TENSE? NOT ME INSISTS DELIGHTED AINSWORTH
Chairboys go second in the table
GARETH Ainsworth refuses to feel the pressure, despite his Wycombe side taking another step closer to automatic promotion with a win over title rivals Shrewsbury.
Sam Wood headed the only goal of the game after just 40 seconds as the Chairboys leapfrogged the Shrews into second spot and have a chance to go top if they beat Accrington on Tuesday.
Shrewsbury looked lacklustre in front of goal and failed to muster a clear cut chance despite periods of good pressure in the second half.
The win leaves Wycombe unbeaten in five and Ainsworth cannot get enough of his squad’s performances this year after narrowly escaping relegation back in May.
“There’s still no pressure on us and I’m not feeling it at all. We have this squad that no one fancied and we’re still in there,” said Ainsworth.
“It’s a big win and one I thought we deserved.We came at them in the first half with a high tempo and lots of pressure. We stifled the way they played and that was the plan all week.
“We got the early goal, which was great, but credit to Shrewsbury, after the break they really came at us and put us under a lot of pressure.
“They made a few changes but we were able to match them and saw the game out really well.
“I’m kicking every ball out there
with them and I’m loving it. We’re still defying everyone and playing this attacking, expansive football. They’re a great bunch to work with.”
Shrewsbury barely had a touch before they were behind when Wood meet Nico Yennaris’ cross to head past Jayson Leutwiler for his fifth of the season.
And it was almost two moments later when Fred Onyedinma’s 20-yard drive was tipped over bar by the busy Shrews stopper.
The visitors were struggling to pose an attacking threat and Tyrone Barnett’s 42nd-minute drive straight at goalkeeper Matt Ingram was their only effort in the opening half. A triple substitution sparked life into Shrewsbury though and a close-range block from Ingram stopped James Collins leveling the game shortly before the hour mark.
But despite the pressure it was Wycombe who looked the more dangerous in front of goal as Leutwiler was in action again, this time tipping over Paul Hayes’s effort.
The striker came close again moments later, firing wide when well placed in the area on 78 minutes.
Aaron Holloway was introduced late on and the substitute almost capped off the win with a sweet late strike, only to see it come back off the bar as the clock ran down.
Shrewsbury will be nervously looking over their shoulder after one win in five games means they are just three points above Southend in fourth.
Manager Micky Mellon insisted he wanted more from his players if they are to turn their form around as the season enters its final stretch with just ten games remaining.
“I expect a reaction from the lads. We’ll learn the lessons and look to move on very quickly,” said Mellon.
“We will heed the warnings from this and hopefully we’ll go again in another big match on Tuesday night.
“First-half intensity and battling were issues. It’s quite basic, you’ve got to come and compete on these bobbly pitches. We never met that challenge in the first half and found ourselves a goal down.
“The pitch was the same for both teams, we just didn’t adjust to it quickly enough and they got the goal.
“Once they get themselves in front you see how they slow the game down.
“To give yourself a chance you have to score and we tried to keep ourselves in it for as long as possible.
“From the lads who played you couldn’t say there wasn’t anybody who could cause issues and do the job. So it’s just unfortunate that they weren’t able to do it.”
HERO: Sam Wood is mobbed after his winning goal
SLAMMIN’ SAM: Sam Wood heads in to give Wycombe the lead
STAR MAN SAM SAUND