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Memory Match: Wycombe Wanderers 0-3 Blackpool, 2004

An emotional Steve McMahon addresses the press after the victory over Wycombe
An emotional Steve McMahon addresses the press after the victory over Wycombe

Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to look at a dramatic week which ended with a 3-0 win at Wycombe, on January 17, 2004.

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McMahon interrupts Karl Oyston's press conference

McMahon interrupts Karl Oyston's press conference

Blackpool claimed a comfortable three points against relegation certainties Wycombe but it was the off-the-field drama which took all the headlines.

The game at Adams Park capped off a truly memorable week at Bloomfield Road.

On the Thursday before the game, Steve McMahon quit as manager.

Then he changed his mind, walked into his own farewell press conference – where the chairman Karl Oyston had just announced that the manager had gone – and promptly told everyone he had changed his mind.

By that stage, McMahon and Oyston were barely talking to each other and the next 48 hours were shambolic: no one knew whether McMahon was staying or going.

And that was the situation when the Seasiders kicked off at Wycombe.

The game on Saturday ended in equally controversial circumstances. McMahon certainly didn’t mince his words when it came to his boss Oyston.

“The chairman has probably got things to sort out. Every dog has his day and the time will come,” he said.

“When I resigned, I’d been on about this for a while, it was not just on a whim.

“I’ve done everything I could for all the right reasons, not the reasons the chairman has come out and said in the local paper.

“He can have his half hour and he can control and stage manage what he wants.

“That is fine, no problem. But I’ll have my say and put the record straight.”

When a manager slags off his chairman to the extent McMahon did in his post-match press conference, then it’s as good as signing your own P45.

At least the players were still focused on the job in hand.

Unlike some, they managed to keep a dignified silence throughout and at Wycombe they let their feet do the talking.

Okay, so they were playing a team who, it has to be said, were woeful.

Tony Adams, the former England skipper, must have hung his head in shame at the standard of his team’s diabolical defending.

But the Seasiders still had to beat what was in front of them and they did it with professionalism.

It was a vital three points too. With all the bickering off the pitch beforehand, it was almost easy to forget that there was an important match to play and that defeat might have dealt Pool’s play-off hopes a mortal blow.

That’s more than can be said for Wycombe. They are rock bottom, and on this evidence, they won’t be moving.

McMahon’s side was far too strong, without ever really having to try too hard. The Seasiders didn’t get out of second gear for most of the 90 minutes. There was simply no need.

The pattern was set 12 minutes in when John Murphy and Scott Taylor were denied but managed to roll the ball back into Martin Bullock’s path.

The winger, full of running all afternoon, chipped a ball into the middle and Danny Coid ghosted in on the blind side to bundle the ball in at the back post.

On 24 minutes, Pool had their one real let-off of the match. Craig Faulconbridge’s header from a right-wing cross was perfect – almost. It hit the underside of the upright and rolled across the goalline and out to safety.

That was a huge moment in the context of the game because, within 90 seconds, Pool made it two and effectively sealed the points.

Taylor, who had already caused problems with his lively running, did it all himself – collecting the ball wide on the left, before cutting inside and blasting a low shot which went through debutant keeper Scott Bevan.

That cheered the 497 Pool fans up. At least a horrible week was about to end on a high.

It was the best game yet from the manager’s son Stephen. Picked because Gareth Evans’ suspension meant the team had to be juggled, McMahon was lucky to escape without punishment after an early reckless tackle but thereafter calmed down and performed well.

Steve Davis was magnificent at the back and with Bullock, Taylor, skipper Richie Wellens and Coid all strutting to good effect, there was never any question which team would win.

The final nail in Wycombe’s coffin arrived on 66 minutes when a free kick Pool often use finally came off – well, sort of. After a quick triangle of passes, Wellens’ shot was tipped onto the post but Davis was there to slot home the rebound – his first goal in tangerine.

Taylor and Bullock both hit the crossbar as Wycombe continued to self implode on a regular basis at the back.

Amazingly the home fans barely raised a dissenting voice at the final whistle. They seemed resigned to their fate.

As for McMahon, he waited for his players to depart before striding towards the away fans, applauding them and raising a clenched fist.

TEAMS

Wycombe: Bevan, Senda, Simpemba, Nethercott, Marshall, Currie, Bulman, Ryan, Tyson, Roberts, Faulconbridge. Subs: Williams, Bloomfield, Bell, Mapes, Brown

Blackpool: Jones, Grayson, Hilton, Davis, Elliott, Bullock, Wellens, McMahon, Coid, Murphy, Taylor. Subs: Barnes, Flynn, Sheron, Burns, Wiles

Attendance: 4,834