Ainsworth: It’s not all about the play-offs

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Colin Hen­rys

GARETH Ainsworth in­sists he is not look­ing at the play-offs af­ter his ten­man Wy­combe side dropped out of the top seven with a draw at Carlisle.

Sam Wood headed the vis­i­tors in front, but Char­lie Wyke equalised and Mark Gille­spie saved Joe Jacobson’s penalty in an en­ter­tain­ing first-half.

Mar­cus Bean was then sent off af­ter the break, but Ainsworth was just happy to have chalked up an­other point on the road.

“Both teams went for it, and the draw doesn’t do much good for both teams but it puts us within four or five points of our tar­get to­tal,” he said.

“It’s not a blow if you’re not go­ing for the play-offs. The aim is only to get 61 points and fin­ish as high as we can.

“If we can make it to the play-offs, bril­liant, but the fans are fan­tas­tic and know where we are as a club and I’m a proud man.

“The men­tal state of the boys, see­ing that game out with ten men was su­perb. Our last-ditch de­fend­ing was bril­liant.”

Wy­combe were in front on 12 min­utes when Jacobson got for­ward on the counter-at­tack, beat­ing Tom Miller be­fore cross­ing left-footed for Wood to head in un­marked.

The lead lasted just 14 min­utes though as Hal­lam Hope clev­erly flicked the ball over a de­fender be­fore pick­ing Wyke out for an easy tap-in in front of goal.

Ryan All­sop’s dou­ble­save on the half-hour, to deny Ja­son Kennedy and Hope, kept the vis­i­tors in it as Carlisle ral­lied.

Gille­spie brought Garry Thomp­son down in the area on 41 min­utes, but the keeper re­deemed him­self with an ex­cel­lent one-handed save, low to his right, from Jacobson’s penalty.

Wy­combe’s task got harder when Bean was shown a straight red card for lung­ing in on Mark El­lis on 79 min­utes af­ter los­ing pos­ses­sion in the middle.

But the Chair­boys stood firm and Carlisle boss Keith Curle ad­mit­ted his team might need more at­tack­ing op­tions to kick on af­ter fail­ing to break their vis­i­tors’ re­solve.

“We are cre­at­ing goalscor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, but it might be that we need an­other, or a dif­fer­ent, op­tion in at­tack and that’s some­thing we are look­ing for,” Curle said.

“Make no mis­take about it, the will­ing­ness to not get beat is a great foun­da­tion.We need to be dif­fi­cult to beat and we are that, and we will start scor­ing goals again.

“We are still a work in progress. The play­ers as a col­lec­tive have come to­gether and now we just need to get that win.

“It’s com­ing to­gether. Ev­ery­body wants to get in the play-offs. We’re go­ing to give it ev­ery­thing we can do.”

STAR MAN MARK EL­LIS Carlisle

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