Oxford United Looking to Better Last Season in League One Playoffs

League One playoffs

Despite being in the bottom four in November, Oxford United secured a playoff spot on the final day of the season with a win over Burton Albion. As a result of Portsmouth’s defeat against Accrington Stanley, the U’s moved above the south coast club to take the final playoff position. Having reached the final last season, Karl Robinson will be looking to go one better in this seasons League One playoffs.

Oxford United Looking to Go One Better in League One Playoffs

Final Heartache in Last Season’s League One Playoffs

With the season curtailed early as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Oxford United reached the League One playoffs last season but were beaten in the final.

The U’s saw off Portsmouth over two legs in the semi-final, with both games ending 1-1. However, Robinson’s side progressed to Wembley with a win on penalties.

In the capital, Oxford were met by Gareth Ainsworth’s plucky Wycombe Wanderers side. Despite being the underdogs, the Chairboys took an early lead. Oxford levelled in the second half but were pegged behind for a second time when Simon Eastwood conceded a penalty, which was converted by Joe Jacobson.

The U’s were unable to find another equaliser, resulting in another campaign in the third tier of English football.

This Season, Oxford Have Earned It

While last season was ended early, there is no doubt that Oxford are deserving of their spot in the playoffs this time around. As already mentioned, the U’s made a dreadful start to the season and lost seven of their opening ten games, and also found themselves in the bottom four in November.

However, an amazing turnaround, which included a club-record nine successive victories put the U’s in contention.

The occasional blip and loss still happened, but that has been the case with the majority of the teams in League One this season. As a result, their playoff rivals were unable to create a sizeable gap.

In total, Oxford sat in a playoff spot for just three days of the season. A win over Gillingham, after coming from two goals down with 18 minutes to play, moved them up to fifth, but the sides around them all picked up points the following Tuesday with their respective games in hand.

But while the U’s didn’t occupy a top-six spot, the fact they kept themselves in contention proves they were deserving of a place.

Only the Second-Ever Football League Playoffs for the U’s

Since the introduction of the Football League playoffs in 1987, Oxford’s first-ever involvement only came as recently as last season. The U’s have been involved in playoff matches before, losing once at the semi-final stage and winning at Wembley when the club played in the National League, but their experience in the Football League playoffs is relatively new.

However, their semi-final opponents have plenty of experience in these games. Blackpool have won promotion via the playoffs on five separate occasions.

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