When You Live With Apes it's Hard to be Clean
Following a depressingly predictable defeat to Sheffield United at the weekend the focus switches to a "must-win" clash with Yeovil Town at Adams Park this Valentine`s Day. Football clichés will be plentiful ahead of the six-pointer with the Glovers. Yet for seasoned watchers of the Chairboys, a meeting with the deviants from deepest, darkest Somerset is one to be dreaded.
It could be compared with some of the more disgusting jobs, such a sewage worker, pest controller or abattoir worker. The whole experience is nauseating and one likely to leave you both mentally and physically scarred. The horror of the incest fields is only matched by our abject failure to beat the most grotesque football club in England and maybe even the entire world.
'My eyes have seen true horror'
99 years of our history remain pure and untainted from the lust and vice of the zoophiles until November 1986 when the two sides met in a bizarre competition called the GMAC Cup. It was created for clubs in the Conference and its three feeder leagues and the tie at Loakes Park started in positive fashion when Andy Graham slid Noel Ashford`s cross into the net inside a quarter of an hour.
Yeovil lost defender Tony Ricketts to an "agricultural" challenge from Byron Walton which was to keep him out for the rest of the season but that didn`t stop them from equalising when defender Graham Bressington pushed Alan Pardew inside the area and Phil Fern levelled from the spot. Three goals in the space of ten minutes at the start of the second half gave the visitors a 4-1 victory and the horror had started.
Five weeks later the sides met again at Loakes Park in the Isthmian League cup and the Glovers again ran out winners by two goals to one. Graham again scored for the Blues, equalising midway through the second half to cancel out John McGinlay`s first half strike. Gerry Pearson`s goal in extra-time proved to be the winner.
Those two meetings paled into insignificance when the sides met at Loakes Park on Valentine`s Day 1987. It was a top-of-the-table clash in which the visitors` need for victory was greater. The Bucks Free Press` pre-match headline was simply "The Big One" but a disappointing performance in front of 2,473 fans saw Paul Thorpe`s header midway through the second half give the Glovers a 1-0 victory.
Noel Ashford almost levelled ten minutes later but his curling shot was cleared off the line by defender Neil Coates. After the game manager Alan Gane said: "They are a good team but we treated them as if they were a great side. Yeovil seem to have a jinx on us.' It was to be the last league defeat of the season as an eleven match unbeaten run (with just six goals conceded) led to an 8th Isthmian League title.
Evil triumphed the following season as Yeovil won promotion back to the Conference and the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Loakes Park in March 1989 with Mark West finding the net for the hosts. He did so again eight months later on a cool November evening but again the visitors claimed all three points with a 2-1 victory.
'The arrival of a saviour to fight the evil'
There was big disappointment in April 1990 when the Glovers fluked their way into the final of the Bob Lord Trophy. Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in the Incest Fields the Wanderers went into the final minute of the second leg at Loakes Park leading 2-0 through Dave Carroll`s brace only for the visitors to level and force the tie into extra time. Striker Martin Lambert restored the Blues two goal advantage only for the Glovers to pull back another goal to make it 3-2 and progressed on the away goals rule.
That was Martin O`Neill`s first introduction to the repugnance of the Somerset freaks and he worked his magic to give the Blues their first ever league victory in November 1990. The home side had much the better of the first half at Adams Park and Captain Glyn Creaser`s header from a Carroll corner was fumbled into his own net by goalkeeper David Fry to make it 1-0 at the break.
Über-donkey Steve Rutter brought down Simon Hutchinson inside the area midway through the second half and Westy coolly sent Fry the wrong from the spot. Six minutes later Creaser was harshly adjudged to have fouled Robbie Carroll in the box but goalkeeper Chuck Moussaddik made a superb save from striker Mickey Spencer`s penalty and the game ended 2-0 to the Blues.
Back in the days when someone had the wisdom to schedule fixtures on August bank holiday Monday the two sides met again at Adams Park and the home side again claimed the three points when Dave Carroll swung over a peach of a cross which Micky Nuttell met with a powerful header into the bottom corner. It was enough to give the Wanderers a 1-0 win.
Later that season the sides met again in the Bob Lord Trophy semi-final and after a goal-less draw in the first leg goals from Creaser and striker Dennis Greene gave the Blues a 2-0 aggregate win at Adams Park and Runcorn were defeated over two legs in the final as O`Neill added yet more silverware to a burgeoning trophy cabinet.
The greatest and most virtuous victory came on a warm Tuesday evening in September 1992. The truly wonderful team created by O`Neill torn their ghastly opponents to shreds. Steve Thompson surged through the middle of the park to supply Keith Scott on the left and his cross found Dave Carroll at the far post. His shot was saved by visiting goalkeeper David Coles but Kim Casey was on hand to bundle the ball home and give the hosts an early lead.
The Blues soon doubled their advantage when a trademark corner from Steve Guppy was headed down by Andy Kerr at the near post and Coles could only push the ball up into the top corner of the net. Scotty scored a third goal when he tucked home a penalty early in the second half before some swine pulled a goal back for the visitors from close-range following a corner.
It made little difference as Carroll`s defence-splitting long pass put Casey through on goal and he scored at the second attempt to make it 4-1. Simon Stapleton then headed the ball forward on the half-way line and then charged forward like a lion leaving the Yeovil defence trailing in his wake before slotting the ball low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net to send the fans into unconfined joy and seal a handsome win.
'Fear and loathing returns to Buckinghamshire'
With the Wanderers winning the league and cup double in 1993 they left the Glovers behind to wallow in their own filth in non-league football but under their current boss Gary Johnson they sealed a pact with the devil and in return for their souls they were rewarded with promotion to the Football League in 2003. The Blues were relegated the following year and the revulsion returned when the sides met at Adams Park in November 2004.
After a promising start to the season the side had lost their way under boss Tony Adams and had slumped into mid-table in League Two. In the first half striker Ian Stonebridge had shots deflected over and wide before forcing goalkeeper Chris Weale into a save just before the break. Frank Talia was injured in a challenge with Adrian Caceres and was replaced at half-time by Steve Williams.
As a result the second-half Wanderers side had nine players aged 21 or under. Danny Senda`s free-kick was cleared off the line by defender Andrejs Stolcers early in the second half but the visitors grew stronger and won it six minutes from time when Kevin Gall`s right-wing cross was headed home by Bartozs Tarachulski. Adams did what any Wycombe manager should do after losing to Yeovil and offered his resignation the following Monday.
The last meeting came just over two years ago and it witnessed an abomination of a performance from the home side who were ripped apart by their festering opponents. Dean Bowditch poked the visitors in front on 16 minutes and despite equalising through Matt Harrold`s header five minutes after the break there was more terror to come.
Within two minutes goalkeeper Scott Shearer could only push Bowditch`s low drive into the path of Andy Welsh and he had the simple task of tapping home. Oliver then clumsily fouled Owain Tudor-Jones on the edge of the box and the midfielder picked himself to curl the ball around the wall and under the body of Shearer.
The embarrassment wasn`t over and Oliver was left in Bowditch`s dust as he raced clear on goal before dinking the ball past Shearer to make the final score 4-1. It was another low point in a season of dreadful performances and it ended in an inevitable relegation. As Yeovil fans can testify, it doesn`t matter how hard you scrub, sometimes the smell just won`t come off. It won`t be any different tomorrow.
'All that`s left are memories'