Anthony Stewart had given the Wanderers a quick lead into the League One playoff final on Monday night, only for Mark Sykes to equalize after the Oxford break.
Joe Jacobson then intervened to score a 79-minute penalty to fire Gareth Ainsworth’s team on promotion, closing a remarkable campaign for a club with one of the lowest budgets in Ligue 1.
Oxford, meanwhile, will remain in the third level as their 21-year wait for a return to the second level continues.
Wycombe puts an end to 133 years of waiting for the football championship
Stopped kicks had been so important to Wycombe all season, Jacobson’s left foot delivery proving essential to their success, so it was not surprising to see them take the lead exactly that way after just nine minutes .
The left-back whipped a beauty up to the back stick, where Stewart stood up to nod – although there are nuances of purpose on the subject as it took a big touch from goalkeeper Simon Eastwood in path.
Oxford was the king of League One possession, and unsurprisingly dominated for the rest of the first half, but rarely caused problems for Wycombe’s defense.
The closest they came in 36 minutes when Sykes ran into the area and squared him across the six-yard area, but Stewart came back to shoot clearly, refusing Matty Taylor a commitment to an open goal .
Sykes would however surprisingly deliver the equalizer after 57 minutes. Whether he likes it or not is another matter, as he broke the right channel and then looped over the helpless Ryan Allsop. It looked like a cross, it might have been a shot, but in any case, the Wycombe goalkeeper was completely caught.
If Allsop had a disappointing moment at one end, then Eastwood had a nightmare at the other to allow Wycombe to take the lead. Full miscommunication between him and Elliott Moore in the back allowed Fred Onyedinma to stay behind, and the Oxford goalkeeper ran to the edge of his box and pulled it out – leaving the referee no. other choice than to point the point.
From there, Jacobson stepped in to send Eastwood the wrong way and send Wycombe to the championship.
Man of the Match – Anthony Stewart
Two vital moments in the first half. The first – be it a strike or an own goal – provided for when he rose to the head of the opener, the second a vital intervention near his own goal line to keep his side in front. If Oxford had been looking for a winner, Wycombe could have collapsed under pressure. Stewart was brilliant for his side.
What managers said …
Oxford’s Karl Robinson: To follow…
Wycombe’s Gareth Ainsworth: “It was simply incredible. We can’t afford the best football players but we have players with heart and determination and it was a performance by Wycombe. I am so, so proud of the boys. I still can’t believe we are a championship club.
“I think Accrington and maybe Rochdale were there with us as favorites to go down, but we were just there in terms of budget. We had nine players who showed up this first day of preseason and two of them were trialists. Rob and Peter Couhig came in and they just let me fill the slots I had.
“It’s for all the fans watching at home. I know they were there and we said before the match that we could feel them on this pitch. It’s a good team that Karl Robinson has and now we’ve beaten both Fleetwood and Oxford, so I think people could start to respect us a little more now.
“This victory means that this club is safe for at least a few years and I feel a lot of clubs because COVID-19 really hurt the clubs and I know it will be difficult for some clubs. But we weren’t going to look at this opportunity in the mouth, we were going to seize it. All my staff have everyone on site for the performances.
“Five years ago we lost on penalties, but I didn’t want lightning to strike twice. I don’t even watch Joe Jacobson’s penalty kicks normally, but I had to watch that one and I’m so glad he got in. “
Wycombe will start the 2020/21 campaign in the championship, while Oxford will remain in League One.