Full-time: Robins 1, Wycombe Wanderers 4Ten-man Cheltenham Town fell to their fourth league defeat on the bounce against in-form Wycombe Wanderers at Whaddon Road.
All the damage was done in a breathless first half that had just about everything: three goals, a host of misses, a squandered penalty and a sending off.
What was so frustrating was that the Robins had made the perfect start, taking an early lead through Steve Elliott’s first goal of the season but contrived to find themselves a goal down, and a man short at the break.
They rallied in the second half but a wonderful strike by Joe Jacobson, 20 minutes from time, put the game beyond Cheltenham's reach.
Substitute Matt McClure made it four at the death.
The result leaves Gareth Ainsworth’s side top tonight while Cheltenham have slid to 18th in the table.
Kane Ferdinand was one of three changes Yates made to the side that was thrashed at Stevenage last weekend.
The cousin of Rio, Anton and Les Ferdinand joined the club from Peterborough during the week on a two-month loan arrangement and replaced Raffaele De Vita in midfield.
James Bowen and Paul Black made way for Craig Braham-Barrett and Jack Deaman in defence.
The dramatic opening exchanges were as scrappy as they were entertaining.
The Robins struck first through Elliott, who met Matt Richards’ deep inswinging corner with a downward header in an unmarked position at the far post.
But no sooner had the celebrations died down, Wycombe were level through Paris Cowan-Hall who could have gone on and claimed a hat-trick inside 12 minutes.
Just 60 seconds after the big defender had put the home side in front, Craig Braham-Barrett saw a clearance charged down and Paul Hayes did brilliantly well to kill the loose ball.
The Wycombe skipper darted inside and cut one back into the path of Cowan-Hall who smashed the ball home courtesy of the underside of the bar.
Both goalscorers should have added a second within minutes; first Elliott prodded wide from close range before Cowan-Hall missed the target from a great position down the left channel.
The Wycombe man then went close again but this time Troy Brown’s late lunge was crucial in deflecting the winger’s effort over.
His side had an even better chance to go in front in the 18th minute when Braham-Barrett shoved Peter Murphy to concede a penalty, but the Northern Irish shotstopper dived to his right to prevent Hayes taking full advantage.
The game had seemingly settled down approaching the midway point of the first half but Lee Vaughan put paid to that, flooring Murphy with a reckless challenge deep in Wycombe’s half which left the referee with no option but to issue the wing back his marching orders.
Wycombe made the extra man count eight minutes before the break when Jacobson and Cowan-Hall combined to tee up Steven Craig, who made no mistake from 10 yards to hand his side the half-time lead.
Cheltenham performed better after the break and carved out a couple of half-chances to get back on terms.
Richards fired over with a 25-yard free-kick while Troy Brown headed wide from a Richards corner.
Omari-Sterling James (for Taylor), John Marquis (Gornell) and De Vita (Ferdinand) were all pressed into action as Yates tried to salvage something from the contest.
But with 20 minutes to go the visitors ended that hope when Jacobson beat Carson with a fine strike from over 30 yards.
De Vita went close to pulling one back in the final minute, missing the target with a thumping volley, but substitute McClure put the seal on victory when he slipped away from the Cheltenham defence before beating Carson from the edge of the box.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Carson (c); Brown, Elliott, Deaman; Vaughan, Taylor (Sterling-James 58), Ferdinand (De Vita 81), Richards, Braham-Barrett; Gornell (Marquis 64), Harrison. Subs not used: Gould (Gk), Hanks, Kotwica, Black, Sterling-James.
WYCOMBE WANDERERS (4-3-3): Ingram; Jombati, Rowe (Lewis 73), Pierre, Jacobson; Murphy, Scowen, Bloomfield; Cowan-Hall, Craig, Hayes (c) (McClure 86) . Subs not used: Richardson (Gk), Fletcher, Kretzschmar.
REFEREE: D Sheldrake
ATTENDANCE: 2,833 (496 from Wycombe)