Wycombe Wanderers’ winless run in the Championship extended to seven matches with defeat at Barnsley on Wednesday night.
Despite Joe Jacobson’s penalty early in the second half, Gareth Ainsworth’s side would come away from Oakwell with nothing as another spot-kick gave the home side the 2-1 win.
On the performance
Ainsworth was honest in his assessment of Wycombe’s display, describing it as the worst they had played since ending their losing start to the season in October.
“I think we’ve played a lot better in the last eight games,” he said. “That’s probably been our worst performance for the last eight games.
“Legs may have come into that, the fixture schedule and all. I wanted to stay with similar personnel and system. Barnsley, fair play to them, they negated a lot of what we do.
“It’s small margins, but the penalty decision is the difference. But if any team edged it, you have to say Barnsley probably put their game together a bit better than we did.
"It happens, we’ve got to go again on Saturday now and try and make sure we get these points on the board.”
On the penalties
The Wycombe boss offered no complaints on the awarding of the penalties for and against his side, though pondered if the Aapo Halme tangle with Garath McCleary might have also brought a red card.
“I think they were both correct,” Ainsworth said. “Gareth McCleary’s been taken down cynically. The only difference is, was that a genuine attempt to play the ball on McCleary? We asked the question, we don’t want anyone sent off, but the rules are the rules.
“Whereas Gareth McCleary’s hung a leg out and tripped the guy up (Luke Thomas, for Barnsley’s winning penalty) in a genuine attempt to go for the ball. But I’m not going to criticise referees.”
On taking chances
After having just one shot in the first half, there was a notable improvement after the break as a change in shape gave them an extra threat.
“I changed formation at half-time, I went three at the top rather than just the two at the top,” Ainsworth explained.
“I thought we caused the centre-halves a few more problems but credit to them, they did well tonight."
“The keeper’s made a hell of a save from David Wheeler, from a header from a corner, and also I think we’ve had a couple of decent opportunities where we’ve not hit the target. On these nights they come few and far between, so you’ve got to make sure you take those chances.”
Ainsworth also rued their performance in the other box, saying: “We looked just a bit under-par tonight, and when you do can you keep clean sheets, can you stay solid, can you take something away from a cold, wet night in Yorkshire?”
Dominic Gape returned to the side at Barnsley but Wycombe are still missing five players, including Anthony Stewart who was brought off in their previous game with what Ainsworth confirmed to be a knee injury, with a timescale on his return uncertain.
“We’ve got (Ryan) Tafazolli, (Uche) Ikpeazu and Curtis Thompson (out) who are huge players for us and would walk into my squad,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get some back but I’m pretty happy with the squad I’ve got. In the last eight games, we’ve been super competitive and probably a couple of points short of what we’ve deserved.”