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Ainsworth: We had to be patient
GARETH Ainsworth said his side had to be patient before finally managing to break down ten man Bristol Rovers.
After having striker David Clarkson sent off for elbowing Josh Scowen in the first half the Pirates put everyone behind the ball, with a draw seemingly the extent of their ambitions.
Wanderers struggled to break through their packed defence and it wasn’t until a flurry of attacking substitutions late on they found a second wind and snatched the winning goal as Max Kretzschmar fired home the rebound from a saved shot by Jon-Paul Pittman.
Ainsworth said he never had any doubts his team would eventually get on the scoresheet and told his men to stay patient.
The Blues boss said: “I told them exactly what would happen at half time. We were patient, we kept playing, we kept probing and our forwards kept making their runs. Then when they tired we put new forwards on.
“I always believe, I’m confident in my players. If they hadn’t have scored I’d still have been proud of the performance. They kept the ball well, we had the majority of the possession. There were a few wasteful little passes at times.
“When you’re against ten men it’s difficult. It’s not easy, it’s not a gimme – you’re not going to win three or four-nil. They put ten behind the ball and we had to probe and make runs.”
Ainsworth praised Pittman for his impact, with the striker almost opening the scoring with his first touch of the game.
He said: “He’s not somebody I can ignore. I’m sitting on the bench thinking [I need] legs, pace, power, shots at goal – Jon-Paul Pittman. I put him on with Matt McClure, two great subs to be able to put on. Probably the most unlikely of them, Max, gets the winning goal.
“Our forwards were getting tired. We had a huge amount of possession. That’s easy to do and forwards are making the runs trying to open things up and they are tiring themselves. That’s why we had to make the changes and finally we broke them down enough to score our goal.”
When asked about the red card Ainsworth said: “It’s the ref’s call and he’s called it as a red card. We have to stand by that. We’ll look at the video and see what it’s like.
“It changed the game a little bit. They went defensive and didn’t cause us any problems going forward.
“It was very difficult. John Ward is an organised man – his team were organised with 11, even more organised with ten men. They made us work very hard for that.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s a top, top manager and if I can be anything like him at his age I’ll be a very proud man.”
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