An emotional Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth described last night’s 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final win at Mansfield Town as one of the proudest moment of his managerial career.
His never-say-die team were trailing 1-0, but took advantage of mistakes by the home side to hit back with two goals in nine minutes to move a game away from Wembley.
“This is absolutely huge for a club like Wycombe Wanderers,” he beamed.
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“I am very, very, very proud. This is one of the proudest moments of my managerial career. To be in a semi is just awesome for Wycombe.
“They did it in the FA Cup before and the League Cup in days when they had huge resources. The spirit when we are such a small club is just amazing.
“This side doesn’t know when they are beat – and I mean that. This is no co-incidence now, coming back from a goal down.
“They know how to be resilient, they know how to win games when they are in front, they know how to come back when they are behind and it’s a great place to be at the moment.
“We’ve got a great squad with a good set of lads.
“We played a lot of the lads who’ve not been playing and I thought they were outstanding.”
The game swung on Ainsworth’s double substitution on 66 minutes with both players who came on on scoring the goals.
“The experience that came onto the pitch helped us win the game, but it was a real squad effort and I am really pleased to be in the semi-finals which, for Wycombe Wanderers to be able to say something like is amazing,” he smiled.
“People will say it’s the double substitution but it wasn’t. Thompson and Cowan-Hall had run the Mansfield back four into the ground. So when Akinfenwa and Kashket came on they had an easier job than normal.
“Their lads were tired and now they had a different problem with a big man who is going to win every header and someone who gambles and times his runs to perfection.
“We just needed that at the right time, it doesn’t always work, but it was fantastic they both got the goals to get us through to the semis.”