GARETH Ainsworth said Wanderers’ defence was punished for failing to react quickly enough as he saw his side give away a two goal lead in the draw at Mansfield Town.
Blues had been on course for only their second win in 14 games as midfield partners Stuart Lewis and Josh Scowen – who netted a screaming volley – both scored to put them in command.
But five minutes after going 2-0 up Blues switched off to allow Lee Stevenson to pull one back before one-time Wanderers target Ollie Palmer made it home and away goals against the Chairboys as he earned Mansfield a share of the spoils.
And Ainsworth was annoyed at the manner the goal came about, as goalkeeper Matt Ingram made another great save to tip a shot onto the bar – only for Palmer to be the only man to react to the loose ball and tuck it home.
He said: “I’m disappointed because the goal that equalised was off the bar and we didn’t react as quickly as Ollie Palmer. I can’t have one of their players reacting quicker than one of our players. We need to be there and react as quick as they do.
“We need to react quicker, that’s the bottom line. We’ve got a keeper like Matt Ingram in goal and you expect him to make those saves. If he tips it over the bar it’s a corner and there’s no danger, but he’s tipped it onto the bar and we have to react quicker. It’s the second phase that kills us a lot, and that’s an issue.
“I’m really pleased with the goals but disappointed to concede. Somebody put their hand up and took the blame for the first one – the second one, I want the reaction to be better.”
Ainsworth added: “I thought we could have got more out of the game. We had the better chances and at the end we could have won it. They seemed to just lump it in the box and got the bits off it.
“I’m OK, a little bit down. If you go two up you expect to win a game, if you score two away from home.”
While Ainsworth was left tearing his hair out at the equaliser, the Blues boss added his defence should have been more alert in the period immediately after going 2-0 up.
Aerial bombardment was Mansfield’s main tactic and the conditions in the second half that saw a strong wind swirling around Field Mill played into the hosts’ hands.
Ainsworth said: “Conditions were horrendous – second half we couldn’t get out our half. The wind was in our face. They had a lot of big lads around and we tried to counteract that.
“They really came at us second half and lumped everything down our throats, and we’ve conceded right at the end again.
“If we kept it at 2-0 for a bit longer, panic would have set in and they would have lost their quality a bit. They got it five minutes after we scored, which gave them a good impetus to get the second.”
But the Wanderers boss was satisfied with the performance of a team that included two new faces – striker Reece Styche and full back Jordan Mustoe – from the start before another, Arsenal youngster Anthony Jeffrey, was introduced from the bench in the second half.
He said: “People will see the performance is there. It’s not as though we collapsed – we’ve had one collapse in a season and a half. They ran themselves into the ground – Matt McClure and Reece Styche are absolutely shattered in there. We are quite positive.
“The lads who’ve come in, they showed they are ready to play for Wycombe Wanderers. We can work on them. Reece Styche only came in yesterday, Anthony Jeffrey on Thursday. There’s plenty of work to do and I’m looking forward to doing it.”