Joel Grant saw a second-half penalty saved as a late Kortney Hause own goal earned 10-man Exeter a 1-0 victory at Adams Park.
Wanderers created the better opportunities but failed to capitalise on Jamie Cureton’s first-half sending off and the visitors defended well to secure the points.
Available-again Grant replaced Gareth Ainsworth in the only change to the side that won 1-0 at Plymouth Argyle last Saturday.
Grant had missed the last three games through suspension after being sent-off in the 2-2 draw with Morecambe on 8th December and he started on the left with Bruno Andrade switching to the right flank. Ainsworth dropped out of the squad completely following 175 minutes in the previous two games.
Anthony Stewart and Kortney Hause continued at the heart of the defence after their excellent performances at Home Park.
Dave Winfield and Dean Morgan returned from hamstring complaints as the Blues’ injury situation improved and they were named among the substitutes, as was Charles Dunne who recovered from a foot injury. Michael Harriman, who signed on loan from QPR earlier in the day, was also on the bench.
Matt Spring tried his luck from fully 35 yards in the fourth minute, but his well-struck effort was straight at Artur Krysiak.
The opening 20 minutes were predominantly played in midfield with Exeter’s central three seeing slightly more of the ball, before the in-form Matt McClure shot over the bar after the visitors failed to deal with Grant’s low cross.
Alan Gow had Exeter’s first shot on goal and it took 32 minutes in coming, but his free-kick deflected off the wall and out for a corner.
Grant then tried his luck from just inside the area after a good break from Sam Wood down the left, but his curling effort was always rising and flew harmlessly off target.
Exeter were reduced to 10 men five minutes before the break when top scorer Jamie Cureton was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Anthony Stewart off the ball. It was a needless reaction from the experienced striker as the ball ran through to Jordan Archer.
Andrade and Grant were Wycombe’s best outlets in the first half with the former growing into the game as the opening period progressed.
Morgan replaced Kuffour at the break for his first appearance since limping off at half-time of the victory at Accrington on 15th December.
Wanderers started the second half brightly with McClure heading Andrade’s cross at Krysiak after a quick break from Stuart Lewis.
Their pressure looked to have been rewarded in the 54th minute when Grant jinked past Pat Baldwin and the defender brought him down inside the area. Grant dusted himself down to take the penalty, but it was a poor spot-kick which Krysiak saved and the forward’s rebound was then disallowed for handball.
Ade Azeez, whose loan deal from Charlton Athletic was due to expire after the game, replaced McClure just before the hour mark for his fifth appearance for the Chairboys.
Gow, who was Exeter’s biggest threat volleyed just wide in the 66thminute and Andrade then shot straight at Krysiak after cutting in from the right.
Ainsworth handed Harriman his Wanderers debut 12 minutes from time with the loanee slotting in at right-back in place of Marvin McCoy.
Exeter took the lead eight minutes from time and it was a fortuitous goal with the ball going in off the unfortunate Hause after Archer had saved well from John O’Flynn’s low drive.
Chairboys pushed forward in search of the equaliser and Stewart was denied by a fine flying stop by Krysiak from Spring’s corner. Grant then curled just over the bar from the edge of the area with Krysiak struggling.
Man-of-the-match Wood crashed a strike over the bar from distance, but time ran out for the Blues with 10-man Exeter holding on for the points.
Wycombe: Archer, McCoy (Harriman 78), Wood, Hause, Stewart, Grant, Lewis, Spring, Andrade, McClure (Azeez 58), Kuffour (Morgan 46).
Subs: Harrison, Winfield, Dunne, Morias.
Exeter: Krysiak, Tully, Woodman, Baldwin, Coles (c), Bennett, Oakley, Keohane, Gow, Cureton, O'Flynn.
Subs: Evans, Davies, Doherty, Amankwaah, Dawson, Reid, Moore-Taylor.