NO MAGICAL FAREWELL FOR AINSWORTH
WYCOMBE ........1 PORT VALE ........1
WILD THING was almost weeping as he brought the curtain down on his career with a 600th and final appearance – but there wasn’t quite the fairytale finish for Wycombe player-manager Gareth Ainsworth.
Coming off the bench, 39-yearold Ainsworth couldn’t help his side to victory as Lee Hughes nodded in his 16th of the season to cancel out Dean Morgan’s opener from the spot – a goal which rubber-stamped Port Vale’s promotion.
Ainsworth did have the chance to secure a fairytale finish but he dragged his shot wide when wellplaced, ensuring the Chairboys ended their campaign in 15th.
But Ainsworth is already plotting next season’s assault after taking the decision to hang up his boots.
He said:“I’m two weeks off 40 years old, I’m retiring, and I’ve got people like 17-year-old Kortney Hause who is an outstanding prospect at this place, he is an absolute gem to work with and I think he’ll go onto big things.
“And that’s one of the reasons that I want to do it, I want to stop because I want to give these lads all I can and I’d love all of them to go on and play many more than 600.
“They did give me a standing ovation in the dressing room and I got a little bit choked up but it’s brilliant, it’s great to end it.”
Vale should have taken the lead on 19 minutes when Chris Shuker’s free-kick fell to Ashley Vincent but he skied the ball over from just six yards.
Wycombe made the breakthrough on the half hour when Vale keeper Chris Neal was called up for holding Morgan in the box.
Morgan took the spot-kick and sent the keeper the wrong way, burying it into the bottom left corner.
Hause headed over in the second half for Wycombe before Hughes levelled with 11 minutes to go, sealing a fourth straight draw for Vale, who finish in third.
“I’m pleased it’s over. I’m delighted for everyone connected with the football club that we’ve had a fantastic season,” said Vale boss Mickey Adams.
“I can’t pay the players high enough praise they’ve been absolutely terrific. I don’t think that there’s many football clubs that have been through the traumas that we’ve had.We’ve come through the other end.
“The club’s a more settled place now. I don’t recommend administration for anybody because it affects people’s lives and there are people that are not with us anymore because the administrator made cut backs.”