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Gareth: It was a fantastic way to win it

The Chairboys manager praised his side post Exeter.

11 August 2021

Manager Gareth Ainsworth praised his side following a tough night at Exeter City, but was clear that rectifying the injury blow ahead of league action would be a top priority.

Ainsworth’s first thought following the victory was to the players who had to be taken off due to injury.

“Worry overrides elation at the moment. My side is a thin squad as it is, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re fit, because a fit Wycombe Wanderers of this calibre will achieve things. One or two injuries weakens us majorly, and it’s up to me now to make sure that A) everyone recovers well and we get these injuries sorted, and B) maybe go into the transfer market and see what we can do to strengthen the squad and patch up the holes that are appearing.”

Despite the injuries, the manager was pleased with the performance, in particular, the fight that his squad showed for each other.

“I’m elated. We had 10 men for 30 minutes in the second half. We had nine men for five minutes. I don’t know how we’ve got through that! It was Andre Burley’s debut, Olly Pendlebury’s second game, Sullay Kaikai’s debut, Sam Vokes on his second game… Nick Freeman was playing centre-back at the end there! It’s just frightening what these boys will do for each other - not for me - for each other. They can achieve. It was a fantastic way to win it - in front of the fans. One Exeter fan prematurely told our fans to be quiet and I was proud to see us take the pressure - Stocko saving and scoring penalties - turning it right on it’s head. It was a great way to win.”

Wycombe’s man between the sticks was the talk of the night, making vital saves, before denying a number of Exeter penalties and scoring from the spot himself.

“It’s another clean sheet. David Stockdale has been phenomenal since he’s come into the team and he leads those boys - he’s not named as a general, but he’s right in there and he’s a fantastic character to have in the dressing room. He had to wait his turn - he helped get us promoted - without a shadow of a doubt, he was our main cheerleader in getting us to the Championship, and since he’s come into the side, he’s been fantastic. The night belongs to him - it was a fantastic penalty and great saves, including a crucial save right at the end.”

Despite the 360 mile trip, there was still a Chairboys contingent in the away stand to cheer the depleted squad onto victory, and Gareth felt that they deserved to see the side win.

“Thank you to those 200 or so fans that supported Wycombe Wanderers tonight - it was just brilliant. That noise! I was so pleased when Jack Grimmer won the toss and chose penalties at that end, because they deserved to see that. They’ve come all this way and they’ll be sleeping sound tonight, knowing that we’re in the next round.”

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