Joel Grant’s fine goal proved in vain as Bobby Grant’s fortuitous injury-time winner denied the Blues what would have been a well-deserved point.
The visitors took the lead in the fourth minute through Ashley Grimes, but once Joel Grant had levelled - following a neat one-two with Dennis Oli - it was the Wanderers who created the better chances.
However, Bobby Grant’s long-range effort deflected in off Leon Johnson, giving Archer no chance and securing the points for Dale.
Ainsworth made two changes to the side that started against Aldershot with the fit-again Johnson and Dean Morgan returning to the team. Ainsworth and Matt Spring were the men to drop out, with the latter suffering with a slight calf injury.
Rochdale passed the ball around nicely in the opening stages and took the lead in the fifth minute when Ashley Grimes finished past Jordan Archer from six yards following Bobby Grant’s pin-point cutback.
It was a poor start from the Blues, but they responded well and Bruno Andrade had an effort from the edge of the area deflected wide from Josh Scowen’s corner. Charles Dunne then tried his luck from 20 yards, but it was straight at Rochdale keeper Josh Lillis.
Lillis did superbly well to deny Oli in the 15th minute, saving low to his left after the forward had done brilliantly to burst past his man and create a shooting opportunity.
Dave Winfield was then denied his first goal of the season by striker Grant who headed off the line following another dangerous Scowen corner.
Wanderers levelled in the 25th minute and in some style. Joel Grant received the ball on the right, played a neat one-two with Oli, beat a defender and deftly chipped the ball over Lills from eight yards. Scowen almost made it 2-1 a minute later, but he headed straight at Lillis.
Bobby Grant curled a free-kick wide of Archer’s left-hand post in the 29th minute and Terry Gornell hooked straight at Wycombe’s keeper as the visitors created their first chances for a while.
Chairboys looked at their most dangerous when Joel Grant was on the ball and he almost provided a second goal with a cross from the right, but Morgan was just unable to adjust his feet in time to convert.
Oli should have scored his first goal in the light and dark blue in first-half injury-time, but he sliced his shot wide after Andrade had picked him out perfectly 15 yards out.
The forward almost made amends three minutes after the restart, but Lillis tipped over his rasping effort and he then had a close-range header clawed away by the keeper from underneath his crossbar.
Andrew Tutte forced Archer into a save low down after a quick Rochdale break and the visitors thought they should have been awarded when Bobby Grant went to ground under Wood’s challenge, but the striker was booked for simulation.
Dunne cut inside Kevin McIntyre before shooting goalwards as the game entered its final 20 minutes, but again the strike was straight at Lillis and comfortable for the keeper.
Junior Morias made an impact after his 75th-minute introduction and he won a free-kick on the edge of the area which Dunne curled over the wall, but at Lillis.
Joel Grant came close in the 89th minute when he dragged wide from the edge of the area after being found by Morias, but it was the visitors that went on to secure victory when Bobbt Grant’s speculative effort deflected off Johnson and looped over a helpless Archer.
Wycombe: Archer, Dunne, Wood, Winfield (c), Johnson, Grant, Lewis, Scowen, Andrade, Morgan (Morias 75), Oli.
Subs: Harrison, Hause, Kewley-Graham, Ainsworth, Taylor, Logan.
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, Bennett , Cavanagh, Edwards, McIntyre, Kennedy, Tutte (Putterill 89), Grant, Grimes (Adebola 86), Gornell (Donnelly 78).
Subs: Smith, Barry-Murphy, Pearson, Byrne.
Attendance: 3,020 (150)