David Wheeler converted an Adebayo Akinfenwa flick-on to earn Wanderers a point against fellow high-flyers Ipswich Town at Adams Park on New Year's Day.
The visitors took the lead when James Norwood headed home Luke Garbutt's quickly-taken free-kick, but Wheeler delighted most of the 8,523 fans inside the stadium with a smart finish to end a run of three successive defeats.
Gareth Ainsworth was forced to do without Dominic Gape, Curtis Thompson and Jack Grimmer due to injury, while Adebayo Akinfenwa was rested to the bench as Paul Smyth, Alex Samuel and David Wheeler formed a dynamic front three.
After a scrappy start, Wanderers should have taken the lead after excellent work from Samuel, who used his strength to hold off Ipswich defenders before smashing the ball across the face of goal, with Smyth just unable to adjust his feet quickly enough to convert.
Then at the other end, Darius Charles cleared off the line from Gwion Edwards’ shot as the visitors delivered the ball low across the box from the left, before action flashed to the Wycombe attack, with David Wheeler feeding Smyth for a powerful drive which was blocked en route to goal, and then Joe Jacobson curled a free-kick narrowly wide from 25 yards.
James Norwood lashed a quickly-taken effort into the terrace after the ball was fortuitously diverted into his path, and then the Blues defence did well to crowd out Kayden Jackson as he found space in the box to receive Edwards’ cross.
After a quiet spell in the middle of the half, Luke Garbutt curled over with a harshly-awarded free-kick, and then the first yellow card of the game went to Luke Chambers for illegally obstructing Smyth’s burst towards the box.
Town’s best opportunity came from a well-placed header from Alan Judge which looked destined for the top corner, but Ryan Allsop – the keeper with the most League 1 clean sheets in 2018 – clawed it away with a superb save away to his right.
Then came a real chance for Wycombe in the one minute of stoppage time, as Jacobson’s inviting free-kick was helped on by Darius Charles and may have been heading in before Giles Phillips nodded over the bar.
Ipswich had the first chance of the second period, with Judge racing on to his own knock-on to smash it goalwards, only for Allsop to make a brave block after racing off his line, and then Edwards’ follow-up was also denied by a combination of Allsop and Charles.
James Norwood then slid in to send Garbutt’s low cross wide of the past as Wycombe hesitated at the back, but the same combination linked up to break the deadlock with nine minutes of the second half played.
The quick-thinking Garbutt whipped a quickly-taken teasing free-kick into the six-yard box and, as Wanderers stood and watched, Norwood threw himself at the ball to head home from close range to spark euphoric celebrations from the previously muted Town supporters.
Darius Charles half-volleyed speculatively wide from the edge of the box, but Wycombe needed a change to instill fresh energy, and it arrived with the introduction of Adebayo Akinfenwa, as Paul Smyth made way.
It took two minutes to take effect. A long free-kick from Ryan Allsop was helped on by Akinfenwa and Wheeler nicked in between the defence and keeper to dink it delicately into the net – his third goal of the season.
Wanderers had their tails up, but Allsop needed to be alert to make a fine save when Alan Judge curled towards the corner after Kayden Jackson’s cross was cleared to him on the edge of the box.
Akinfenwa headed wide from a Jacobson free-kick as Luke Woolfenden did just enough to put him off his stride, and Woolfenden was then booked for a high foot on Nick Freeman.
Ipswich brought on Will Keane for goalscorer Norwood on 79 minutes, and there was nearly a moment to bring Adams Park to its feet when Alex Samuel connected with Freeman’s cross with an exquisite bicycle kick, seeing it land agonisingly wide.
Samuel made way for Scott Kashket on 86 minutes, and Wanderers could sense a winner, causing headaches for the Town backline through Akinfenwa’s sheer presence alone.
Teddy Bishop came on for Alan Judge in Town’s second change, but there was no time for either side to secure the three points as Wanderers rang in the New Year with a well-earned point before celebrating a new era with a magnificent firework display above the Chiltern hills.