GARETH Ainsworth said victory over Carlisle United was proof hard work pays off – as personified by captain Paul Hayes.

Wanderers built on last week’s impressive win at Newport County with an even more emphatic performance back at Adams Park as the relegated Cumbrians were put to the sword 3-1.

Hayes got off the mark for the season by calmly slotting home a penalty to put Blues back in front, after they had carelessly conceded an equaliser barely two minutes after Aaron Pierre had powered home a header.

But it was his all-round energy, determination and leadership that inspired Wanderers on to win at a ground that wasn’t a happy hunting ground for them in last year’s season of struggle.

Hayes was voted man of the match but there were a number of other candidates who could quite easily have taken home the champagne.

Ainsworth said: “The sponsors had a tough job. They went for the easy option of the captain, and Paul took his penalty really well – but he worked his socks off. For somebody coming up to 30 years old, he’s fantastic to have around the place. He wants to lead the boys from the front and I thought that was evident.

“It was great to see him get man of the match but so many people could have. Everyone was superb again today. The effort was there and goals went in, which was brilliant.”

Reflecting on the overall team performance the Blues boss added: “The effort was evident, which was important for me. Win, lose or draw, we come off the pitch having given everything and the boys did that today. Hopefully this is hitting home what hard work will do.”