OXFORD United snatched a play-off place on the final day of the season as they breezed past Burton Albion to leapfrog Portsmouth into sixth place.

The U’s triumphed 4-0 at the Kassam Stadium and it proved enough, thanks to Accrington Stanley’s 1-0 win at Fratton Park.

For United to stay in the hunt this long was an achievement in itself, having been in the relegation zone as recently as December 11.

Their fate was out of their hands at kick-off, but from the moment Mide Shodipo headed home the opener after ten minutes it was as calm a final day as you can imagine.

The winger was involved again as Matty Taylor helped his deflected shot into the net before the half-hour mark to put United in control.

Elliot Lee’s free-kick made it three 13 minutes into the second half, before Sam Winnall thumped home an excellent volley from long range in stoppage-time.

United players and staff waited on the pitch as the action continued at Fratton Park, but Accrington held on to ensure the U’s extraordinary Sky Bet League One season continues for at least two more games.

They will host Blackpool in the semi-final first leg at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday, May 18, before visiting Bloomfield Road three days later.

Karl Robinson was forced to watch from the stands as he served the first game of a four-match touchline ban for his role in the fiery Good Friday defeat at Sunderland.

The U’s head coach made just one change to his line-up, with Brandon Barker only fit enough for the bench and Shodipo coming in on the left wing.

Elliott Moore passed a late fitness test after suffering back spasms all week, while James Henry started despite his wife giving birth late last night.

United knew an early goal would settle their nerves, while raising heart rates at Fratton Park – and it took just ten minutes to arrive.

Burton had started brightest but looked vulnerable on the counter-attack, giving Lee the space to race over the halfway line and find Mark Sykes.

The midfielder advanced to the edge of the box before feeding Henry to his right and his fierce cross was headed home by Shodipo from close range.

The QPR loanee was tenacious out of possession and caused right back Tom Hamer plenty of problems, flashing a cross into the six-yard box that Taylor could not quite divert goalwards five minutes later.

United were in the mood and Henry and Rob Atkinson sent half-volleys off-target, while Sykes and Lee were finding pockets of space and using the ball intelligently.

Their afternoon got better when Adam Phillips put Accrington ahead at Pompey midway through the half, but they soon had another goal of their own.

Burton were just getting back into the game when the U’s came forward again, with Shodipo again involved after taking the ball from Lee 18 yards out.

His effort was deflected and looped towards goal, with Taylor reacting quickest to head past Dillon Barnes from six yards.

Lee almost scored six minutes later when he poked wide from Taylor’s cut-back, but Burton did not give up and threatened through Hamer’s long throws.

Their best chance came when Lucas Akins’ cross dropped at the feet of Terry Taylor six yards out seven minutes before the break, but Jack Stevens was out quickly to block the shot.

The visitors continued to force plenty of set-pieces after the restart, only for United to score the crucial third goal to kill the game.

It came in unconventional fashion, after Terry Taylor was booked for diving in on Lee 25 yards out.

The Luton Town loanee sent his free-kick under the wall and Barnes could only shovel the shot on to the post, with the ball bouncing off the woodwork, then the goalkeeper and dribbling over the line.

With the points secure all eyes were on Fratton Park, but the U’s received a setback of their own midway through the half.

Sam Long went down holding his hamstring and looked distraught as he received treatment, leaving the pitch with his shirt over his face.

Jamie Hanson replaced him at right back, while Dan Agyei came on for the excellent Shodipo in a straight swap on the left.

Danny Rowe’s cross flicked off the top of the bar moments later, but of more concern was another injury, this time to Henry.

His teammates signalled for a substitution and the midfielder was replaced by Anthony Forde, while Winnall came on for Taylor.

Burton lost their discipline and the tackles started to fly in, with Ciaran Gilligan booked for an especially fierce challenge on Cameron Brannagan.

Alex Gorrin replaced Lee with five minutes left, before Josh Ruffels flashed an effort into the Jim Smith Stand from inside the box.

Winnall put the cherry on the cake when he beat Barnes with a sumptuous volley from 25 yards in stoppage-time, as United sealed an emphatic victory.

Accrington held up their side of the bargain, giving the U’s a second successive shot at the play-offs.

Oxford United (4-3-3): Stevens, Long (Hanson 66), Moore, Atkinson, Ruffels, Henry (Forde 72), Brannagan, Sykes, Lee (Gorrin 85), Taylor (Winnall 72), Shodipo (Agyei 66).

Unused subs: Eastwood, Barker.

Booked: None.

Burton Albion (4-2-3-1): Barnes, Hamer, Carter, Brayford, Earl, Mancienne, Taylor (Gilligan 64), Rowe, Powell (Broom 59), Akins (Parker 75), Fondop (Hemmings 59).

Unused subs: O’Hara, O’Toole, Gallacher.

Booked: Mancienne, Taylor, Gilligan, Carter.

Referee: Thomas Bramall (Sheffield).