Wycombe Wanderers suffered an unlucky 3-2 defeat against Coventry City in an action-packed game at the Ricoh Arena.

Two penalties, one nailed-on and one controversial, were given by referee Tony Harrington with the decisive blow being struck by Marc McNulty on 53 minutes.

McNulty went down very easily in the area after he was adjudged to have been fouled by Luke O’Nien and he smashed the penalty past Scott Brown.

Wanderers came back brilliantly after finding themselves 2-0 down in the first half to claw it back to 2-2.

Michael Doyle gave Coventry the lead with a complete fluke on 13 minutes when his cross from miles out looped in over despairing Brown and into the net.

The home side doubled their advantage against the run of play when McNulty danced into the area and threaded a shot into the far corner.

However, Dan Scarr scored a wonderful goal right on half-time when he put a sensational volley right into the far corner from 20 yards after controlling expertly on his chest.

Just after the break, Wycombe had a penalty of their own when Nathan Tyson was hacked down in the box and Joe Jacobson coolly slotted past Lee Burge but McNulty had the last word

Coventry almost took the lead after just 60 seconds when the excellent McNulty burst through into the area to be denied by a fantastic save from Brown before Max Biamou fired high and wide.

Wycombe responded well and Adebayo Akinfenwa saw his glancing header from six yards go wide from a delicious Jacobson cross but the linesman flagged for an infringement anyway.

However, Doyle’s lucky goal gave the Sky Blues impetus and they looked a threat going forward.

Once again, the home side almost scored from a cross when Jordan Shipley’s corner struck the crossbar on 20 minutes with Brown scrambling.

Mark Robins’ side remained on the front foot and Peter Vincenti almost got on the end of Chris Stokes’ cross midway through the first half.

Wycombe were trying to work their way back into the game but Vincenti went close again on 28 minutes when he flicked Jordan Shipley’s header wide.

Wanderers continued to try and up the ante but McNulty’s goal looked to have been a hammer blow for the Blues.

However, Scarr scored a magnificent goal to give the Chairboys momentum going into the second half.

A highly contentious moment occurred at the start of the second half when Akinfenwa burst into the area and seemed to be fouled by Jordan Willis but Harrington booked the big forward for diving.

But on 48 minutes, Harrington did award Wanderers a penalty and Jacobson sent the Wanderers fans into raptures.

Incredibly, Coventry were awarded a soft penalty which McNulty rifled home but the Chairboys were coming back strongly with Burge being tested in the Coventry goal.

Jack Grimmer almost made it four on 65 minutes when he found space in the box but his calm effort was cleared off the line by Sam Saunders.

Akinfenwa continued to cause plenty of problems for the Sky Blues defence and he got in behind on 69 minutes but his effort was charged down before Craig Mackail-Smith’s shot went straight at Burge.

McNulty was then deservedly booked for diving on 85 minutes when he attempted to go round Brown but fell theatrically with a chance of his hat-trick gone.

Paris Cowan-Hall had a golden chance to equalise right at the death after an almighty scramble in the box found the winger who headed over with the goal gaping.

Akinfenwa had one final chance to force a draw but he flicked his shot just over.

Substitute Duckens Nazon was foiled by Brown late on as the Sky Blues just held on.

Not the start Wycombe were looking for over Christmas and they now face Newport at Adams Park on Boxing Day.

WYCOMBE WANDERERS: Brown, Jombati, Stewart (sub: De Havilland, 43), Scarr, Jacobson, O’Nien, Saunders, Bloomfield, Tyson (sub: Eze, 78), Akinfenwa, Mackail-Smith (sub: Cowan-Hall, 69). Subs: Ma-Kalambay, Gape, Southwell, Freeman.

COVENTRY CITY: Burge, Grimmer, McDonald, Willis, Stokes, Bayliss, Shipley (sub: Nazon, 84), Doyle, McNulty, Biamou (sub: Davies, 90), Vincenti (sub: Kelly-Evans, 45). Subs: O’Brien, Haynes, Stevenson, Ponticelli.

REFEREE: Tony Harrington