Sheffield united went down to a team languishing near the bottom of the league - but danny wilson absorbed the flak for his players after this shock at adams park.
Sheffield united, second in the table and previously beaten only once in league one since august, slipped to their most disappointing defeat of the season at the hands of a wycombe wanderers side which started the afternoon deep in the relegation zone and without a win or a goal in nearly five hours of football.
Stuart beavon’s delicious first-half finish ended that drought in spectacular fashion.
Nevertheless, with united having controlled the game for long periods, it was impossible to escape the conclusion that they were the architects of their own downfall.
It was something wilson, acknowledging his side had paid the ultimate price for a profligate display against enthusiastic opponents, did not shy away from afterwards.
Nevertheless he was quick to try and put the result in to context during the post-match inquest.
“The lads are gutted because they don’t like drawing let alone losing,” wilson said.
“They’ve got a winning mentality and none of them want to drop points.
“But i’m not going to storm in there and rant and rave at them because the only thing missing from that performance was the finishing.
“We just have to be mindful of the need to be more clinical.
“You’ve got to ride your luck at times and wycombe did just that.
“I’m taking nothing away from them at all but they made a few mistakes and got away with them.
“We made one and were punished.”
Wilson was referring to a rare miscalculation by harry maguire which presented beavon with the opportunity to thunder home past a despairing steve simonsen.
The youngster, usually a model of confidence and consistency, dithered rather than dealing decisively with stuart lewis’s pass and set in motion the chain of events which led to wycombe’s winner.
“It’s a lesson learned for harry,” wilson continued. “He’s done everything else well other than letting that ball bounce.
“It’s the first mistake he’s made for me but it’s not going to be his last because if you have a long career in football then they go with the territory.
“Harry will get over it.
“The dressing room has been great with him and it’s not something we’re going to dwell on. It’s better to quickly move on.
“He’s certainly not responsible for the outcome because, if you want to go down that route, then you’d want to look at the strikers and others who had chances too.”
Wilson’s refusal to apportion blame is commendable but can not disguise the fact that continuing to show such generosity - particularly during forthcoming games against preston, sheffield wednesday and leaders charlton - will undermine the south yorkshire club’s bid to regain the championship status it surrendered in disappointing fashion four months ago.
Despite remaining in the automatic promotion places - ahead of this weekend’s meeting with chris powell’s side at bramall lane - there are concerns, for all the undoubted qualities of ched evans, richard cresswell and chris porter, whether united possess the predatory striker required to ensure their good work elsewhere on the field does not go to waste.
Kevin mcdonald’s delicate touches and tricks adorned the midfield but lee williamson, neill collins and evans were all guilty of missing chances they would expect to convert.
Too often, especially before the interval, final balls into the area went astray.
When united did find the target, they found nikki bull in inspired form.
The goalkeeper smothered bravely at evans’ feet after the wales international, who had earlier smashed a vicious shot against the crossbar, picked a hole in wycombe’s defence with mcdonald’s drive being deflected over on the rebound.
Substitute cresswell and maguire both saw headers saved during the closing stages as steve simonsen, having denied the dangerous kadeem harris soon after the interval, became a spectator.
But, try as united might, an equaliser remained elusive and wycombe were able to mark gary waddock’s 100th match at the helm with a famous win,.
“You can’t lurch from massive highs to huge lows,” wilson said. “It’s important to maintain some sort of equilibrium and that’s what we’ll do.
“I’ll mull over it but only because we’re always looking for ways to improve.
“We’ve shown, though, that we’ve got the players to create openings.
“Next time we’ve just got to make sure we take them and keep the door shut at the back.”