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Gareth Ainsworth claims Wycombe are not dead and buried after win over Blackburn

Wycombe Wanderers v Preston North End – Sky Bet Championship – Adams Park
(Image credit: Tess Derry)

Gareth Ainsworth pointed to a change in formation as the key to a crucial 1-0 win over Blackburn that he believes can inspire bottom club Wycombe to an unlikely escape from the Sky Bet Championship drop.

Fred Onyedinma headed home early in the second half from a Joe Jacobson corner to guide the Chairboys to only their seventh victory of the season, that leaves them eight points behind 21st-placed Birmingham with seven games remaining.

It was the fourth goal of the season for the Wycombe forward, who was playing at left wing-back, but only his second in the league.

And following Wycombe’s first game since the international break, boss Ainsworth revealed his side utilised the two-week hiatus to work on some new tactics behind the scenes.

“We changed formation today and it worked,” the 47-year-old said. “That might have surprised a few people. We’ve worked on things for two weeks and it paid dividends.

“We soaked up so much pressure and were cramping up at the end, but we were the better side. It’s a really good result for us and it gives us a chance.

“People will be wondering whether we’re dead and buried – not a chance! There’s never any pressure on us because we’re punching so far above our weight, and they beat us 5-0 last time so this feels like a big result.”

While delighted with such an important win, there was a bittersweet element attached to the result owing to midfielder Dominic Gape being taken off on a stretcher with little over quarter-of-an-hour gone.

That, coupled with the fact victory meant defeat for his hometown club Blackburn, where he came through the youth ranks as a player and used to hold a season ticket.

He added: “Dominic has a calf problem. He knows Wycombe are there for him and will be back with a vengeance.

“I don’t like Blackburn losing – they are my home town and the team I support – but Wycombe will always be the main result, so I don’t mind sacrificing the Rovers to get the three points.”

For Rovers – who were without injured top-scorer Adam Armstrong – manager Tony Mowbray credited Wycombe’s fighting spirit after seeing his team stretch their winless run to five games.

Following a lacklustre first half the former promotion hopefuls did improve after the break, and Joe Rothwell went close to notching an equaliser two minutes from time, only to be denied by home goalkeeper David Stockdale at point-blank range.

Mowbray said: “We’re all disappointed to lose. They scored from a set play, which is their strength and full credit to them for fighting to stay in this league.

“It’s always a difficult game against them because they don’t allow you to dominate games. I’m disappointed we could not take the half-chances that came our way.

“We can play pretty good football, but you have to score. We have lost lots of games 1-0 this season when we’ve had plenty of the ball.

“We were without our main scorer and Adam can finish it off. It’s all about sticking the ball in the net and he can shoot left, right and get it in the back of the net.”