Though it was Wycombe's veteran midfielder Rob Lee who staggered away from the Causeway Stadium with 10 stitches in his head, it is his caretaker manager, Steve Brown, who will have awoken with a throbbing headache, having watched his side lose the home leg of this play-off tie.
Brown, pressed into managerial duty when John Gorman took compassionate leave last month, has the task of reviving the promotion challenge of a club beset by troubles since the turn of the year. Having sat atop League Two for five months, Wycombe were shocked by the deaths of 21-year-old midfielder Mark Philo and Gorman's wife, Myra, early this year. Brown, however, insists that Tommy Mooney's injury-time strike has given Wycombe the chance to finish the season with a memorable victory.
"Mooney's late goal today was fantastic. It put us back in the tie," he said. Whether Lee, a steadying influence until he was substituted, midway through the first half, will make the away leg remains to be seen.
But the former England international was incensed that Steve Guinan, who scored Cheltenham's second with a deflected effort, is free to play in the return match following what Lee described as a "deliberate elbow". "The referee should have sent him off. I wouldn't have got this much damage to my eye just by hitting his elbow," Lee sighed.
Wycombe looked lost without Lee and then John Finnigan hit Grant McCann's free-kick home two minutes before half-time to put Cheltenham ahead. Although Mooney's late goal gives Wycombe hope, when they make the journey down the A40 on Thursday night they know Cheltenham are firmly in the driving seat.
Goals: Finnigan (43) 0-1; Guinan (75) 0-2; Mooney (90) 1-2.
Wycombe Wanderers (4-4-2): Williams; Senda, Johnson, Antwi, Easton; Betsy, Bloomfield (Oakes, 63), Lee (Burnell, 37), Martin; Mooney, Stonebridge (Easter, 54). Substitutes not used: Talia, Williamson.
Cheltenham Town (4-4-2): Higgs; Gill, Caines, Duff, Armstrong; Wilson (Bell, 82), Finnigan, McCann, Vincent; Guinan (Gillespie, 80), Odejayi (Spencer, 80). Substitutes not used: Brown, Bird.
Referee: A Hall (W Midlands).
Booked: Cheltenham Guinan.
Man of the match: Duff.
Attendance: 5,936.Reuse content