WANDERERS boss Gareth Ainsworth believes his side are getting back to their best with an elusive win just around the corner, despite going down to a late Oxford United goal in a hard-fought derby clash.
Blues looked to be heading for a point before Nicky Wroe rattled home a shot from 20 yards with five minutes to play and inflicted a third consecutive home defeat for Ainsworth’s men, who now have just one win in nine at Adams Park.
A run of four successive wins earlier in the campaign saw Wanderers knocking on the door of the League Two promotion places, but a run of one win in 13 now sees them hovering just two points above the drop zone.
A straight red card for Steven Craig for a raised arm stacked the odds against Blues, who were up against an Oxford side unbeaten away from home in the league this campaign.
Some heroic defending saw Leon Johnson and Stewart Lewis putting their bodies on the line as Oxford exploited the gap left after Craig’s dismissal.
And although the long wait for a home win continues, Ainsworth is convinced the strength of his side’s display, coupled with a strong performance at Morecambe last week, means a return to good times is just around the corner.
He said: “The result was sickening for a few seconds but then I thought what a great performance, what spirit the players showed and I’m proud to put my name to that performance.
“For every Wycombe Wanderers fan, although we got beat and it’s the local derby and that hurts, but they can go home knowing that with this club, the spirit’s alive and the passion’s alive and every player on that pitch was superb.
“With ten men it was always going to be difficult, and it’s taken a wonder goal to beat us, but the passion’s back and if we play like that for the rest of the season then there’s plenty more wins for in it for us.
“It’s a results business, and they come and go, but performances are what I look at and to play like that it’s fantastic, it’s not time to start worrying about anything, if we keep playing like that we’ll get results and there will be no problems.
“There’s a group of lads here that will run through a brick wall for me. They’ve got their back, I’ve got theirs.”
After boos rang out throughout Adams Park following Blues capitulation to AFC Wimbledon two weeks ago, fans were largely supportive as weary Wanderers players left the field following the derby loss.
A season-best attendance of 5851, which included nearly 2000 visiting fans, witnessed Blues gutsy display against a U’s side with a realistic eye on the promotion places.
And Ainsworth paid tribute to the patience of Blues fans and praised them for standing by his team in the most testing period so far during his tenure at the club
He said: “When things are going bad, you know who’s there for you and there was two or three thousand there for me today.
“Thank you for what you did for the players at the end because after all their efforts, they were dead on their feet, thank you for clapping them off like you did because you were superb.
“It means a lot and you can’t take moments like that away from our boys, and going forward we’ll remember this and we will repay you, we want to repay you. I’ll make sure that we’re up for that.
“There was a reaction at Morecambe last week, there was a reaction today and we’re back, we’re back to our best and someone will take a beating soon.”