Wycombe dropped out of the automatic promotion places after they lost 1-0 at home to Fleetwood thanks to a second-half winner from Paddy Madden.

In a match where the Chairboys were very much second best, Fleetwood dominated from the first whistle and should have been at least 3-0 up by the 10th minute, after Ched Evans and Barrie McKay had two glorious chances to score.

Evans had the first chance when a header from six-yards went into the side netting when moments later, McKay's long-range shot was parried away by Ryan Allsop.

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Thinking that they had weathered the storm, Wycombe nearly gifted the visitors the lead when Allsop inexplicably passed the ball straight to Evans when there was no-one around him, 10-yards away from goal.

Evans was clean through but Allsop made amends by denying the Welsh striker by getting down low and saving the forward’s shot with his foot.

Fleetwood continued to turn the screw when their captain Paul Coutts hit the bar with a looping header.

Wycombe just couldn’t get into the match but after Nick Freeman had the host’s first chance on 12 minutes with a low 15-yards from goal, the Chairboys had a great chance to take the lead.

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Josh Parker, who was making only his third start in the league this season, brilliantly turned away from Wes Burns on 43 minutes and unleashed a wonderful half-volley from 25-yards that was tipped onto the crossbar by Fleetwood’s goalkeeper Alex Cairns.

Amazingly, referee Kevin Johnson awarded a goal kick to rub salt into the Wycombe wounds, and frustratingly, this would be the host’s best chance of the match.

Fleetwood continued to show why they are fighting for a play-off place as Joey Barton’s team continued to play Wycombe off the park, with Lewis Gibson hitting the bar with a close-range header before Madden had a goal ruled out for offside.

And despite not being at the races, Wycombe were given a lifeline when Ched Evans was shown a straight red card for elbowing Jason McCarthy on 68 minutes, but the game was settled when Madden scored the winner with 16 minutes remaining.

The 29-year-old got the faintest of touches from Barrie McKay’s low and teasing cross and it gave Fleetwood a deserved lead.

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It was his 19th goal of the campaign.

And despite a late surge from Wycombe which saw Gape, Akinfenwa, Wheeler, Freeman and Stewart all have chances in injury-time, and even with Fleetwood’s manager in Barton being sent to the stands for dissent, it just wasn’t Wycombe’s day.

The defeat means Wycombe drop down to fourth.

Their next game is away at Bolton on February 15.