Wycombe Wanderers Secure Promotion to the Championship With Victory Over Oxford United
The two sides that met at Wembley couldn’t have had more contrasting styles of football. The U’s ranked first in League One for average possession, passes and 10+ passes, while the Chairboys ranked 23rd on all of those.
And that was evident from the early exchanges.But, like against Fleetwood in the first leg of their playoff semi-final, Wycombe capitalised on their threat of set pieces inside ten minutes when a Joe Jacobson corner was met by Anthony Stewart. Simon Eastwood came but was unable to reach, and the defenders’ header went in off the U’s goalkeeper.
Shortly after, Fred Onyedinma struck from distance, and Eastwood was only able to palm the ball away. But the U’s continued to dominate possession and soon had their first shot. James Henry and Mark Sykes combined down the right before Sam Long fired just wide.
Wycombe were very compact when not in possession and Karl Robinson’s side struggled to get into the opponents half. When they did, Sykes and Henry combined again but Stewart expertly blocked a low cross which would have resulted in a Matty Taylor tap-in.
The second half saw Liam Kelly replace Alex Rodriguez Gorrin, who picked up his customary yellow card in the first half. The change immediately added tempo to the game.
Stewart again cleared the danger from Sykes but was unable to do anything when the Northern Irishman got clear five minutes later. Henry played the ball through the lines down the right and, with Taylor unmarked in the middle, Sykes looked up. But, his cross-cum-shot eluded Ryan Allsop and looped into the top corner.
The U’s could, and probably should, have taken the lead moments later. A ricochet fell to Cameron Brannagan who found Henry, but the Oxford winger opted to square it to Taylor instead of firing at goal. The pass was blocked.
By now, Oxford were beginning to assert their dominance and create more chances. Rob Dickie was denied from a corner before Allsop expertly denied the defenders second effort with a low save.
The U’s then handed Wycombe the chance to regain the lead. Allsop smashed the ball forward and it bounced through towards Eastwood, but Onyedinma had burst onto the loose ball. The winger got the slightest touch as Eastwood charged out and wiped the Wycombe man out in the box.
A penalty was awarded, but Eastwood wasn’t dismissed. Jacobson, who missed a penalty at Oxford last season, calmly struck down the middle to give Gareth Ainsworth’s side the lead for a second time.
Dickie was denied again but in truth, the U’s had seen their momentum fall away. Wycombe held on to secure promotion to the second tier for the first time in the clubs’ history.