A record-breaking night in the Senior Cup
Long Crendon were handed a 'dream match' when they were drawn against League One promotion chasers, Wycombe Wanderers, in the Quarter Final of the County's most prestigious competition.
The night itself however, must have felt like a dream to the Spartan South Midlands League Divsion One side as the 136 year-old club made history, breaking multiple records for club, stadium and league attendances.
1,904 people walked through the turnstiles at the ASM Stadium in Thame on a cold, wet, Tuesday evening to witness a real 'David and Goliath' fixture, with the majority of the crowd backing Long Crendon and hoping for one more cupset from the Buckinghamshire village side.
As Referee Daniel Todd and his team (Assistant Referees Kieran Bailey, Gareth Viccars and Fourth Official, Simon Parbery) got the game underway, Long Crendon started out well, keeping a young Chairboys side at bay and creating their own few chances before an Ali Al-Hamadi strike before the half-hour mark gave Wycombe the lead going in at half-time.
Long Crendon came out for the start of the second half with the game at 0-1 and everthing to play for.
However, a couple of injuries to key players in the first half caught up with them and, as the game went on, Wycombe's young players started to show their quality.
A superb curling effort from Jack Young, making his debut for the Chairboys, early in the second half seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the game, but then Long Crendon threatened to pull one back almost immediately with a free kick on the edge of the box.
The Green and White Army were nearly gifted a chance to get on the scoreboard on the 70' mark as a mistake at the back for Wycombe meant their young keeper, and captain on the night, had to pull off a smart save at his near post to keep Crendon out.
In need of fresh legs, Long Crendon tried to hold on but Oliver Pendlebury scored Wycombe's third of the evening with a neat shot, before JB Fischer, with pretty much the last action of the game, made it four for the Chairboys with a superb curling effort into the top corner of the net.
The game finished 0-4 to Wycombe Wanderers who now progress to the Semi-Finals of the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Cup, but many may feel the real winner on the night was football.
Record crowds with many families and young people in attendance to witness history being made gave this fixture a true community feel.
Add to that the presence of Wycombe Wanderers Chairman, Rob Couhig, and Manager, Gareth Ainsworth, in the stands, along with the the news that the club were giving their share of the gate money to Long Crendon, made for a very special night indeed.
Speaking to the Bucks Free Press after the defeat on the kind gesture, Long Crendon manager, Ryan Davis, said: “It’s brilliant and it’s no more than what I would have expected from Wycombe, having dealt with them over the course of this tie.
“Every single one of their staff members, without fail, has been unbelievable. They have shown us the utmost respect, they have treated us like a professional club and so to make that gesture, that is life changing for us." He went on to say; “I took a couple of steps back during the game and I said to my assistants and say just take a moment to appreciate this as this isn’t going to happen every day. And whatever we achieve in football, whether that’s with Long Crendon or not, it really did feel like a unique occasion."
Also speaking to the Bucks Free Press after the game, Wycombe Wanderers Chairman, Rob Couhig, said: “It was fantastic. It was great to see a great community come together to watch a sport that they love, and for us, it was good to see some of our youngsters out there and really play well. It shows that the players, coaches, and staff are really about building this sport within the community.
"I am so proud of the players as they treated the game with so much respect, along with the Long Crendon (sic) players, and do you know who I am most proud of? Our staff. If you talk to those at Long Crendon, they will tell you that our staff went out of their way to help them and if we can put some money into them, it’s good for us. What goes around comes around. I’m a believer in karma. We have been a very fortunate team and it doesn’t hurt to be friendly."
Wycombe Wanderers are the first name into the hat for the Semi-Finals of the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Cup.
They will wait to see who joins them once the remaining Quarter Final ties are played*:
Didcot Town FC v Ascot United (22 February 2022, 19:45 KO)
Beaconsfield Town FC v Milton Keynes Dons FC (1 March 2022, 19:45 KO)
Chesham United FC v Reading FC (2 March 2022, 19:45 KO)
*Please note, fixtures dates/times are subject to change at short notice. For the most up-to-date information please view the Fixtures & Results page, here.