stonebridge, a goal like that would leave jaws dropping in any league in the world. (I’m sure practically everyone has seen it but here is the link –Stoney Wondergoal)
Next was an extremely underrated and impressive win against Peterborough at home which was one of and possibly the most complete home performance of the season.
The Carling Cup home tie against Doncaster followed, and a memorable night it was. An uninspiring tie on paper and this was reflected by the miserable attendance of just over 3,000, the stay ayways probably hoping for a game against another Premiership team as a reward for the win at Craven Cottage. An end to end first half somehow stayed at 0-0 and it was pure entertainment throughout. The second half was when things began to pick up, an amazing team goal by Doncaster ending up with loan striker Jonathan Forte giving them the lead, this was then equalised by Stefan Oakes who really seemed to step up in the cup games with a well placed free kick but he was sent for an early bath just minutes later despite it looking like a 50/50 challenge in all honesty. 2 more goals followed in extra time, one for each side with Jermaine Easter keeping his record of scoring in every round. So, a shootout followed in front of the Valley Terrace. Easter confidently stepped up and he saw his penalty saved easily, Doncaster then scored to put pressure on Wycombe but it didn’t seem to phase Lambert’s men. Betsy, Martin and Stonebridge all converted and with Batista saving 2 penalties we had done it! Wycombe into the 4th round in memorable fashion, this runs Chelsea close for the best game of the season!
We then mustered up a gritty 1-0 away win at Boston with Bloomfield scoring extremely late on when all hope seemed dead, as hard as it is to believe, this win coupled with the Peterborough one the week before was the last time Wycombe won 2 league games in a row in the league season. Wycombe then limped out of the JPT with a 2-0 loss to Bristol Rovers, a very dull and uninspiring game indeed. November followed and no league wins came with draws against Shrewsbury and Grimsby and an away defeat to Hartlepool. Cup games again dominated proceedings, a great 1-0 win at Notts County was impressive. Ricardo Batista was at his best and once again Jermaine Easter pulled us through and unbelievably ‘Little Wycombe’ were through to the Carling Cup Quarter Finals. We then showed great character to knock plucky Oxford out of the FA Cup on the Saturday which was pleasing considering the way they invaded the Wycombe messageboards and told us how easy a victory would be and how they would swarm the home ends – pah! This also sent them on a losing streak which they never really recovered from which made it even more satisfying.
To be continued…….
When Saturday Comes Part 2