Jimmy Smith’s second half strike condemned Wycombe Wanderers to a 1-0 defeat against Crawley Town as they kicked off their League Two campaign.

The Chairboys were on top for large parts of the match but failed to turn their dominance into goals and were ultimately punished.

They had two appeals for a penalty waved away in the second half but didn’t mount a serious comeback after going behind on the hour.

Andre Blackman was sent off late on, but Wycombe could not take advantage and will now turn their attention to a League Cup meeting with Bristol City at Adams Park on Tuesday.

Gareth Ainsworth handed debuts to Scott Brown, Myles Weston and Dayle Southwell as the Blues started their campaign with an attacking 4-3-3 set-up.

There was no place among the starters for Adebayo Akinfenwa, however, as he had to settle for a place on a bench consisting of just six players.

Aaron Pierre managed to shake of the knee complaint which had been bothering him in pre-season and took his place alongside Anthony Stewart at centre-back.

With Paul Hayes absent through injury, Garry Thompson was handed the captains armband on his 50th appearance for the club.

He formed a free-moving front three with Southwell and Weston and the trio frequently rotated position in the opening stages.

This fluidity was stopped in its tracks after 10 minutes though as an injury to Weston ended his maiden Chairboys appearance.

Ainsworth’s side should have been ahead moments later and were denied by three superb blocks within seconds of each other.

Firstly, Turkish keeper Yusuf Mersin lost a high ball and Southwell’s low drive was blocked on the line by Joe McNerney.

Luke O’Nien’s follow up from a tight angle looked to be creeping in, but again a Crawley foot blocked its path to goal, before Pierre’s shot from eight yards was well saved by Mersin.

Brown was called into action twice in quick succession as he denied Jordan Roberts to maintain parity.

The second stop was particularly impressive as he sprung to his left to beat a driven effort away after the ball broke to Roberts eight yards from goal.

The chances were a rare bright spark for the hosts in a half Wanderers enjoyed the better of despite not breaking the deadlock.

Mersin had looked shaky in the Town gaol throughout, but made a fine save just after the half hour as he got down well to save Pierre’s header from six yards.

Wanderers’ failure to find a breakthrough in the opening half would have been a concern, but they managed to maintain their momentum into the second period.

Joe Jacobson almost had them ahead in bizarre fashion inside a minute of the restart as his corner curled beyond Mersin and dropped onto the bar.

The hosts had the ball in the net moments later after Enzio Boldweijn beat Jacobson with a fine turn and squared for Roberts.

The forward put the chance away but the linesman correctly judged the ball to have crossed the by-line before the cross came in.

Both sides were playing at a frantic pace and while Wycombe were enjoying more of the ball, their opponents posed a regular threat on the counter.

Wycombe’s failure to make the most of their dominance was punished on the hour as Smith took advantage of some slack defending to score the opener.

The Crawley captain latched onto a loose ball in the box from Matt Bloomfield’s poor header opened up his body and stroked a right footed strike past Brown.

The breakthrough prompted Ainsworth into a sub as he introduced Akinfenwa, with the burly forward immediately joining Southwell in attack.

Wanderers were struggling to create now though and Crawley began to grow in confidence as they searched for a second.

The visitors looked bereft of ideas once going behind and despite keeping their energy levels up struggled to create a clear cut chance.

They certainly felt hard done by with six minutes to play though as Bloomfield’s flick on appeared to strike an arm in the box, but the ref waved away the appeals.

Six minutes of added time gave the Blues hope of a late leveller but they could not make the most of the chance, despite Crawley being reduced to 10 men after Blackman was dismissed for a second yellow card.

Garry Thompson went closest with a driven volley, but his attempt was in vain on a frustrating day for the Chairboys.

Crawley Town: Mersin; Young’ Payne, Connolly, Boldewijn, Smith, Banton (Clifford 82), Roberts, Blackman, Collins (Harrold 87), McNerney

Subs not used: Beeney; Arthur, Yorwerth, Bawling, Yussuf

Wycombe Wanderers: Brown; Harriman (Jombati 87), Stewart, Pierre, Jacobson, O’Nien (Akinfenwa 63), Bean, Wood, Thompson (c), Southwell, Weston (Bloomfield 13)

Subs not used: McGinn, Richardson, de Havilland

Referee: Nick Kinseley

Cards: Blackman sent off for two yellow cards 54 (foul on Wood) 90+1 dissent, Jacobson 77 (foul on Banton), Banton 78 (foul on Bean), Brown (87)

Attendance: 2,471 (Wanderers 762)