Sub Billy Bodin scored a priceless late goal as Oxford United beat MK Dons at the Kassam Stadium this evening.
Bodin's goal with five minutes to go decided an intense game which saw the visitors have the better of the first half and United turn that around after the break. Bodin's dramatic late decider kept United's play-off dreams alive while pushing the Dons back out of the automatic places.
The first half saw two good sides zipping the ball around on the lush Kassam Stadium pitch, but the visitors closing United down, dominating possession and having the first couple of shots at goal, Jack Stevens dealing comfortably with long-range efforts from Dean Lewington and Troy Parrott.
United were solid in defence but glad that Ciaron Brown was alert enough to get back and clear off the line when Parrott clipped the ball beyond the advancing Stevens on 24 minutes: the second such clearance from the on-loan Cardiff man after a similar piece of defending secured a win at Fleetwood in the previous game.
MK had enjoyed the better of the first 45 minutes, but the U's were stubborn without looking dangerous, so half-time was a welcome chance to regroup and for boss Karl Robinson to demand more urgency under the circumstances.
They found it.
Matty Taylor tested keeper Jamie Cumming for the first time inside two minutes of the restart, and the real Oxford United started to emerge. That wasn't without risk, but so what?
Holland saw a trademark effort from the left corner of the box deflect wide for a corner, Luke McNally was inches away from converting that at the back post, and the first-half roles had been reversed, with the visitors now having to stand firm.
McNally nodded another chance over; Bodin, Ryan Williams and the returning Marcus Browne were all thrown on to try and win it, and with time ticking away, United's bravery paid off when Bodin found space in a crowded penalty area to thrash the ball past Cumming and put United just two points behind the play-off places with two games to go. Eighty goals for the season from the league's top scorers and none more needed.
Strap yourselves in, this is going to get tense.
Start spreading the news; see you at the New York Stadium...
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Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Daniels and Steve Edmunds, stats by OPTA