YORK City equalled their heaviest margin of defeat on a season’s opening day since 1950 following an error-strewn 3-0 loss at Wycombe.
That three-goal deficit has been matched six times at the start of different campaigns since a sorry 7-2 thrashing at Tranmere midway through the 20th century – the last occasion coming 15 years ago when Terry Dolan’s team were thumped 4-1 against Chesterfield. 
Defensive gaffes put the Chairboys in the driving seat during this contest and the Minstermen never looked like recovering from Stephane Zubar’s crazy, 20-yard own goal that wrapped up matters with less than an hour on the clock.
Chants of “You’re Getting Sacked In the Morning” were promptly directed at manager Russ Wilcox by certain sections of the City faithful for whom, it seems, he can do no right.
Given little credit in those circles after guiding a team to Football League survival that had won just ONE of their previous 17 matches when he took charge last October, surely he deserves at least the dozen games he reckons will prove an accurate barometer of whether progress is being made in terms of unravelling the mess he inherited? 
But, just as he carried the can last term for his team giving away a free-kick that led to a deflected last-minute equaliser at Accrington, Wilcox was subjected to more abuse at Adams Park following the kind of individual blunder that owes nothing to tactical nous or team selection.
The same applied to Keith Lowe’s uncharacteristic mistake that gifted Wycombe their seventh-minute lead, which followed a sprightly start by the visitors at last season’s beaten play-off finalists.
In between, Dave Winfield appeared to be shoved over during the build-up to the home side’s second goal but there was also an argument that City should have been more aggressive and decisive in dealing with the hopeful balls into their box that ended up in debutant keeper Scott Flinders’ net.
Earlier, Wilcox looked to have got his first XI spot on.
Making the bold decision on the eve of the match to address a left side of his defence that had looked vulnerable in pre-season, the City boss fielded debutant wing-back David Tutonda, who made a lively start in front of last season’s returning, reliable performer Zubar.
The right-footed John McCombe, who has been done few favours by being shunted on to his less-favoured side, made way for the Guadeloupe international.
Former Wycombe right-back Marvin McCoy, meanwhile, also probed down the right flank during the opening exchanges and rookie striker Reece Thompson’s tigerish enthusiasm was threatening a torrid afternoon for accomplished centre-halves Aaron Pierre and Anthony Stewart. 
City’s ultimate failure to muster a single shot on target until the 93rd minute will provide further ammunition for Wilcox critics but that would ignores the effort Pierre and Stewart put in to shackle Thompson.
Wycombe also only managed three accurate attempts on Flinders’ goal but capitalised fully on their fleeting chances, while the Minstermen failed to take advantage of a series of well-delivered Luke Summerfield set-pieces – an area that could prove fruitful this season if worked upon fully.
Wilcox, of course, was not faultless at Buckinghamshire.
Given the benefit of hindsight – and what a tool in any manager’s armoury that would be by the way – he might not have substituted skipper Russell Penn midway through the second period when summer signing James Berrett was already becoming peripheral to proceedings.
Even with the scoreline at the time, it is hard to imagine the visitors surrendering so meekly had their captain been on the pitch for the final half-hour.
Penn had typically been to the fore as City made a combative beginning to the campaign but it was a relieved Wycombe who forged in front when Lowe attempted to flick Marcus Bean’s lofted centre back to Flinders.
Gambling centre-back Stewart went on to display the anticipation of a master poacher when he stole in front of the City keeper and prodded home from eight yards.
Berrett could have equalised three minutes later but, after arriving late in the penalty box, he guided his header wide from Vadaine Oliver’s right-wing cross.
There were also City appeals for a penalty when Pierre and Thompson went shoulder to shoulder in the home box while, at the other end, Luke O’Nien was wayward twice with half chances before Aaron Amadi-Holloway doubled Wanderers’ lead.
With Winfield crashing to the deck, he reacted quickest to pounce on the loose ball and drill a low 15-yard shot inside Flinders’ left-hand upright. 
At the other end, right-wing free-kicks from Summerfield to the far post were then headed over and wide by Oliver and Winfield respectively, while Flinders made his only save of the match when he safely gathered a 25-yard Garry Thompson strike.
After the interval, Zubar and Pierre saw further headers from dead-ball deliveries miss the target but the former had no problem finding his own net on 58 minutes in the strangest of circumstances.
Under pressure from Holloway, the off-balance on-loan Bournemouth defender lofted the ball over a stranded Flinders’ head from outside the City penalty box to the amusement of home fans behind his goal. 
Oliver might have struck back on 71 minutes but he headed wide of a vacated goal after Wycombe net-minder Matt Ingram had misjudged a high ball into his box.
But the match, played in soaring temperatures, then petered out until City sub Jake Hyde’s looping header was kept out by Ingram’s finger tips in stoppage time.
Hyde also headed over from Summerfield’s subsequent corner. 
The final whistle heralded a chorus of boos from away supporters but the disappointment must be placed in context with the quality of the opposition.
Bradford City tomorrow night, despite their 4-1 loss to Swindon at the weekend, are unlikely to be any easier, although ensuing contests against Hartlepool and Yeovil will be more revealing.
For Zubar, meanwhile, the spectacular blunder did not represent his first aberration in a City shirt but he has come back stronger from each infrequent lapse.


City Ratings

Scott Flinders 5 – left vulnerable for goals but might have got a hand to second.
Keith Lowe 5 – unusual misjudgement gave Wycombe a timely boost. 
Dave Winfield 5 – not as assertive as towards end of last season at heart of defence.
Stephane Zubar 5 – incredible own goal killed off game as a contest.
Marvin McCoy 6 – drew early fouls from old club with raids down right.
Russell Penn 7 – scrapped well before being surprisingly subbed in second period.
Luke Summerfield 7 – provided a regular supply of quality dead-ball deliveries.
James Berrett 6 – busy from start but became less prominent as game wore on. 
David Tutonda 6 – displayed a willingness to run at opposition in early exchanges.
Vadaine Oliver 6 – missed target with a couple of good headed chances. 
Reece Thompson 7 – STAR MAN unsettled two good centre halves with his persistence.
Subs: Eddie Nolan (for McCoy, 67) 6 – solid; Jake Hyde (for Penn, 67) 7 – eager; Anthony Straker (for Tutonda, 77). 
Subs not used: Michael Ingham, Femi Ilesanmi, Josh Carson, Ben Godfrey.

Wycombe: Matt Ingram, Sido Jombati, Aaron Pierre, Anthony Stewart, Joe Jacobson, Luke O’Nien (Michael Harriman, 90), Marcus Bean, Sam Wood, Garry Thompson (Ryan Sellers, 89), Paul Hayes, Aaron Amadi-Holloway.
Subs: Barry Richardson, Stephen McGinn, Jason Banton, Danny Rowe.
Star man: Pierre – stuck to his task to keep Thompson at bay. 
Referee: Oliver Langford; rating: 5/10 – too many oversights in first half.
Booked: Jacobson 43, Stewart 52, Winfield 80, Pierre 86.
Attendance: 3,688 (376 from City).
Shots on target: Wycombe 3, City 1
Shots off target: Wycombe 5, City 7
Corners: Wycombe 6, City 3
Fouls conceded: Wycombe 14, City 13
Offsides: Wycombe 3, City 1