Basingstoke Town FC
Matchday Number: 28
Tuesday 25th November 1997
Basingstoke Town 2-2 Wycombe Wanderers (Basingstoke win 5-4 on penalties)
FA Cup 2nd Round Replay
Wycombe have enjoyed a fair few decent FA Cup games over the years, most notably the Semi Final run in 2001, but in the second half of the 90's, we really struggled against some Non League sides. One such occasion was against Basingstoke, when after throwing away a 2 goal lead, we were forced to replay the game at Basingstoke's compact Camrose ground.
I went with my Dad and my brother by car. Wycombe had bought a decent following, but it was a fairly local game. I had a look in their club shop before going in the ground, but there was little else to do around the ground. The game was memorable for all the wrong reasons - I will leave it up to the Chairboys On The Net match report from the night to sum it all up....
This goes down as one of the worst results and performances in the 100 year plus history of Wycombe Wanderers and there were no excuses despite the final outcome being settled on penalties. Wycombe again led in normal time but were outplayed for the majority of the two hours of torture for Wycombe fans at the Camrose Ground. The inquests into this defeat will run and run and its difficult to know where to start other than saying that Wycombe 'bottled it'. This was a showing on par with the defeat to the Metropolitan Police in 1990 but at least we got Martin O'Neill as a result of that reverse - where we go after this shambles is anyones guess. You would have thought that Wycombe would have learnt after the first game, yet this was worse and left many Wycombe fans stunned and speechless after the game. Basingstoke earned more applause from the Wycombe fans at the end and go on to meet Northampton in the next round. The prospects for Wycombe now rest heavily on the ability of John Gregory and Richard Hill to ruthlessly drum in some discipline and conviction into the players for the long season ahead.
Wycombe fielded two changes from the side that lost at Ashton Gate on Saturday - Michael Forsyth returning after injury and Paul McCarthy returning in defence ahead of Jason Kavanagh. Keith Ryan moved into midfield and John Cornforth played somewhere between midfield and upfront but like most of the Wycombe players he wasn't prepared to battle when the need came.
Wycombe survived several early scares in front of record 5,000 plus attendance at Town's compact ground before taking the lead on 16 minutes. Steve Brown played a short ball to Steve McGAVIN on the edge of the Basingstoke box and he clipped the ball over 'keeper Dean Beale to give Wycombe the edge. The goal silenced the locals but they were given a lifeline following another crass Wycombe defensive error. Paul McCarthy played a free-kick for offside directly to Basingstoke's Simon Line who played the ball back into the Wycombe half where Taylor came, mis-kicked to Paul COOMBS, and the Town top scorer watched with delight as his shot sailed past the Wycombe 'keeper on 40 minutes. McCarthy was replaced by Kavanagh at the break - was he injured or was he pushed?
The second-half followed a similar pattern as Basingstoke exploited Wycombe's defence by continually playing the high balls into the box - but somehow we survived. McGavin had a good chance on 63 minutes but Beale did enough with his legs in a 50/50 challenge. It was Beale's mistake, however, that gave Wycombe another undeserved lead on 75 minutes. Brown picked up his poor clearance on the left, played toMcGAVIN and from a narrow angle gave Wycombe the lead that should have been curtains for the part-timers. Moments later as Basingstoke pushed for another equaliser McGavin broke away on the left but Scott headed over, with Kavanagh furious that the striker had not let the ball travel. Basingstoke equalised with just five minutes of normal time remaining. Keith Ryan was adjudged to have handled Wilkinson's cross and Paul COOMBS thundered in the penalty to set up extra-time.
90 minutes 2-2
Wycombe's superior fitness failed to show in any shape or form in extra-time and it was the home side who looked more likely to score. No further goals brought the dreaded penalty shoot-out where, with the home side going first and kicking towards the Wycombe supporters, knocked in the final nails into Wycombe's coffin. They dispatched all five of their spot-kicks with ease (take note Gareth Southgate) through Simon LINE, Alan CAREY, Nigel EMSDEN, Paul WILKINSON and Paul COOMBS while Wycombe replied through CORNFORTH, McGAVIN, BROWN and READ before Keith Scott was left with the unfortunate burden of the final kick that was saved by Beale. Scotty collapsed to the ground and with it Wycombe's season now goes into emergency status.
Final Score Basingstoke 2 Wycombe 2
THE GUILTY MEN: Taylor, Cousins (sub 117 Simpson), Beeton (sub 117 Read), Ryan, Mohan, Forsyth, McCarthy (sub 45 Kavanagh), Scott, Cornforth, McGavin, Brown subs not used Simpson, Parkin Att:5,085
THE CAMROSE is a fairly decent ground for Basingstoke. There is a mixture of covered and uncovered terracing, but by far the best view can be had from the main stand, which is elevated and offers a good view. I visited in a couple of pre season friendlies in later years and the guys in the club shop wasted no time in reminding me of Wycombe's dark night there in 1997!