U’s chairman proud of progress made after relegation battle last season

United needed a 3-0 win at Forest Green Rovers on April 29 last year, to ensure the club would maintain its Sky Bet League One status.

Fast-forwarding 12 months, and the U’s grabbed a top six spot after a memorable 2-1 victory at Exeter City.

READ ALSO: Josh Murphy credits U’s ‘brotherhood’ for seeing Grecians win out

Ferguson said: “It’s a year since we stood at Forest Green. It’s football, isn’t it? You could not have written the script.

“It’s so different to where we were. It was elation last year that I’d never felt before, but it was for avoiding relegation, and here we are celebrating making the play-offs, and with a good chance of going further than that.

“We were looking for an improved season, and we’ve done what we expected, if not more.”

He added: “I always had confidence we were going to win, but we had no idea what was going to happen around the country. The way things have fallen into place is very pleasing.

“It’s been a choppy six months that we’ve been through. Des [Buckingham, head coach] to be fair has always been very clear on the way he wanted to play and what his goals for the season were.

“The players are responding to him, and you can see it on the field over the last four or five games.

“We’ve got a game plan, and a style of play has been emerging, that the players are comfortable with, and everyone is pulling in the same direction.”

The Grecians made it tough for United in the second half, and were much improved after a couple of changes at the half-time break.

The home side forced the U’s back, with United looking to pick off Exeter on the counter-attack.

Ferguson said: “It felt very uncomfortable. I’d rather have seen us with more people in midfield and winning more balls in midfield, and forcing them to try and play over us, but the closer it got to the end, the more confident I was that we would see it out.

“Our game management in the last 10 to 15 minutes was very good.”

Beginning the day in seventh, the U’s needed a result above them to go their way in order to jump into the top six, and in fact, two scores did, as Barnsley drew with Northampton Town, and Lincoln City lost at home to Portsmouth, managed by former United captain John Mousinho.

Ferguson said: “Ed Waldron [head of recruitment] was sat in front of me with the Portsmouth game playing on his phone, so I couldn’t avoid what was going on elsewhere.

“When the fans were cheering, I obviously had a quick look to see what they were cheering about.

“Mous was a great servant of the club, and he’s still a good friend of the club, so I think he did one for us.”

Looking ahead to a play-off semi-final against Peterborough United, Ferguson said: “We had a hard time away against them, and then probably our best result of the season at home.

“They’re a very good team, but I think we’ve shown in the last month or so that we’re back to being the team that we knew we always could be, so I think we’ve got two excellent games on hand.”

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