PROUD Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth said he knows he can rely on any member of his squad to step up into the first team after an outstanding defensive display against Plymouth.

Ainsworth again had to rely on an inexperienced side but his players didn’t let him down as they threw themselves at every ball Plymouth pumped into their penalty area.

There were plenty of them as well but the Wycombe defence – which was due to include Charles Dunne until he pulled up injured in the warm-up – held firm and Matt McClure’s clinical finish sealed a classic smash and grab away raid.

Ainsworth said he learned something new about his players today, as this Wanderers team became the first to win at Home Park in a Football League fixture.

He said: “If you’re up against it, you have to learn who you can rely on. I’ve got Dave Winfield and Charles Dunne coming back and it’s going to be tough decisions with some of these young kids because I can rely on them.

“They’ve come to me today and said, ‘I’m there for you, I’ll battle for you. We’ll do it your way.’

“Sometimes when you’re down the bottom you have to battle your way out of things, and they are doing just that. They all stood up together and said count me in. That’s something really special.”

The 1-0 win was the first time in a long while Blues have had to battle to victory, with the goals having flowed in a recent five game unbeaten streak.

Ainsworth said: “In its own way, it’s one of the best performances under me so far. When things are going well against your Bristol Rovers, your Burtons, your Accringtons, when you’re attacking well the game becomes easy, but today the onslaught we had to stand up to – I thought the lads were outstanding, absolutely outstanding.

“I’m immensely proud of the youngsters here, and the old ones as well.”

The Blues boss also thanked the 203 fans who made the long journey down to Devon – saying their dedication off the pitch is a reflection of the spirit his players are showing on it.

The game came three days after a 4-0 hiding at Cheltenham brought an abrupt end to their unbeaten run and Ainsworth said: “We got stuffed and they [the fans] had every right not to come and support us today because of that – but not the Wycombe boys, not under the Gareth Ainsworth regime. They know what we are about, they know the spirit and effort that’s going to come.”