Ainsworth: Fear factor affected first half display

FRUSTRATED Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth said his players only started playing well after shaking off a fear factor that had hindered their first half performance.

The Blues chief was encouraged by the second half display of his players as they dominated against Chesterfield, albeit without managing to score.

By then his side were already two goals adrift and Ainsworth was irritated at a fearful performance from Wanderers in the first half of their latest defeat at the Proact Stadium.

Today’s 2-0 loss ensured Blues kept up an unwanted 100 per cent record of losing every game they’ve played at Chesterfield’s new stadium and Ainsworth said that statistic might have played on his players’ minds.

He said: “It shows how close the league is when a team that performs so badly in the first half can dominate the second half like we did.

“It [the second half performance] is pleasing but it’s so frustrating because where was that first half? We didn’t start the game well today – we looked fearful, we looked a little bit tired. If we played like that second half I’d probably have said, ‘bad day at the office’, but to come out with the reaction and the energy and the way we played second half, it’s very frustrating because I needed that first half and it just wasn’t there.

“We’ve got a bad history here and we’re coming to a top team that’s tipped for promotion – maybe the fear factor was there a little bit.”

Wanderers’ form has been inconsistent throughout the season but Ainsworth said it’s now become a problem from half to half, rather than just game to game.

He said: “I want consistency over the season but I want consistency in games. If we’d have played half as well as in the second half in the first half I think we’d have come away with something today.”

Ainsworth had to change his half time team talk after seeing his side concede a second goal in stoppage time – which angered the Blues boss.

He said: “The first goal I’ll take but the second goal was a terrible goal to concede, just before half time. We’ve got to manage the game better. We’ve got a young team and it’s about experience. I can’t keep harping on about this, they have to learn quickly. If we go in 1-0 down it gives us a fighting chance and the way we came out I think we possibly would have scored. They were on the back foot. The two goal cushion gave them that bit of confidence to defend well. That second goal was really key today.

“They were going to get a bit of a blast anyway but that just made me even more furious, conceding a sloppy corner with a minute to go. Good teams don’t do that.

“If we come in at 1-0, change the things that need to be changed and go out and perform like we did second half I would have been a lot happier than I am now.”

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