Gareth Ainsworth hails Wycombe’s resilience after edging past MK Dons

The Chairboys are heading to Wembley.

By Press Association Published: 8 May 2022 - 8.55pm

Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth lauded the resilience of his players after they absorbed some heavy pressure from MK Dons to reach the League One play-off final.

The Dons were the dominant team at Stadium MK in trying to overturn a two-goal deficit from the first leg but could only manage a Troy Parrott header in the first half as they fell agonisingly short.

It was jubilation, however, for the Chairboys, who will have the chance to repeat their promotion to the Championship from two seasons ago when they face either Sheffield Wednesday or Sunderland at Wembley on May 21.

Ainsworth said: “I’m not going to stand here and say we were the better team tonight.

“MK Dons dominated possession, dominated shots, but we’ve dominated blocks, we’ve dominated saves, dominated absolute resilience around the box and the experience in my boys told.

“We came here with a plan to try and put the same pressure on them that we did at home.

“It didn’t work and Liam [Manning] changed his team a little bit, changed his tactics by putting [Theo] Corbeanu in to pin one of our full-backs in.

“That was tough for us to deal with and then [Scott] Twine floats everywhere, so we had to drop into a deep block.

“David Stockdale, what a cracking couple of saves he’s made tonight.

“People write him off left, right and centre. He’s been unbelievable and, for me, he’s been the best goalkeeper in League One this season.”

Harry Darling hit the bar with a header with just over a minute gone before Parrott halved the deficit for MK Dons with a looping header from Hiram Boateng’s cross.

Stockdale made a terrific one-handed save to keep out Corbeanu before preventing Parrott from forcing extra-time with almost the last kick.

MK Dons boss Manning, whose side narrowly missed out on automatic promotion, said: “The players will be devastated in there, but I think when that emotion settles and you reflect and look back, I’m sure they’ll be proud about how we went about it tonight.

“It’s like a double hit, in terms of two disappointments.

“I’ve said to the players afterwards, that’s sometimes unfortunately life, but that’s also the game and sometimes you don’t get what you deserve.

“You have to suck it up and come out tougher and harder and better the other side.

“That’s what we’ll definitely do as a club, as a group of staff, as a group of players.

“Let’s become better, let’s channel that frustration, that disappointment, that emotion into becoming even better and kicking on in the future.”

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