‘There is no substitute for hard work’ – Thomas A. Edison
Wise words indeed and the current Wycombe Wanderers team are a fantastic example of where working hard can get you. There are absolutely no passengers in the Wycombe team so far this season, the work ethic is evident from front to back and on this solid base confidence is growing. It’s wonderful to witness the audacity of shooting from forty yards (especially when they go in), Peter Murphy ghosting past five players to create an excellent chance and players who are comfortable in possession. There is a swagger developing with the Chairboys, and I mean this in the positive sense as this team have earned the right to play through hard work. The performance against AFC Wimbledon was a tremendous illustration of this.
Much was made of the attacking threat of the visitors in the build up to the game. The predatory prowess of Matt Tubbs coupled with the effective battering ram of Adebayo Akinfenwa has produced an impressive seventeen goals so far for the Wombles. The sigh of relief was almost audible around Adams Park as the news filtered through that Aaron Pierre was fit and in the team, whilst the return of Danny Rowe added defensive cover on the bench. Pierre and Mawson were superb but it was a team effort which left both Tubbs and Akinfenwa with just yellow cards to show for a frustrating first half. The Chairboys were pretty much first to everything, cutting down the supply line to the gravitationally gifted Akinfenwa which in turn gave nothing for Tubbs to feed off. Wimbledon had to resort to pumping long balls from the goalkeeper and each time Peter Murphy got in front of Akinfenwa to assist the defence. Wingers Sean Rigg and George Francomb could not get a footing in the game up against Wycombe’s full backs who were offered further protection by Sam Wood and Paris Cowan-Hall. Personally, I thought it was Cowan-Hall’s best all round performance in the quarters, a consistent attacking threat which was more than matched by his defensive endeavours. A true ‘Ainsworth’ style of wing play.
The breakthrough came shortly into the second half, with Josh Scowen bursting onto an excellent header from Steven Craig and calmly slotting past James Shea. Peter Murphy could have doubled the lead after a fantastic run but was thwarted by a great save but all the while the Chairboys were never in any danger. The game was wrapped up by a flying Sam Wood, whose header diverted an off target effort by Craig into the empty net following some good build up play.
I asked Neal Ardley after the game where he thought it went wrong for his side and he candidly responded ‘all over the pitch’. The Wimbledon manager conceded that they were second best and that Gareth and his team had certainly done their homework before the game.
So that’s ten games unbeaten in the league now and over half way to the magical points total. The only cloud that remains is the size of the squad ahead of the long winter. As the doubt around Pierre highlighted last week, it could only take a few injuries to reveal that there are not many substitutes for the hard workers.
For my post match interview with Gareth Ainsworth, click here
Here are the commentary highlights from the game and a special mention for Will Vince, who made a very assured home debut behind the mic as summariser. Many thanks to Keith Cummings for the audio.
Mobile & tablet version here