Wycombe Wanderers got off to a rocky start in their Championship debut defeat against Rotherham… but Gareth Ainsworth’s ultra-direct Chairboys are ready to roll
- Wycombe Wanderers were denied their first second-tier point after a 1-0 defeat
- Michael Ihiekwe scored in stoppage time for Rotherham United at Adams Park
- Despite defeat, there will be no change from Gareth Ainsworth’s direct style
Wycombe Wanderers make no apology for their ultra-direct style of play under Gareth Ainsworth. One sign above the Adams Park tunnel reads: ‘Our house, our rules.’
Their passing accuracy on Saturday was 37.16 per cent — the lowest of any Championship side this weekend — because they prefer long balls over the top, set-pieces and scraps.
It looked like Wycombe were set for their first-ever point in the second tier of English football, until Rotherham’s Michael Ihiekwe headed home in stoppage time.
Gareth Ainsworth says he feels ‘lucky’ to be the manager of Wycombe Wanderers every day
Ainsworth, the long-haired, snakeskin boots-wearing manager who loves rock ‘n’ roll, released any frustrations yesterday by belting out tunes with his band, The Cold Blooded Hearts. Today he will retreat to his office to ponder this cruel welcome to the Championship.
There will be no change in style, however. While others might opt for death by a thousand passes or strangulation by triangulation, Ainsworth (pictured) is confident his way can work.
Many inside Wycombe thought the only way they would escape League One was by going down rather than heading up, yet here they are with Ainsworth ready to rock.
‘It’s been a hell of a ride for eight years,’ said the 47-year-old, manager of Wycombe since 2012. ‘I wake up every day feeling happy and lucky to be manager of Wycombe Wanderers. What a job. I’m so happy. I’m just going to spill all that positivity out into the boys.
Michael Ihiekwe scored in stoppage time to deny Chairboys their first ever second-tier point
They make no apologies for their ultra-direct style at Adams Park orchestrated by Ainsworth
‘If that’s wrong then you’re not going to get anything else. I’m not going to be one of these who goes home and can’t speak to anyone. Managers who say they kick the cat and everything else. I’m not like that. I’ll be normal Gareth at home. It’s a game of football.’
For Paul Warne’s Rotherham, also new to the Championship, this was a perfect start. They love a set-piece, too, and that secured them this win.
Next up for Wycombe is a trip to Blackburn, Ainsworth’s hometown. No prizes for guessing how the division newbies will play at Ewood Park.