IT WAS WORTH IT, SAYS GARETH
GARETH Ainsworth believes Wycombe’s promotion dream can become reality – after his side made a nightmare ten-and-a-half hour journey worthwhile with a dramatic victory at struggling Carlisle.
The Chairboys powered into a three-goal advantage with goals from Aaron Pierre, Fred Onyedinma and Matt McClure, but were left to cling on for victory after Kyle Dempsey and Danny Grainger strikes nearly led a Carlisle comeback.
Yet the young boss was full of praise for his side, after travel issues disrupted their preparation.
“We had a blow out with our bus on the way up so it took us over ten hours to get to Carlisle,” said Ainsworth.
“It wasn’t exactly ideal preparation, but we’ve managed to come here and earn what is a great three points.”
Ainsworth wasn’t convinced with referee Darren Handley’s penalty call which gave Carlisle a lifeline.
He added: “The referee has made it interesting with a very soft penalty, but we have held firm through a tough finish.”
Matt McClure wasted two great opportunities from close range, first nodding Sam Wood’s cross over before blazing a wild effort skyward from six yards.
The visitors were soon ahead however, after Carlisle failed to deal with a free-kick, and defender Pierre beat debutant keeper Raphael Spiegel to the loose ball to bundle home.
Wycombe spurned further chances before the half was out, as Ainsworth’s men failed to build further on their dominance.
It seemed to matter little as Wycombe found their shooting boots after the break.
The brilliant Onyedinma doubled their advantage when he cut inside past Matt Young and fired a glorious effort into the far top corner.
And moments later it was three, when McClure finally got on the score-sheet after running on to a through ball and drilling low past Spiegel.
But the Cumbrians – now winless in three – mustered a late fight-back to ensure a grandstand finish.
Midfielder Dempsey got the ball rolling by playing a one-two off his own short corner, before his looping shot found the corner with the help of a deflection.
The home crowd rallied, and were soon rewarded with a second goal when Charlie Wyke was brought down in the area by Alfie Mawson.
Captain Danny Grainger converted the Blues’ first penalty of the season, but it was to prove too little too late.
Substitute Mark Beck compounded Carlisle’s misery with a straight red card just 45 seconds after coming on for a reckless challenge.
Cumbrians boss Keith Curle said: “It is a disappointing performance, and what is most frustrating is the inconsistencies in our performances.
“We had a good week of training, a good warm up, good preparation - then we start the way we did. It is very frustrating. I thought we were second best everywhere.”
HEAD BOY: Wycombe Wanderers’ Aaron Pierre heads them in front
MY BALL: Carlisle United's Raphael Spiegel collects a cross