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S4 EP5 Wycombe Wanderers - This Is It, The Biggest Moment In Our History

In our previous episode we had secured ourselves a place in the Championship Playoff place at the very least. With a very every long shot at sneaking into the automatic promotion spots.


We need a decent run of form and for Southampton (1st) Watford (2nd) to slip up.


April 2024


After a solid run of form to guarantee the playoffs our form fell off a cliff putting stop to any chance we had of catching the top 2


Game 43 - Birmingham (A) 1-3


Going into half time at 1-1 thanks to a Danny Loader equaliser we had to push for a winner to keep our faint dreams alive, this left us very vulnerable at the back and we conceded 2 late goals.


Game 44 - Blackburn (H) 0-1


With the automatic playoff's out of reach this was an almost nothing game, we made changes to rest key players and suffered a 1-0 defeat. Although resting players was required my concern is we will lose momentum for the Playoffs.


Game 45 - Cardiff (A) 0-2


Another defeat followed as we lost on the road to Cardiff, two first half goals were enough to see us lose three on the spin for the first time this season. Worrying signs for the playoffs.


Game 46 - Fulham (H) 2-1


With the first team reinstated after a small rest we turn our form around with a pleasing 2-1 win. A Harvey White penalty and an Ian Davenport goal saw us go 2-0 up in the second half, Fulham scored very late on as the season Drew to a close.


This result secured us 3rd place and denied Fulham the last playoff place as Brentford won on the last day to confirm their spot.



The Playoffs


So this is it, the playoffs. Two games away from Wembley and Three away from the grandest stage in English Football, The Premier League.


The Playoffs would be contested between Ourselves, Barnsley (4th), QPR (5th) and Brentford (6th).


We would be up against Brentford, with the first match taking place in West London.


EFL Championship Playoffs Semi Final 1st Leg - Brentford (A)


The most important 180 minutes of football awaited as we lined up at the Brentford Community Stadium.


Having beaten them twice 2-1 in the regular season and finishing 12 points ahead of them we were fancied as favourites for this tie.


We started Poorly as Brentford took an early lead. We equalised from the penalty spot as Harvey White held his nerve to send the keeper the wrong way. 1-1 at half time.


The second half was a tense affair as both teams probed without much success. We started to assert some dominance and had a Max Verhelst goal chalked off by VAR for offside. We weren't to be denied and Danny Loader scored 2 minutes later to make it 2-1 with 20 minutes to play.


Nerves started to creep in as we tried to take this lead back to Adams Park with us, and we contributed to our own downfall after dropping deeper and deeper defending our box Brentford broke through to equalise in the 80th minute. 2-2 at Full Time.


In a mirror image of our Game QPR and Barnsley drew 2-2 in the other semi final.


All teams are still in with a great chance of reaching Wembley.


EFL Championship Playoffs Semi Final 2nd Leg - Brentford (H)


After a very close game this could go either way. We have been very good at home this season and a sell out crowd were right behind us from the first whistle.


It was our turn to start quickly as Max Verhelst was fouled in the box after 6 minutes. Harvey White dispatching his second penalty of the tie. 1-0 Wycombe.


We were playing brilliantly and a second goal was only a matter of time. Max Verhelst was the man of the moment as he finished a flowing move to put us 2-0 up and 4-2 up on aggregate.


Half time arrived and that first half couldn't have gone any better. A dominant display.


The second half was much of the same as we probed for that killer blow. It didn't come however and Brentford capitalised on this and dragged themselves back into the tie with a goal in the 83rd minute.


This made for the longest 7 minutes of my career so far as we were suddenly on the back foot and looking there for the taking. But or defence held strong to send little old Wycombe to Wembley!

We will be facing Barnsley at the home of English football, who won the second leg of the other tie 4-2 (6-4 on aggregate)


EFL Championship Playoff Final - Barnsley (N)


So this is it, 90 minutes away from achieving what many said would be impossible.


It was 3rd vs 4th for a place in The Premier League. Looking back at our results this season with Barnsley and the teams cant be separated after two 1-1 draws.


The game started like a rocket as both teams had clear cut chances in the first few minutes. Barnsley then had the ball in the back of the net, only for VAR to rule it our for offside.


The game was stop start as we lost a bit of discipline, receiving 3 yellow cards in the first 20 minutes. Half time arrived and neither team could break the dead lock. 0-0 with it all to play for in the second half.


We were forced to make 2 changes 10 minutes into the second half as Jack Clarke picked up a knock, we was replaced by Danny Loader and Ian Davenport was replaced by Zidane Iqbal, moving Max Verhelst from the right wing to the central striker.


This change turned out to be the difference as Max Verhelst started to pull the strings from his favoured central position.


Then it happened, three of the biggest minutes in Wycombe Wanderers history as Max Verhelst single handily took on the Barnsley defence from just inside his own half to slot past the keeper. 1-0 Wycombe with 15 minutes to go.


If that goal was all class Verhelst showed his poaching skills as he pounced on a loose ball in the box after a corner to almost break the net from 6 yards out with a powerful header to put us 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go.


Barnsley were obviously deflated and couldn't muster another chance. The whistle went to scenes of absolute jubilation for the men in the famous Light and Dark Blue Quarters.


WYCOMBE WANDERERS ARE PROMOTED TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE


Verhelst was also the Leagues top scorer with 24 goals in 44 appearances.

The League placings can be seen below.


In a season where we were predicted to finish 15th to finish 3rd was incredible and to go on and win the play offs is stuff of dreams.


Next season Wycombe Wanderers will line up amongst some of the best teams in Europe.


We will cover the club changes, budgets etc in the next episode. For now I am going to bask in the glory of achieving one of our long term goals, oh and get the hell out of this suit!


Cheers


Panda



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