VETERAN striker Adebayo Akinfenwa nodded home in the dying moments to condemn Swindon Town to defeat in a hugely entertaining clash at Adams Park.

Akinfenwa, a constant menace to Town’s defence, took advantage as Town keeper Reice Charles-Cook came but failed to reach a cross, allowing the ball to drop into the net as 90 minutes ticked around.

Town grabbed the lead through Marc Richards under two minutes in but were behind by the 10th minute as Luke O’Nien and Craig Mackail-Smith notched for the home side.

Matt Taylor’s world-class long-range free-kick just after the hour mark restored parity but the burly Akinfenwa, who had an earlier headed goal chalked off for offside, had the final say as Town ceded crucial ground to a promotion rival.

Town made just one change to the side that had started Saturday’s 1-0 win over Mansfield at the Energy Check County Ground, with Olly Lancashire fit again to resume his place at the heart of the defence, although regular partner Matt Preston missed out altogether, presumably through injury.

Academy youngster Joe Romanski again earned a place on the bench.

Wycombe featured the considerable experience of Craig Mackail-Smith and Adebayo Akinfenwa, Mackail-Smith replacing Nathan Tyson, who was on the bench, while Luke O’Nien also stepped in for Matt Bloomfield, who was also among the substitutes.

What Town needed at the home of a promotion rival was a solid start. What they got was even better than that.

Barely 90 seconds were on the clock when a long ball from Ben Purkiss earned territory in the Wanderers half. The ball was played into the right channel where Keshi Anderson reached it and knocked it to the far post.

Matt Taylor arrived with a powerful header and although keeper Scott Brown parried it to the side, Marc Richards was on hand to poke home unchallenged at the far post.

Needing to consolidate that opening, the visitors instead surrendered the initiative far too easily.

A ball knocked up to the edge of their box was allowed to bounce free and O’Nien arrived to arrow a precise low drive past Reice Charles-Cook into the bottom corner, silencing the celebrating away fans.

The frenetic nature of the start continued as play went from end to end but before 10 minutes were out, Town found themselves behind.

Lancashire was culpable as a routine ball forward wasn’t dealt with by the skipper, allowing Paris Cowan-Hall to advance into the area from the left. There was a hint of offside as he squared to Mackail-Smith but the Wanderers frontman diverted it over the line despite the attentions of Town defenders.

Town responded as Norris again escaped into the right channel and crossed, Richards making his trademark near-post move but diverting the ball high over the top.

Neither side were looking solid in defence and Town carved out the next good chance as a defensive misjudgement allowed Matt Taylor to progress towards the box from the left and unleash a low drive, which appeared to hit his own man Norris.

Timi Elsnik blasted high after more Town pressure had won a corner before Mackail-Smith wriggled clear on the right at the other end but Charles-Cook was equal to his low drive at the near post.

Wycombe could have had a third 10 minutes before the break as Akinfenwa – a constant thorn in the side of the Town rearguard, was allowed to win a header too easily, Mackail-Smith’s follow-up from the knock-down being blocked behind. From the corner, Akinfenwa headed straight at Charles-Cook.

Town though should have been level on 37 minutes as the ball was flicked behind the Wycombe defender for Anderson, who took it in his stride and advanced, beating Brown with his shot, but also the post.

Elsnik still looked a class above most others in midfield and his battling allowed Anderson to set Norris free, but the big striker’s shot was blocked behind.

Norris then fired straight at Brown just before the break after some haphazard defending from the home side.

Astonishingly, given the start to the first half, it was also similar at the start of the second as Taylor’s cross from the left was slightly deflected and caused panic in the Wycombe defence as neither keeper Brown or anyone else dealt with it, Richards just failing to get his head on it.

Akinfenwa was still causing hassle though and some fleet of foot and a sharp turn from the frontman forced Charles-Cook to smother at his feet. Seconds later, the striker got to a long free kick, but looped his header harmlessly over.

Town’s own list of gilt-edged chances was mounting up, Norris just failing to direct a deflected cross goalwards with his head from no more than five yards.

But just after the hour mark, the visitors were level – and in some style.

Wycombe did not seem unduly concerned by the concession of a free kick between 35 and 40 yards out on their left. They should have known better. Taylor stepped up and delivered a laser-guided missile into the top corner with his magical left foot, leaving Brown grasping at thin air.

The stunned hosts were suddenly on the back foot, Norris nodding a Taylor corner wide before Town went achingly close to a third on 69 minutes as Kaiyne Woolery – who had replaced Anderson – latched on to a ball forward, shrugged off a defender and lobbed Brown, but unfortunately also the bar.

Gradually Wanderers worked their way back into it and they thought they had retaken the lead on 77 minutes as Tafari Moore’s cross from the right was met by a diving header by Akinfenwa which flew into the net. However, referee Andrew Madley ruled it out for an apparent foul.

Suddenly though, the home side had the head of steam, Rollin Menayese having to deflect a cross behind after Mackail-Smith had wriggled clear on the right of the box before Akinfenwa headed wide from no more than six yards.

The burly striker was to have the final say though. Charles-Cook came off his line to meet a high cross from the right, but didn’t get there and Akinfenwa’s header dropped into the net to decide it.

SWINDON TOWN (3-5-2): Charles-Cook, Purkiss, Lancashire, Menayese, Knoyle, Banks, Elsnik, Anderson (Woolery 54), Taylor, Norris, Richards.

Not used: Moore, Robertson, Mullin, Dunne, Iandolo, Romanski.

WYCOMBE (4-4-2): Brown, Moore, Jacobson, Scarr, El-Abd, Bean, Gape, O’Nien, Mackail-Smith (Freeman 90+3), Akinfenwa (McGinley 90+6), Cowan-Hall (Tyson 74).

Not used: Ma-Kalambay, Bloomfield, De Havilland, Thompson.

Referee: Andrew Madley Attendance: 4,863, (1,012)