With one of Wycombe’s biggest games in their history on the horizon — a trip to Filbert Street to face Premier League Leicester City in an FA Cup Quarter Final — they were dealt with the cruelest injury crisis that left them without a recognised striker available. Little did manager Lawrie Sanchez know that this would be the beginning of such a fantastic and memorable story.
Many things are advertised on the internet every second of the day. However one thing you don’t expect to see is an advert for a fit, non-cup-tied striker, available to play an FA Cup Quarter Final. That is exactly what Second Division (now League One) side Wycombe advertised for.
The advert inspired an article that was published on the BBC Ceefax service which caught the eye of the agent of a certain Roy Essandoh. The Belfast born striker of Ghanaian descent was pretty much completely unknown in the football world having played only a handful of games in Scotland before moving to Finland, where he found himself unemployed after a stint at VPS Vaasa. His agent responded to Wycombe’s advert and Essandoh was handed a two week deal.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the second half Sanchez handed a chance to the unknown striker and sent him on. With the game winding down and entering injury time the 6ft striker rose highest to power a header into the back of the net and clinch an unlikely victory in the most unlikely fashion. Roy Essandoh had gone from a relatively unknown to an FA Cup hero in the space of a week! His original contract wouldn’t even extend far enough for him to play in the Semi Final, although unsurprisingly he was awarded an extension.
Undoubtedly this is one of the greatest moments in FA Cup history and should serve as a positive message to any aspiring young footballers out there that your dreams can be achieved even at the most unlikely of times. That’s the true magic of the FA Cup.