The Devil Went Down to Scunthorpe
Excitement is almost at fever pitch on the eve of the new season. In fact I am so excited I think I might vomit. Can you feel it too? It`s a peculiar natural high that only afflicts football supporters and is a wee hit before the low that arrives just before half-time. The Chairboys are back at Adams Park and they host Scunthorpe United for just the fourth time in our respective histories.
I`ve got to be careful here because it`s easy to be dismissive of some of our League One rivals and their home towns. Skuma`s homestead was a regular target of mockery and scorn from the late Spike Milligan, and more recently Marks and Spencer's, who rather cruelly closed their store in the town after more than eight years.
It is of course famous for the Iron Ore that was first mined in the area back in 1860. It can boast an impressive list of luminaries from Donald Pleasance to several sporting greats. Golfer Tony Jacklin was born there whilst cricketer Ian Botham, Ray Clemence and Kevin Keegan all played football for the Iron. The town does suffer from a modern phenomenon called the "Scunthorpe problem" which relates to internet filters objecting to the four letters than follow the "S."
If your pre-season optimism has been dampened somewhat by the loss of Matt Bloomfield, Stuart Lewis, Kevin Betsy and Elliot Benyon you`ve come to the right place for a pick-up. Take advantage of it too 'cos it ain't gonna 'appen too often. We remain unbeaten against the Iron in our trio of clashes on the edge of the Chilterns.
The record reads: P3 W2 D1 L0 F6 A4 PTS 7.
The first meeting came in April 1994 and was certainly a memorable one. We were wearing our brand new quarters and were chasing promotion in our first season in the Football League. After a nervous goal-less first half we conceded just four minutes after the break when comical referee John Brandwood allowed the visitors to play on and score despite a blatant handball.
We fought back with Jason Cousins smashing the ball home from a narrow angle inside ten minutes. He hit the ball so hard that it became lodged in the stanchion. Captain Glyn Creaser then headed the Blues in front with 12 minutes remaining from Dave Carroll`s free-kick despite being punched in the head by goalkeeper Tim Clarke.
A deserved 2-1 lead was sacrificed just six minutes later when Matt Crossley did touch Sammy Goodacre when making a challenge on the bye-line yet Brandwood ludicrously pointed to the spot. Wayne Bullimore beat Paul Hyde from the spot and a point proved not to be enough as we lost out on automatic promotion to Crewe Alexandra. Fortunately someone had invented the play-offs and justice was done.
The second meeting came in January 2000 during a comfortable season under Lawrie Sanchez that saw the Blues finish 12th in the Division Two table. Gareth Sheldon headed past goalkeeper Mark Westhead to give the visitors the lead on 18 minutes. It lasted just 12 minutes with Jamie Bates smashing a free-kick into the net at the Valley End. Keith Ryan bagged the winner on the hour when he headed home a delightful cross from Steve Brown.
The final clash was on a Tuesday evening in February 2005. The Iron were top of the league and were promoted at the end of the season in second spot. The game was memorable for an incident between Roger Johnson and Steve Torpey that saw the Wycombe Captain sent for an early bath with a quarter of an hour remaining. By that stage the Blues were already two-goals to the good.
Steve Claridge notched his first goal for the club with a simple tap-in from Nathan Tyson`s low cross after 13 minutes. Tyson then grabbed the second when he received Gus Uhleenbeek`s pass and buried the ball past goalkeeper Paul Musselwhite. Matt Sparrow pulled a goal back for the visitors with just three minutes to play but Wycombe held on to claim a first home win in almost two months to the delight of manager John Gorman.
"All that`s left are memories"