Oxford United 4-0 Burton Albion: Oxford smash Burton to snatch last play-off spot from Pompey
Photo by Lewis Storey / Getty Images

Oxford United defeated Burton Albion 4-0 to secure the last Sky Bet League One play-off place, after results elsewhere allowed them to do so.

The story of the game, and more is below.

  • Story of the game

First half

The game got off to a cagey start, with so much riding on it for the U's, knowing that a win could secure them the last play-off spot.

The Brewers had the brighter opening to the game, applying plenty of pressure in and around the Oxford box. 

However, against the run of play, the hosts took the lead in the blink of an eye. They won the ball high up the field and produced an electric counter attack with Olamide Shodipo eventually heading past Dillon Barnes in the net. It was a great ball in from Sam Long, putting it on a plate for the Queens Park Rangers loanee who could hardly miss. 

Burton came knocking for an equaliser, Joe Powell was at the centre of attention once again causing some trouble. He had a shot blocked after a training ground move from a corner. 

The home side were holding their own, just. Mike Fondop-Talom had a shot well saved by Jack Stevens, the Cameroonian nearly squeezed the ball in. 

Just before the half-hour mark, the U's doubled their advantage. Who else but Matty Taylor, getting his 18th goal of the season. It was a disaster at the back for the Brewers. Michael Mancienne attempted to head the ball back to his 'keeper after a powerful Shodipo shot was blocked - only for Taylor to nip in and head it past a stranded Barnes. 2-0.

Oxford had control of the game with a great rythm about them and they nearly made it three soon after doubling their lead. Elliot Lee stabbed the ball wide after a smooth passage of play. 

The Brewers came knocking again, this time they forced one of the saves of the season from Stevens. Fondop headed a loose ball down with Terry Taylor in the six yard box, but the Welshman couldn't get it past Stevens who saved brilliantly.

Everything was going perfect for Karl Robinson's side.

Second half

The second half got underway, and Burton looked tired. 

Things got worse for the away side, as Oxford made it three in what was a commanding display. It shouldn't have found it's way in, but it did. Lee struck a low free-kick and the Burton 'keeper Barnes parried into onto the post before it trickled past him to go over the line. It highlighted a disappointing afternoon for Barnes on his Albion debut. 

There were two changes immediately after, probably to do with Jimmy Floyd-Haselbaink's frustration with his side. The game had got away from them very easily.

There was not much hope in levelling the game, but the Brewers didn't give up in trying. Danny Rowe hit the bar after a great run, drifting by a couple of challenges. 

The game was all but over as Oxford were just keeping the ball, making Burton work for it. It's almost as if they knew they had snatched that last play-off spot. 

And to round off a memorable afternoon, Oxford made it four in stoppage time. Substitute Sam Winnall had seen Barnes off his line after a long ball from the back, and the 30-year-old lobbed it over him to finish the game.

Not much happened in the second half other than the two Oxford goals, but what a game and what a day for Robinson's yellow army. 

  • Key takeaway

Oxford reach play-offs

Oxford make it into the play-off's on the last game of the season, with all the results going their way, they'll certainly have Accrington Stanley to thank after they defeated Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

What a season for Robinson's men. A stellar effort by them, and now they have the chance to get promoted to the second division for the first time in 20 years.

Blackpool are to await the U's in the play-off semi finals. 

  • MOTM - Olamide Shodipo

The 23-year-old Irishman had a terrific impact in the game, having a hand in both of the goals in the first half. Scoring the first goal to get the ball rolling was so important. He was outstanding before being brought off just a few minute after the hour - most likely to protect him ahead of the big games coming up.

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