Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth saw his side beat MK Dons 2-0 (Steven Paston/PA)
05 May 2022

Gareth Ainsworth sees attacking intent pay dividends as Wycombe claim upper hand

05 May 2022

Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth saw his decision to go for the jugular pay dividends as Wanderers claimed a 2-0 victory over MK Dons in the first leg of their League One play-off semi-final.

The Chairboys were already a goal up at Adams Park thanks to Ryan Tafazolli’s first-half header when the Dons were reduced to 10 men in the 69th minute when Josh McEachran was sent off.

It might have been tempting for the hosts to take the safe route and settle for their one-goal advantage after that, but they pushed for more and were rewarded by Sam Vokes’ late header doubling their lead to take across to Stadium MK for Sunday’s second leg.

Ainsworth said: “I think the substitutions I made showed we wanted to go for it.

“Lewis Wing and David Wheeler, two attackers coming on to try and get some more goals and [Adebayo] Akinfenwa was a straight swap for Vokesy.

“We wanted more – we had Jason McCarthy hitting the bar, Jordan Obita had a chance, Garath McCleary went through, so we definitely opened them up.

“I think they’re going to have to come at us at MK because they’re going to try and get back in the game, but that will leave gaps for players like your McClearys and Obitas, with the pace to get in the other side.

“It’s going to be a very cagey game, I’m sure, but an interesting one and with a 2-0 lead at ‘half-time,’ we’re in a good position.

“I think when Ryan Tafazolli scored that header, I jumped higher than him on the touchline.”

It was Tafazolli who gave Wycombe the lead after 38 minutes when he rose to head in what was a terrific corner by Joe Jacobson from close range.

After McEachran saw red for two yellow cards, Vokes doubled the Chairboys advantage with eight minutes remaining when he headed McCleary’s cross in off the post.

MK Dons boss Liam Manning said: “I thought the first 30 minutes we started well.

“We imposed our style, I think we caused them problems with how we built and I thought we created a couple of decent chances.

“But Wycombe, with the physical threat they carry, they remain so dangerous, so although you’re on top they always carry that threat, and you see that from the first goal that they score.

“I thought the goal knocked us a little bit and we ended up trying to play their game too much, which we’re not going to win at.

“[McEachran’s red card] is a blow. Josh has been terrific for us, and I know Josh as well. There was no malice, it was just slightly mistimed.

“Then it just changes and it becomes around keeping it at one. I still think there’s so much to play for.”

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