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Oxford United 3-1 York City


Oxford celebrate
Oxford United's players celebrate winning promotion back to the Football League after the final whistle of their 3-1 win over York at Wembley

By Steve Marshall
BBC Sport at Wembley

Oxford United secured their place back in the Football League after a four-year absence with victory over York at rain-lashed Wembley.

Two goals in the space of five first-half minutes put the U's in charge, Matt Green firing them in front from 18 yards with a neat half-volley.

James Constable doubled their lead with a fierce left-foot drive.

U's keeper Ryan Clarke fumbled in Ben Purkiss's cross to give York a lifeline only for Alfie Potter to wrap it up.

Given that Oxford finished third in the Blue Square Premier, eight points clear of York, after topping the league for so much of the season, it was perhaps fitting that they went up.

It was certainly a much better experience of the play-offs for U's boss Chris Wilder, whose Halifax side lost to Hereford in the 2006 final.

Both sides had named the same line-ups that won through to the final at the expense of play-off semi-finalists Rushden and Luton.

With the prize of a place back in the Football League on offer for the winners it was no surprise that the early stages were keenly contested.

But it was Oxford who struck the first blow, taking the lead in the 15th minute with Green's stunning strike.

It owed much to the hard work of Constable, who beat York keeper Michael Ingham to a long ball over the top, lofting it back into the middle where Jack Midson nodded down to Green who dispatched a sweet left-foot half-volley into the top corner from the edge of the box.

York were close to an instant reply when David McGurk flashed a header wide from a Chris Carruthers corner, only for Oxford to go up the other end and double their lead when Constable powered his way through to beat Ingham with a fierce left-foot drive for his 26th goal of the season.

606: DEBATE
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Oxford were rampant now and twice went close to a third.

Green saw his drive pushed round the post by Ingham and from the resulting corner Midson saw his header come back off the woodwork.

The U's seemed in complete control but handed York a lifeline just before the break when Clarke, under no pressure, dropped Purkiss's hanging cross over his own line.

If that goal was supposed to unsettle Oxford then it did not show as Levi Mackin had to clear a close-range Midson header off the line moments after the break.

The U's continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession in the early stages of the second half, but it was York who carved out the better openings.

First, Michael Rankine dragged a left-foot shot agonisingly wide after holding off Jake Wright to latch on to Richard Brodie's chested lay-off.

Then Neil Barrett saw Clarke do well to hold his long-range left-foot shot low down before, at the other end, Ingham spectacularly palmed away Simon Clist's rising drive.

York kept pushing forward, pressing for an equaliser, with Barrett poking a shot over the bar at the end of a flowing move and substitute Courtney Pitt seeing his header scrambled away by Clarke.

Yet Oxford were a threat on the break and Constable should have wrapped it up rather than blaze over after substitute Potter's brilliant run.

But Potter did put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time with a calm finish to cap a swift counter attack and ensure Oxford will join Blue Square Premier champions Stevenage in League Two next season.


Oxford: Clarke, Batt, Creighton, Wright, Tonkin, Bulman, Chapman (Day 87), Clist, Green (Potter 68), Constable, Midson (Deering 79).
Subs not used: Turley, Sandwith.

Goals: Green 15, Constable 20, Potter 90.

York: Ingham, Purkiss, McGurk, Graham, Meredith, Lawless, Barrett (Sangare 81), Mackin, Carruthers (Pitt 73), Rankine (Gash 70), Brodie.
Subs not used: Mimms, Parslow.

Booked: Lawless

Goals: Clarke og 42.

Attendance: 42,669

Ref: Michael Naylor.



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see also
Carruthers ready to face Oxford
13 May 10 |  York
Oxford set for Wembley showdown
12 May 10 |  Oxford Utd
York eye Football League return
12 May 10 |  York
U's will focus on winning - Lewis
11 May 10 |  Oxford Utd
Constable eager for Wembley win
08 May 10 |  Oxford Utd
BBC Non-League Show
21 Jul 08 |  Non League
Blue Square Premier commentaries
06 Oct 08 |  Non League


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