Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth was ‘gutted’ for the Wanderers travelling support after Oxford United scored in stoppage time to leave the Chairboys without a win in ten games.
Close to 1,800 fans made the short trip up the M40 to the Kassam Stadium on Saturday and were rewarded for their efforts early on when Wycombe took the lead through Adam El-Abd’s twenty-first-minute opener.
However, the day was to end in bitter disappointment for the travelling faithful after Jerome Sinclair converted a Marcus Browne cross to level for Oxford nine minutes later. The Yellows then dramatically secured the points in the ninety-fourth minute when a twenty-five-yard strike from Josh Ruffles broke Wycombe hearts.
An incident-packed match saw the usually reliable Jacobson miss a penalty for Ainsworth’s team on thirty-seven minutes after Alex Samuel was brought down in the box. Akinfenwa also saw a second-half header come back off the bar before Ruffles settled it in style.
Ainsworth praised the supporters on the club’s official website and urged the Wanderers faithful to stay with the team as they look to end a disappointing run of form.
He said. ‘I’m blown away by the support. On a winless run like we’re on, for them to turn up like that – they have to be proud of themselves.’
‘I’m gutted for them; they’ve supported me through thick and thin, and I need them again – I need support for the boys on the pitch.’
Ainsworth thanked the fans and assured them they would be back playing League One next season, adding ”Thank you for getting behind them today; sorry it won’t be a great trip home, but we’ll be back here at Oxford next season, I’m pretty sure of that.’
Opposite number Karl Robinson applauded the attitude of Ainsworth telling the Oxford Mail ‘I want people to notice that they’ve lost in the last minute and their manager shook every one of our players’ hands.’
‘He’s an unbelievable man. We’ve not put the music on in the dressing room, purely and simply out of respect.’
‘They are just an honest group of people who work so hard and have overachieved for most of the season.’
The win eased the relegation fears of Robinson’s men but left Wycombe nervously looking over their shoulders just two points above the dropzone on seventeenth.
Ainsworth continues to earn plaudits and respect from his peers for the job he is doing at Wycombe.
It may be easy for Robinson to be generous after such a victory, but his words show the high esteem Ainsworth is held in some quarters.
Wycombe supporters are lucky to have him and should answer his rallying call and get behind the team all they can in the coming weeks to secure safety.
If they do stay up, which I believe they will, it would arguably be a more significant achievement than last years promotion.