Reaction from Des Buckingham after Oxford United reach Wembley for play-off final

The U’s took a 1-0 lead from the first leg of their semi-final against Peterborough United, and battled hard to a 1-1 draw at London Road in the second leg, to book their place at Wembley.

Buckingham’s team will face Bolton Wanderers for a shot at promotion to the Championship a week on Saturday.

Speaking on the pitch after United’s semi-final victory against the Posh, Buckingham said: “It’s fantastic for the football club and everyone associated with it, to make Wembley and put ourselves within one game of making the Championship.

“I’m delighted, that’s all I can say. I’m so proud of the playing group and everyone associated with our club right now. It’s a very, very special moment.

“We knew they’d throw a lot at us, but I didn’t realise they’d throw the kitchen sink as well. We stood up and I thought the players showed a really good desire to defend what we had.

“We knew coming here was going to be tough. They’re a very good team and they’ve got some wonderful players, and they were the highest goalscorers in the league for a reason.

“We knew we’d have to weather a storm, but I don’t think there was a plan to weather it for quite as long as we did, but I’m delighted with the work rate and desire, and with how much that means to the playing group and us as a staff group, to do what we’ve just done.

“I think we’ve had a lot go against us since I walked into the club. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and certainly a lot go against us.

“Tonight we had one off the line and Jamie Cumming made a really important save, and they had a couple of moments, but we’ve had moments throughout the season go our way as well, so they balance out.”

He added: “We’ll enjoy it. It’s a special moment for everyone. We’ve spent so much time together.

“For me, the aim was promotion for this playing group. We’re one game away from that now.

“We’ll enjoy the moment because people have worked so hard to get here, but we will refocus.

“We’ll have everyone in on Friday to start getting ready for what will be a very exciting week leading into Wembley.”

Josh Knight levelled the tie four minutes before half-time when he arrived at the back post to find the net from a free kick, but the U’s responded quickly as Cameron Brannagan scored from the penalty spot in first half stoppage time.

Buckingham said: “I wouldn’t have anyone other than Cam Brannagan standing over that ball. I think after Exeter too when he scored, I had no doubt.”

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