Gareth Ainsworth hails team effort as Wycombe upset Reading

Royals boss Veljko Paunovic vowed to ‘support’ Lucas Joao after his third penalty miss of the season.

By Press Association Published: 23 February 2021 - 11.01pm

Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth was delighted with how his players kept their heads after being reduced to 10 men during their shock 1-0 victory over promotion-chasing Reading.

The Chairboys may be bottom of the Championship and eight points adrift of safety, but Fred Onyedinma’s goal secured a vital result that came about despite them having Ryan Tafazolli sent off with 22 minutes still to play.

Ainsworth said: “Of course, you think it’s going to be tough now, playing with 10 men against a Championship side – a top-five Championship side, never mind anything else.

“It was important that I kept my head straight in thinking about what I wanted to do.

“We went to a five at the back so I could keep the three in midfield because I felt that was where they were very strong.

“That just left us with one up top on his own and I thought Uche (Ikpeazu) was fantastic.

“It was a real team effort – I’ve got (Adebayo) Akinfenwa, who’s not even in the squad and he’s shouting louder than anyone around and that, for me, is Wycombe.

“That’s what we are, we are together and whatever happens we’ll be coming out swinging together every single game. I can’t wait for Sunday (against Norwich) now.”

Wycombe took the lead four minutes after the restart when Onyedinma nodded in from close range after Anthony Stewart had kept alive Josh Knight’s sliced overhead kick.

Reading had the chance to level from the penalty spot when Andy Rinomhota was bundled over by Tafazolli, who was shown the red card, but Lucas Joao struck the top of the bar.

Ikpeazu then had a weak penalty saved by Rafael Cabral in the closing stages but the hosts managed to hold on regardless.

Reading boss Veljko Paunovic said: “I think we had some good situations and a lot of opportunities, other than the penalty, but I think we have to also acknowledge our opponents for stopping us from scoring goals.

“On the other side, we also have to acknowledge we have to work at being sharp with our finishing.

“Football is very emotional – we had guys crying in the changing room after the game because of the disappointment.

“We don’t want to let them do that because we have to bounce back in the next game.

“We have 14 opportunities in front of us and the next one is the next game, very soon.”

The penalty miss was Joao’s third from seven attempts this season and Paunovic said: “I think we have to look at that situation but I think we have to support Lucas.

“He’s very affected – the same as the rest of the team – and we will fix it. I’m not concerned, I’m just willing to fix it.”

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