Gareth Ainsworth took aim at referee Oliver Langford’s decision making as 10-man Wycombe’s Championship survival hopes were severely dented with a 3-1 defeat to Luton.
Wanderers’ bid for three-successive wins looked in good shape when Anis Mehmeti’s penalty put them ahead at half-time.
But the game flipped on its head when Josh Knight was sent off for a second-half lunge.
George Moncur, Kazenga LuaLua and Elijah Adebayo made the Chairboys pay, with three goals in the last 10 minutes leaving Ainsworth’s side nine points from safety with five games remaining.
“We’re fighting for our lives. With 11, we played so well,” said the manager. “I’m sure we’ll get it overturned on appeal because there’s no way it’s a red card.
“Josh Knight has slipped. If the referee takes that into consideration he gives a yellow; he made the decision so quickly.
“The red card was out almost before Josh was off the floor. For me, I don’t think he’s thought about it.
“He’s seen it and thought, ‘that’s a red’. We seem to have a lot of decisions go against us that have cost us at major times.
“Luton didn’t seem a threat until we went down to 10 men.
“It’s difficult with 10 men in League One and Two let alone the Championship. I’m proud of the boys, they’ve worked their socks off.
“We’ve got to win five from five now and we’re well capable of doing that.”
Wycombe took the lead after 37 minutes when Mehmeti converted from the spot after Admiral Muskwe was felled by Kal Naismith, making the most of a strong first-half performance.
But the hosts were under pressure on the hour when Leicester loanee Knight lunged in on Jordan Clark and was given a straight red card.
A rampant Luton had to bide their time but eventually levelled in the 80th minute, Moncur superbly curling home a 25-yard free-kick just three minutes after coming on following a foul on Clark.
A sumptuous finish from fellow substitute LuaLua put the Hatters ahead moments later before Adebayo wrapped up the game when heading in a cross from Harry Cornick, who came on at half-time alongside the impressive Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.
Victory takes Luton beyond their points tally from last season, with a welcome period of mid-table obscurity now awaiting them for the rest of the campaign.
Nathan Jones had overseen back-to-back defeats following the international break so avoiding an unwanted hat-trick was a relief following an underwhelming first half.
“It took half-time to find the spark. I thought we were really poor first half and I’m loathed to say we were bad, because that’s a lot to do with how Wycombe played,” said the manager.
“They negated us, and it’s difficult to play against them. And that’s what we worked on in training this week.
“At half-time I think that was the turning point. I thought the substitutes made the difference and Dewsbury-Hall was one of our outstanding players.
“We showed quality and the patience for the substitutes to say you’re going to have to work hard and get the opportunities, it’s hard for them. It’s nice to have these (selection) decisions now.
“We’ve not won three games in a row this season and we haven’t lost three games in a row, so this was important.
“It puts us in a really nice position, with six games to go, we’re two points better off than last season.”