A late goal from substitute Scott Kashket wasn’t enough as two early Bristol Rovers goals secured them all three points at Adams Park.
Goals from Ollie Clarke and Tony Craig, both from corners, put the Gas on course to victory and despite several late chances, the Chairboys couldn’t snatch a late equaliser.
Gareth Ainsworth made three changes from the side who defeated Northampton on penalties in the first round of the Carabao Cup in midweek, with Ryan Allsop returning in goal to replace Yves Ma-Kalambay. Also returning to the starting XI was Joe Jacobson and Adebayo Akinfenwa.
The early breakthrough went the way of the visitors who took the lead in the third minute. After a dangerous James Clarke cross was headed behind to safety, the resulting Liam Sercombe corner was half-cleared, but Clarke was on hand to stab home.
Wycombe had dangerous spells, with Matt Bloomfield looking lively in and around the penalty area, but gave away a number of free kicks in their own half, with Allsop on hand to save one at his near post while another was headed over.
The Chairboys did find their feet but fell further behind from another Bristol Rovers corner, Tony Craig rising highest to double the visitor’s lead.
Wycombe sparked into life after the second goal, with Randell Williams in particular looking full of running, but the ball would not fall kindly for Wycombe with Williams, Akinfenwa and Bloomfield failing to capitalise on several promising positions in front of the noisy Rovers supporters.
Rovers winger Sam Matthews had been dangerous throughout, and as he cut inside and slipped the ball between defenders, Allsop was on hand to deny Tom Nichols who was one-on-one with the Chairboys keeper.
The last chance of the half fell to Wycombe, with Akinfenwa rising highest to head a Joe Jacobson corner back into the mix. After Craig Mackail-Smith’s touch was cleared, it fell to midweek penalty shootout hero El-Abd who fired over to bring the first half to a close.
Wycombe needed a goal to start the second half and eight minutes into the second half they won a freekick in a dangerous position. A cleverly worked routine saw Jacobson find Williams unmarked. His cross to the back post found Akinfenwa whose header landed on the roof of the net.
A short while later, Craig Mackail-Smith’s cross was deflected for a corner and Jacobson’s corner again found Akinfenwa who could only head over the bar.
The chances continued to mount for Wycombe. After Liam Sercombe was booked for a cynical foul in the corner. Jacobson’s free kick found Mackail-Smith whose shot was deflected, with another corner headed over by Akinfenwa.
Rovers were clearly on the back foot and had been for much of the second half, reduced to shooting from distance, Gareth Ainsworth first brought on Scott Kashket in place of Mackail-Smith and then Nick Freeman and Sam Saunders for Matt Bloomfield and Dominic Gape as they searched for a way back into the match.
The changes worked. With less than ten minutes remaining, a goal kick from Allsop was flicked on by Akinfenwa. Rovers captain Tom Lockyer’s clearance was miscued and the ball found Scott Kashket who burst through, rounded keeper Adam Smith and tucked it home to reduce the deficit.
The Chairboys fans were envigorated by the goal and the Rovers fans becoming increasingly nervous as Wycombe pressed for a late equaliser.
Kashket had a shot tipped round the post just as the clock reached 90 minutes, and Akinfenwa had a shot cleared off the line in stoppage time but it wasn’t enough as Wycombe were denied a last minute equaliser.