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Bittersweet for Gareth.

Byline: IAN BAKER at Adams Park

WYCOMBE 0

ROTHERHAM 1

Ihiekwe 90+2

GARETH AINSWORTH was still bouncing despite seeing his Wycombe side's first-ever Championship game end in bitter disappointment.

Michael Ihiekwe's 92nd-minute header gave Rotherham victory in the battle of the two promoted sides. The Chairboys made it to the second tier for the first time in their history after winning July's play-off final against Oxford.

But this was a bit of a hangover as their opponents did a job on them in a bruising encounter.

Ainsworth though still had a smile. He said: "I won't be down tonight. I'll be normal Gareth at home.

"It's a game of football.

It's been a hell of a ride for eight years. It's been unbelievable. I'm so lucky.

"I wake up every day feeling happy and lucky to be manager of Wycombe Wanderers. What a job.

"I'm so happy. I'm just going to spill all that positivity out into the boys.

"I'm not one of those who goes home and can't speak to anyone. Managers who say they kick the cat and everything else - I'm not like that.

"It's my fault we lost the game - not the players. The boys still feel fantastic."

Wycombe were so close to the dream start after just 80 seconds as new signing Daryl Horgan missed the target stretching to reach Scott Kashket's corner.

They then hit the bar through Darius Charles' volley from Joe Jacobson's free-kick. Ihiekwe then headed wide from a Joe Mattock set-piece at the other end.

Wycombe had chances through Kashket who was denied on the line by Wes Harding while Jamal Blackman kept out David Wheeler.

Both sides appeared to cancel each other out. But Mattock's lastgasp corner was headed in by Ihiekwe as Rotherham, who won just once on the road in this league two years ago, stole the points. Their manager Paul Warne said: "To score late on gives me great joy but had it been 0-0 I would've still taken it.

"I thought the game would be decided on a set-piece. Last year in League One we were first and they were second at scoring from set-pieces.

"I went hissy at half-time.

I said there is no point saying we're going to be one of the fittest sides if we let them run all over us.

"In the second half there was only one side going to win it."

Bloomfield 6 (Freeman 72, 6), Wheeler 5, Horgan 6, Kashket 6 (Parker 87), Onyedinma 5. Subs not used: Stockdale, Phillips, Tafazolli, Samuel.

ROTHERHAM: Blackman 7, Harding 7, Ihiekwe 8, Robertson 7, Mattock 8, Ogbene 6, Mac-Donald 6, Lindsay 6, Sadlier 6 (Wiles 66, 6), Crooks 6 (Smith 52, 6), Ladapo 5 (Vassell 83).

Subs not used: Johansson, Jones, Miller, MacDonald. MAN OF THE MATCH: Michael Ihiekwe. Excellent at the back for Rotherham and popped up with late match winner.

REFEREE: James Linington 5.

WYCOMBE ROTHERHAM 4..Shots on Target2 4 ..Shots off Target 4 3 .Corners ..4 12.. Fouls 19 5Offsides..2 36.5 ..Passing Success % 49.2 219 . Total Passes..250 46.1..Possession%..53.9 39.4..Territorial Adv %..60.6 VITAL STATS

CAPTION(S):

KWE TO GO: Michael Ihiekwe of Rotherham rises to score

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:IAN BAKER at Adams Park
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 13, 2020
Words:538
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