Saturday 3rd February 2018 isn't going to be forgotten in these parts, writes Tom Hancock.
Coming into the home game against Carlisle, Wanderers were already on a high after their superb midweek win over league leaders Luton at Kenilworth Road, and the good times looked set to continue when Matt Bloomfield and Luke O’Nien sent the Blues in 2-0 up at half-time. But a controversial O’Nien red card, a Joe Jacobson penalty miss, and three Carlisle goals later, and it had all gone disastrously wrong for Wycombe. Or so it seemed.
Paris Cowan-Hall’s 93rd minute diving header to level it up at 3-3 was improbable and exciting enough, but what followed was the stuff of fantasy. Adebayo Akinfenwa won a free-kick midway inside the visitors’ half, Bloomfield lofted the ball into the box, and Carlisle cleared their lines – only for it to fall to BEAN!
Yes, in his 104th appearance for the club, the player who’d never scored for Wycombe had finally broken his duck – and in spectacular style. A 20-yard, volleyed, 96th minute winner for the ten-man Chairboys in front of the terrace was about as good as it could possibly have been. The sight of him sprinting ecstatically to the other end of the pitch to celebrate with his parents – who, it turned out, had already left – will live as long in the memory as the goal itself.
Fans in the Origin Family Stand leapt out of their seats and made a beeline for the corner to celebrate with the great man – and those teammates who’d managed to keep up with him. He was booked but who cares? He’d just capped off a truly thrilling afternoon that will go down in Wycombe Wanderers history. Here, just some of those who were there sum up their feelings and tell their stories.
WE WERE THERE WHEN BEANY SCORED.
(Of course, he went and scored another one before this feature was even finished, didn’t he.)
Alan Cecil: “Just when I was getting happy to settle for a draw, along comes Beany to ‘spoil’ things with his dramatic winner but at least I can say #iwastherewhenBeanyscored”
Emily Isaac: “I cried and screamed at Beany's goal!! The emotions going through me were unbelievable! One I'll remember!”
Ben Prior-Wandesforde: “As the ball was floated in from Matt Bloomfield's free kick, I was hopeful rather than expectant that something special would happen and I didn't feel any more confident when I saw it was Marcus Bean that the cleared ball was dropping to. Sitting in The Origin Family Stand, directly in-line with Bean, I was fully expecting the ball to be blazed over the bar as it had been many times before.
“But this time was different. BOSH! I couldn't believe my eyes as the ball sailed like a rocket into the back of the net. The next few moments for me were a mixture of jubilation and shock: watching Bean wheeling away like a man possessed. I've never seen someone run so fast! Having been unfairly reduced to 10 men, nicking the injury time winner made the whole experience as special as Garry Thompson's towering header against Spurs in the FA Cup last year.”
James Hancock: “At the weekend, I returned home from university for the match. Wycombe were dominant in the first half but as the old cliché goes, football is definitely a game of two halves and before I knew it, we were suddenly 3-2 down and I was regretting my choice to return for the match; but one thing I’ve learned this season is that Wycombe can’t stop scoring goals! I always knew there’d be a chance we’d come away from the game with something and sure enough, we drew back level and it looked as if Wycombe would finish the match with a well-earned point; but then the unthinkable happened!
“As the ball flew towards Beany, I knew. I don’t know how I knew because Beany obviously isn’t renowned for his goal-scoring prowess, but I knew. The ball rifled into the bottom corner and before I knew what I was doing, I’d manhandled my mum out the way (sorry mum!) and was running along the front of the Family Stand to try and catch the runner Bean! At last I caught up with him in the corner and I even managed to touch the hero himself in the mad celebrations! My “I was there when Beany scored” t-shirt has already been ordered!”
Craig Rose: “My son jumped with celebration and smacked his knee on the metal railing in front of us. He was ecstatic with joy but in so much pain and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.He missed his Sunday morning match through the injury. #IWasThereWhenBeanyScored”
Steve Phelps: “My arms ached after applauding for so long.”
@mummacullah on Twitter: “I was right in line with Beany's strike and from the moment the ball hit his foot there was only one place it was going. I have never seen such elation and watching 'Runner Bean' take off down the sideline was a joy. #IWasThereWhenBeanyScored”
And a couple of fans who weren't there but revelled in the moment nonetheless...
Fred Kirby: “Unfortunately I was not #ThereWhenBeanyScored but what a moment it was nonetheless. Sat in my university room, following on the radio, the moment I heard Bean had done it I was sent into raptures as if I was in Adams Park.
“Sprinting through the house screaming BEAN and swinging my Wycombe shirt round my head, somewhat to the bemusement of my housemates. What. A. Moment.”
Michael Shevlane: “I WAS IN DENVER WHEN BEANY SCORED. I should have known it would be a special morning when my dear pregnant wife, who likes to sleep to the crack of noon, was up for the 8am kick off here in Denver, resplendent in her Wycombe shirt. Having her on board for the game was a huge positive, and reaching halftime at 2-0, her pregnant mojo appeared to be doing the trick for us. Then came the red card for Luke’s deliberate torso-ball. Then the Carlisle penalty. And our penalty miss. And two more agonizing Carlisle goals. By the time the 90th minute approached, I was reduced to pontificating about how we follow teams through the bad times as well as the good, whilst falling decidedly onto the grouchy and grumbly side of the mood line.
“When Paris Cowan-Hall equalized, it was a fun moment, with a tinge of regret that we were still dropping two points in a game that could have gone so differently. So when Bayo won the free-kick in the 96th minute, I joked that my shirt might come off if we scored again. For some reason, my wife seemed even more interested in a winner! As the ball went into the box, I felt momentarily sure that we would score, followed by a lull of disappointment as the Carlisle player squared up to head it clear…the rest is a blur. Bean appeared, the net rippled, and I ripped off the shirt and went nuts, as my wife laughed at the craziness of it all. It is testament to the speed of Bean (a new measurement just below the speed of sound), that this all took but a few moments, yet he was already down by the opposite corner flag when I sat down to watch again!
“So I was not there when Beany scored. I was thousands of miles and seven time zones away…but I will never forget it all the same!
“(P.S. – if you encounter a heavily pregnant American lady at Adams Park for the Stevenage game in May, say hello – that will be my wife, Autumn).”
From the press box...
Matt Cecil: “We had strength in depth not just on the pitch but in the press box, where match reporter Tom Hancock, presenter Chloe Briggs, PA man Jake Hayward and my colleague Tom Jarvis were just about composing themselves after the thrill of Paris Cowan-Hall’s equaliser which we thought had salvaged a point.
“I had the rare luxury of having no specific task during the game, enabling me to stay glued to the action rather than burying my head in a laptop to share the news with thousands across social media.
“And then it came. There was a serene moment of calm around the place as Matt Bloomfield delivered the free-kick, and when the ball landed to Marcus Bean’s right foot, we in the press box were right behind his shot as it flew like a dart into the bottom corner.
“Calm turned to euphoria. Tom grabbed me, turned to his right to celebrate with Chloe, and by the time he turned again, I’d pegged it. Something in my head triggered the fans’ chant of ‘when Beany scores we’re on the pitch’ and I knew I needed to be pitchside the capture the celebrations that would follow at the full-time whistle. I squeezed past Carlisle’s local news reporter, hugged iFollow commentator Phil Catchpole en route to the steps, and sprinted down to the mouth of the tunnel where various staff members and non-playing players were all staring at each other in shock.
“iPhone poised in my hand, I stared at the referee, willing him to blow the full-time whistle, and when it came, sprinted towards the mass of bodies that were throwing themselves at the goalscoring hero. These were real scenes of joy, disbelief and team spirit, but best of all was Marcus’ own reaction – a mixture of laughter, howls of celebration and exclamations of sheer disbelief at what had happened.
“The video of the celebrations was swiftly uploaded across social media and the view count raced along, with us receiving more Twitter notifications than on any other matchday so far this season. Legions of fans across the world were sharing in the celebrations and that feelgood factor continued over the coming days, aided by the superb work of Tom Jarvis, whose video editing of Dan Brown’s stunning pitchside footage created a mini highlights reel which will be watched time and time again in years to come.
“This is a brilliant job to do most of the time, but my enjoyment cranked up a notch the day that I was there when Beany scored.”
Tom Hancock: “The ironic choruses of ‘SHOOOOT!’ whenever the ball fell to Beany seemed to have become more and more frequent at games prior to this – to the point that he’d probably be urged to have a go from the edge of his own box. I definitely encouraged him to go for goal from a rather ridiculous distance during this match – although it was pretty futile considering I was sat behind the glass of the press box. But, of course, it turned out that he had it all under control.
“The reaction inside the box was quite something, and I think the windows might need checking over after the battering some of us gave them in celebration. I was so stunned at what had just happened that I wasn’t quick enough to get in on the hugs (sad times), and I also didn’t quite release what a phenomenal strike it was – sorry, Marcus, for only putting it down as a half-volley in the match report. I’ve watched it plenty of times since then and what a hit, sir!
“Once I’d made sure all was documented and we’d officially secured the three points, I couldn’t resist legging it down to the front to show my appreciation for the great man as he headed for the tunnel – needless to say, I was far from the only one. I haven’t been quite that overwhelmed with emotion at a game since White Hart Lane last year, and this was probably even better because, well, we pulled off an utterly outrageous comeback. This was my first time writing the match report, and I’ll have to put my few mistakes down to being caught up in the unbelievable drama of it all. What. A. Game.
“I had several messages on my phone after that goal, from Wycombe fans and non-Wycombe fans alike, but the most notable was from my mate with whom I’d been talking about Bean and his goal drought only the day before. I can’t repeat the whole thing here but ‘Marcus Bean, you can’t make it up’ probably says enough. #IWasThereWhenBeanyScored”.
Chloe Briggs: “What an intense six minutes that stoppage time was! When Paris Cowan-Hall scored the equaliser, I was buzzing. After such a dramatic game, I thought we’d secured the point.
“But Marcus Bean’s goal – what a moment.
“I’ve watched it multiple times and I think it gets better every time I watch it! We went mental in the press box and I’m surprised we didn’t break something! What a strike.
“It’s certainly a game, a day, and a goal at Adams Park that I’m going to remember for a very long time!”