Wycombe started the 2016/17 season with a defeat as Crawley Town ran out 1-0 winners at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
Jimmy Smith’s second half strike proved to be the difference as Wanderers were made to rue missing a host of first half chances.
Gareth Ainsworth handed debuts to summer signings Scott Brown, Dayle Southwell and Myles Weston, with fellow new additions Adebayo Akinfenwa and Will De Havilland starting on the bench.
Former Chairboy Jason Banton started his debut for Crawley playing in the number 10 role, and he had the first effort of the game on 3 minutes, firing over from 25 yards.
Southwell, making his EFL debut after signing from Boston, looked bright in the opening stages playing alongside Garry Thompson who made his 50th appearance for the club, and those two linked up for Southwell to test Mersin in the Crawley goal.
Injury put an early end to Weston’s Wanderers debut, being replaced by Matt Bloomfield inside the opening quarter of an hour and some great defending from the hosts prevented the opening goal shortly after.
Crawley keeper Mersin made a mess of Jacobson’s deep free kick, dropping the ball at the feet of Southwell whose volley was blocked on the line by McNerney. Luke O’Nien’s follow up was stopped by Mersin and Pierre’s second follow up was again cleared off the line.
It was an almighty scramble but Crawley escaped with their clean sheet still intact, and soon after forced Scott Brown into two smart saves, firstly from James Collins and secondly from Jordan Roberts, the second a superb reaction stop.
Wycombe looked fluid and lively going forward, and Thompson, captaining the side on his 50th appearance, couldn’t hit the target from a Jacobson cross and Aaron Pierre forced Mersin into a low save on 35 after meeting another Jacobson delivery.
It was all square at the break, but Wycombe had the better of the play and the visitors started the second half on the front foot, forcing a corner from kick off which came close to providing a fortuitous opener. Jacobson’s inswinger looped over Mersin, and the goalkeeper was helpless as the ball cannoned back off the crossbar.
Another Jacobson corner caused problems on 52, as his deep cross found Stewart at the back post and his header was well saved by Mersin.
Despite the Wanderers pressure, it was the home side who took the lead on the hour mark. Captain Jimmy Smith capitalised after Bloomfield was beaten by the bouncing ball, and the midfielder dispatched the ball past a helpless Brown.
Bloomfield had two strong shouts for a penalty waved away by referee Nick Kinseley, firstly when he was brought down inside the area and another for claims of handball as Wanderers desperately tried to search for the equalising goal.
Adebayo Akinfenwa was introduced for his Wycombe debut but it was Crawley who had the best chance to double their lead in the closing minutes. Boldwijn beat Harriman to the ball and bore down on Scott Brown’s goal, but his scooped effort went over the bar.
Crawley full back Andre Blackman was sent off for a second yellow card in injury time, and Thompson struck an effort over from the edge of the box, but the six minutes added on failed to produce an equaliser that Wycombe probably deserved.
Wycombe: Brown, Harriman (Jombati 87), Jacobson, Stewart, Pierre, Bean, Wood, O’Nien (Akinfenwa 62), Thompson, Southwell, Weston (Bloomfield 13)
Unused subs: Richardson, McGinn, De Havilland
Crawley: Mersin, Young, Blackman, Connolly, McNerney, Payne, Smith, Roberts, Banton (Clifford 80), Boldwijn (Yussuf 90), Collins (Harrold 87)
Unused subs: Beeney, Arthur, Yorwerth, Bawling
Attendance: 2,741 (762 Away fans)