Josh Ruffels scored a dramatic late winner as Oxford came from behind to continue Wycombe’s winless run as the Chairboys succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.
Wanderers opened the scoring after 20 minutes through skipper Adam El-Abd before Jerome Sinclair equalised for the Yellows ten minutes later.
Joe Jacobson then pulled wide from the penalty spot after Alex Samuel had been brought down in the area towards the end of the first-half.
Yves Ma-Kalambay dived to his left to ensure Sam Long’s effort stayed out before Marcus Bean saw a free header aimed straight at Simon Eastwood in the Oxford goal.
Rob Dickie thought he had headed the U’s in front but for Dominic Gape’s goal-line clearance and a minute later, Adebayo Akinfenwa saw a header rattle the crossbar.
Seconds before the final whistle was to blow, Ruffels then produced a moment of quality to see an effort soar into the top corner, leaving Ma-Kalambay no chance in another moment of heartache for the Blues.
Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to his starting line-up as Akinfenwa and Nick Freeman stepped in for Paris Cowan-Hall and Luke Bolton.
The Chairboys were coming into the game having not scored in three consecutive matches against their rivals and it was a record they wanted to see the back of as they looked to threaten 15 minutes into the first-half.
El-Abd’s long punt forward from just inside the Oxford half was aimed towards Akinfenwa. The striker worked some space and chested the ball down for Freeman who saw a left-footed effort deflect just wide in what looked a promising start from Ainsworth’s side.
A minute later Freeman then had another chance to open up on goal as he cut out a loose ball just inside his own half before darting towards Eastwood’s goal, but his tame effort was fired straight at the U’s goalkeeper.
Wanderers were looking lively and they were soon rewarded with a goal for their efforts.
Samuel was fouled down the right-hand side which allowed Jacobson the chance to swing the ball into the box. Once floated in, Eastwood appeared to misjudge the flight of the ball and found himself caught in no mans land. The ball ricocheted off a number of bodies at the far-post before falling into the path of El-Abd who eased the ball home with his back to goal.
That goal from the Blues ended their goalless run against Karl Robinson’s side and spurred a reaction from the hosts who were beginning to pile on pressure of their own but to no avail as the Chairboys managed to snuff out any danger that came their way.
That was until the half-hour mark when the Yellows soon found an equaliser.
A long diagonal ball found Marcus Browne on the right and the attacker looked to take on Jacobson. He opted outside of the left-back before fizzing across a low ball that was initially missed by James Henry but fell to the feet of Sinclair to fire in from close range.
Wanderers will be disappointed in how easily they let their lead slip but were soon on the front foot once more.
Freeman played in a dangerous cross that the Oxford defence allowed to bounce causing themselves problems but the ball just wouldn’t fall for a Wycombe shirt.
Minutes later, the Chairboys were awarded a penalty after Samuel was brought down in the area by Ruffels. Jacobson stepped up to take but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity as his effort fired low and wide of the right post.
The tie was perfectly poised at 1-1 at the break with both sides looking to take the game by the scruff of the neck after the interval.
The home side were the first to create an opening when Long found space on the edge of the box before forcing a low save by Ma-Kalambay just a minute into the half.
Five minutes later, Bean had his head in his hands after his free header from a free-kick was unable to test Eastwood.
Both sides were then unfortunate not to take the lead within a minute of one another as Dickie’s header from a corner was cleared off the line by Gape before the Chairboys went straight down the other end only for Akinfenwa’s looping header to rattle the crossbar.
The final 30 minutes saw the game ebb and flow both ways but neither side could find that clinical edge in front of goal.
That was until the fourth minute of stoppage time when Oxford broke down the left-hand side. The ball was cut back to the edge of the area for Ruffels who curled a strike that flew into the top corner.
It was late heartbreak once again for the Blues, a feeling that is becoming all too common.
Ainsworth’s side will be looking to stop the rot next Saturday when they take on promotion pushing Portsmouth at Adams Park.