Posh v Wycombe Wanderers FA Cup 2nd Rd Replay 17 Dec 1990
Venue: London Road, Peterborough
Score: Peterborough Utd 2 v Wycombe Wanderers 0
Referee: I.J. Borrett.
Posh almost had their FA Cup party gate crashed by the battling part timers from Wycombe.
With an aperitif of two goals in the first 14 minutes, Posh could have been forgiven for putting the champagne on ice.
But before they could enjoy popping the corks they were forced to scrap for every morsel by a Wycombe side hungry for cup glory.
Fortunately, Posh had the ideal ‘bouncer’ in goalkeeper Paul Bradshaw, who frustrated the non-leaguers once again with three superb reflex saves, and a few pieces of wood for additional protection.
But while can deduce from those instances that the fourth division side didn’t enjoy the most comfortable of picnics after such a tasty beginning, it can’t be ignored either that Posh also had a feast of chances.
If anything, they created the clearer opportunities with some subtle approaches, several instigated by Mark Hine.
But Wycombe were also indebted to the goalkeeper, West Indian John Granville, plus one goalie clearance and the odd piece of charity.
In fact, Norfolk referee Ian Borrett, at the centre of the previous Saturday’s 6-4 Chelsea win at Derby, could have been involved in another totally unrealistic score line, such was the frenzied goalmouth activity.
Even Wycombe manager Martin O’Neill attempted to raise the decibel level early in the second half when leaping from the dugout to orchestrate the cheers as the GM Vauxhall side swarmed all over Posh in a 20 minute spell.
It was a furious assault which by virtue of Bradshaw, the width of the crossbar denying substitute Keith Ryan, some resolute defending and possibly a little divine intervention, Posh somehow contrived to retain a blank score sheet.
And with Wycombe probably mortified by their failure to make that pressure tell, Posh finished the stronger with Paul Culpin having one effort blocked on the line and Noel Luke missing a ‘sitter’.
But had Posh added to that initial two goal burst it would probably have been a rather inaccurate reflection of the replay events in which Wycombe determinedly battled back from adversity – a 2-0 deficit in 14 minutes and the loss of midfielder Simon Stapleton with a leg injury in the opening seconds.
Skipper Mick Halsall, last season’s top scorer, celebrated his first goal of this campaign after just seven minutes, burying a left foot shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards after Granville had brilliantly foiled David Riley and Culpin.
Seven minutes later Halsall released Culpin and he finished with clinical precision into the top corner from just inside the penalty area to register his 11th goal of the season.
If that had Posh fans planning the third round trip to Port Vale, then the sight of both Dave Carroll and Martin Blackler thudding an upright in the same attack, with Mark West having the final touch disallowed for handball, and then Posh reject Nicky Evans halted by Bradshaw, would have left the finer details on the back boiler.
In the end it was a vale of tears for Wycombe but for Posh it’s time to break out the port for spot of Christmas cheer!
The Posh: Paul Bradshaw, Noel Luke, Phil Crosby, Mick Halsall, Keith Oakes, Gerry McElhinney, Worrell Sterling, Mark Hine, Paul Culpin, David Riley and Garry Butterworth.
Unused sub: Steve Osbourne and Dale Watkins.
Wycombe Wanderers: Granville, Whitby (sub Ryan), Walford, Crossley, Creaser, Carroll, Blackler, Stapleton (sub Smith), West, Evans and Hutchinson.
Goal scorers: The Posh – Mick Halsall 7 mins and Paul Culpin 14 mins.