Garath McCleary scored twice against the Pilgrims (John Walton/PA)
15 April 2022

Gareth Ainsworth praises ‘unstoppable’ Garath McCleary as Wycombe down Plymouth

15 April 2022

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth hailed an “unstoppable” Garath McCleary performance as the Jamaica international struck twice in the first half to earn his side a 2-0 home win over play-off rivals Plymouth.

The result lifted Wycombe up to fifth – two points behind their opponents and three clear of seventh-placed Sheffield Wednesday, who have two games in hand.

McCleary’s first was a rocket into the nearside top corner on the counter, with the second a calmly slotted finish under Plymouth goalkeeper Michael Cooper.

Ainsworth heaped praise on the 34-year-old, who secured the highest goal-tally of his career in a single season with 11.

He said: “Garath is better than this level. When he performs like he did today, he’s unstoppable.

“I think he’ll be the first to credit his team-mates around him but the hard work that Garath showed today and his pressing earned him the rewards of the goals he got.”

The Chairboys boss also emphasised the whole team’s performance in what was a comfortable victory against a side who had won seven of their last nine, conceding just once.

Ainsworth added: “We can’t underestimate that contribution by everyone. My last message before the game was that we are a jigsaw today – every single one of you is a part of it.

“Some of you might be a corner point, you might be the main focus point, but we need every single piece of this jigsaw today and I’m glad to say that even the subs were part of that.”

It was a disappointing day for Plymouth boss Steven Schumacher, who did not hide his displeasure post-match.

He said: “We didn’t play nowhere near as well as we needed to. We didn’t compete nowhere near as much as we needed to, so we got what we deserved today.

“They were the better team in all departments of the game. That first 45 minutes was not acceptable.

“You can’t give them a goal head-start. You can’t concede a sloppy goal on the counter. Then the second goal is just comical.”

With three tough fixtures against three of the top six remaining for the Pilgrims, Schumacher will be hoping for a strong response.

He added: “The only positive is that every time we’ve had a poor performance, the players have been outstanding. We’ve reacted quite well so hopefully we can do it again.”

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