Wycombe recovered from a disastrous start to record a spectacular 3-2 win over Scunthorpe United, with keeper Ryan Allsop shown a red card with the scores locked at 2-2.
The Iron opened the scoring after just 18 seconds when Ryan Colclough waltzed through the defence to fire home, and it looked like being a long afternoon when Stephen Humphrys doubled the score six minutes later.
But Dominic Gape lashed home a terrific strike from 20 yards before the interval, and Fred Onyedinma curled a sumptuous effort into the top corner as Wycombe wrestled back control to make it 2-2.
However, Craig Mackail-Smith was the hero, capitalising on a blocked clearance to race free and beat the keeper in injury time to spark euphoric scenes around Adams Park.
Gareth Ainsworth made two changes in personnel and a tweak in tactics due to the enforced absence of the injured Matt Bloomfield, with Paris Cowan-Hall and Fred Onyedinma taking up wide midfield positions in a 4-4-2 line-up as Randell Williams dropped to the bench.
In theory it meant the Blues would match up Scunthorpe’s own 4-4-2 formation and nullify the threat of their wide men, but within 18 seconds of kick-off, the plan had come undone. No Wycombe player had touched the ball by the time Ryan Colclough cut in from the left, in acres of space, and drilled home at the near post to make it 1-0.
Adams Park was stunned into silence – and it was about to get worse.
Funso Ojo came off best in a midfield scrap for possession and threaded through a smart ball for Andy Dales to race onto. Opting to cut inside rather than go for goal himself, the striker fed his team-mate Stephen Humphrys who placed the ball past a helpless Ryan Allsop.
Wycombe were hideously unrecognisable, but did stem the tide, and enjoyed a better 15-minute period, though Adebayo Akinfenwa was unable to impose himself as the focal point of a series of crosses, with United’s centre halves marshalling their box well.
Then there was almost a third goal for the Iron when Dales beat Jacobson down the left and delivered an appetising cross which Humphrys headed downwards, only to see it beaten away by Allsop.
Dominic Gape was booked for a foul on 25 minutes, ruling him out of Tuesday’s game with Rochdale due to it being his fifth yellow of the season, but quickly made amends, smashing home a fine effort to halve the deficit.
The ball seemed to spend an age in the Scunthorpe box, with Onyedinma, Akinfenwa, Cowan-Hall and Craig Mackail-Smith all involved in trying to break through the wall of Iron, but the coolest head in the building was that on Gape’s shoulders, hanging back to meet Akinfenwa’s lay-off and find the top corner from 20 yards.
Scunthorpe were all of a sudden on the back foot, and had Dales booked for a foul, before Cowan-Hall did excellently to win a corner which he then flicked into danger at the front post, and Akinfenwa headed just over, under pressure from James Perch who he was alleged to have fouled.
Wanderers finished the half on top but couldn’t find the leveller before the break; however they knew they weren’t far off finding their way back into the game.
And they began the second period with a good tempo, coming close to levelling when Onyedinma’s low cross was cleared by the keeper’s boot but only into the body of the nearest defender, bouncing just wide.
Then Jordan Clarke was booked for chopping down his man before the goal of the game arrived on 54 minutes – and for Fred Onyedinma, it was worth the wait.
The Millwall loanee has had a frustrating quest for a run in the side and fortune in front of goal, but there was no luck about his equaliser, bending home from the corner of the area with an exquisite strike which demonstrated his Championship class.
Scunthorpe reacted immediately, withdrawing the booked Dales for Ike Ugbo, and all of a sudden there was all to play for.
Jason McCarthy cleared George Thomas’s dangerous low cross and Akinfenwa headed nervously over his own bar from a Scunthorpe set piece, though neither side was able to build up a real head of steam due to the stop-start nature of the middle part of the second half, with injuries and the referee’s whistle halting play on a regular basis.
Adebayo Akinfenwa was denied a penalty despite being seemingly shoved to the ground by Rory McArdle, and then Mackail-Smith won a corner when his goalbound effort was deflected behind.
There was controversy when Jak Alnwick dropped a deep free-kick into the path of Cowan-Hall, who fired home through a crowd of bodies, but referee Young adjudged that the keeper was fouled by Akinfenwa in the air, and disallowed the goal.
And Young was in the thick of it moments later, showing a red card to Ryan Allsop for a foul outside the box on Ugbo. The Chelsea loanee got the ball first but booted it towards the corner flag, though the ref deemed it to be a goalscoring opportunity and Allsop was walking, with Yves Ma-Kalambay taking his place, with Cowan-Hall the outfield player sacrificed.
Ryan Colclough drilled wide from 20 yards after the resulting free-kick was half-cleared, and then as the game entered nine minutes of stoppage time, Wycombe got themselves back on top, with Akinfenwa sending a delicious effort just wide with the outside of his boot.
And then it came. Craig Mackail-Smith had worked tirelessly all game and finally had his reward, closing down Rory McArdle and seeing the ball fall into his path. He had so much work still to do, bringing it under control and surging towards goal before firing home with the coolest of finishes, ahead of the most explosive of celebrations.
There were hearts in mouths during a succession of Iron corners in the closing stages, but Wycombe held firm, and back-to-back home wins for the first time since February were completed.
50/50 Draw Results
Blue £1 (Prize: £574.50) – 10876
Orange £2 (Prize: £159.00) - 27459