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