History was made for Wycombe Wanderers as the Chairboys secured their place in the second tier of English football for the first time in their 133-year history.
A true legend of the game was celebrated ahead of kick-off, with both sides joining in a minute’s applause for footballing great, Jack Charlton.
The contrast in styles and approach that got each team to Wembley was evident from the off, as Oxford looked more than comfortable in possession, enjoying the Wembley turf. Wycombe however, were not afraid to get the ball up top as quickly as possible.
Sticking true to their way - the Wycombe way - the deadlock was broken through another Joe Jacobson set-piece. The defender once again proving a nightmare for defences, as his in-swinging corner found Anthony Stewart at the far post, who rose high to head home. Advantage Wycombe and one step towards the Sky Bet Championship.
It quickly turned into a frantic first half of football at Wembley Stadium, as Fred Onyedinma forced Simon Eastwood into a save low to his right, before Sam Long fired just wide following an Oxford break.
Anthony Stewart soon became the man of the half, after finding the net in the opening 10 minutes. The Wycombe defender was called into action at the other end of the field as he put in a superb last-minute sliding interception to stop James Henry’s ball across goal reaching Matt Taylor, in what would have been a certain goal.
Despite dominating possession, a frustrated Oxford United went in behind at half-time, with Wycombe one step closer to Championship football for the first time in their history.
Karl Robinson’s side were out early for the second half and certainly looked to start the half quickly, with two corners in quick succession.
Wycombe dealt with the danger on both occasions though, before Jacobson almost struck again from a free-kick. With 11 goals to his name this season, the left back only had eyes for goal, but his attempt just missed the crossbar.
Minutes later, Oxford had their goal; a deserved equaliser for Robinson’s side and what a strike it was, too. Mark Sykes was set free down the right wing and no one saw him going for goal as his cross-shot looped over Ryan Allsop, into the back of the net. Game on.
Two outstanding saves from Allsop denied Oxford their second just minutes later. Twice in quick succession the Wycombe stopper got down low to his right quickly to deny the U’s. Oxford knocking at the door, and with intent. Could Wycombe weather the storm?
Fortunately the second drinks break of the evening gave Gareth Ainsworth’s side time to catch their breath, as well as introduce Adebayo Akinfenwa.
Tension was building and, against the run of play, Wycombe were awarded a penalty. A huge moment in the game as Onyedinma was brought down heavily by Eastwood. No sign of any nerves, Jacobson stepped up and thumped his penalty right down the middle: incredible composure.
The final few minutes of football were tension-filled and frantic to say the least, and five minutes of added time felt like a lifetime for anyone inside Wembley Stadium wearing blue. But after a succession of balls into the Wycombe box and a succession of clearances, the referee blew his whistle and Wycombe Wanderers secured their promotion, to scenes of fantastic celebration.
A fairytale ending for the Chairboys.
Oxford United: Simon Eastwood, Josh Ruffels, Rob Dickie (C), Elliott Moore, Alex Gorrin (Liam Kelly 45'), Cameron Brannagan, Matt Taylor, Sam Long, James Henry, Mark Sykes, Marcus Browne.
Subs not used: Ben Woodburn, Anthony Forde, John Mousinho, Jamie Mackie, James Hanson, Dan Agyei, Rob Atkinson, Jack Stevens.
Scorers: Sykes 57'
Wycombe Wanderers: Ryan Allsop, Joe Jacobson, Dominic Gape, Anthony Stewart, David Wheeler, Matt Bloomfield (C) (Alex Pattison 45'), Jack Grimmer, Fred Onyedinma, Alex Samuel (Adebayo Akinfenwa 62'), Darius Charles, Nnamdi Ofoborh (Curtis Thompson 62').
Subs not used: David Stockdale, Scott Kashket, Giles Phillips, Sido Jombati, Nick Freeman, Josh Parker.
Scorers: Stewart 9', Jacobson 78'