For the third time since joining the professional ranks 28 years ago, Wycombe Wanderers go into their final game of the season needing to win to have any chance of avoiding relegation.

They were successful at Lincoln in 1999 and at Torquay in 2014, but this time the task is surely beyond them.

Even victory at Middlesbrough on Saturday (May 8) will not secure survival unless they score an improbable number of goals and results elsewhere go in their favour.

The day at Torquay saw the club avoid relegation into the Non-League

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The party is almost over, but Wanderers will leave the Championship with their heads held high and a genuine prospect that they will be back soon.

Sadly, when the final whistle blows at Middlesbrough, no fans will be there to give the team and backroom staff the recognition they deserve, unlike those unforgettable days at Lincoln and Torquay.

Almost 3,000 Wycombe supporters made the trip to Lincoln in May 1999 when they pulled off their first Great Escape.

It was the final day of a Division Two (now League One) campaign that, like the current season, started badly.

Wanderers lost nine of their opening 12 games and were bottom of the table for most of the season.

Defeat at Lincoln would have sent them down, and to make the stakes even higher, the home side faced relegation themselves unless they won.

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A tense game ended in joyous celebrations for Wycombe when they took the lead with seven minutes to go.

Paul Emblen’s looping header found the net and the Chairboys withstood a late barrage to secure victory and survival.

Fast forward 15 years to 2014 and an even greater triumph.

Wanderers travelled to Torquay United knowing that a win was the minimum requirement to avoid relegation to the Conference and financial meltdown.

They kept their nerve and led 3-0 going into the closing minutes, but Ainsworth’s men still needed Bristol Rovers to lose at home to Mansfield before they could climb out of the bottom two on goal difference.

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I will never forget the roar from the Wycombe fans packed behind the goal at Torquay when the news reached them that Rovers had lost 1-0 and Wanderers were safe.

The Chairboys have often been involved in these last day dramas, but if they are still a Championship club come three o’ clock on Saturday afternoon, they will have achieved one of the greatest escapes in football history.