OXFORD United’s journey from bottom of the Sky Bet League One table to a play-off semi-final has been a roller coaster.

We picked out five matches that were key to their top-six finish.

November 28, 2020: Oxford United 1, Swindon Town 2

The last-minute defeat to their bitter rivals was undoubtedly the low point of United’s season, but it had quite an impact.

The U’s were 18th, one place above Swindon Town, and should have been far more than 1-0 up at the break.

In the second half, a side low on confidence dropped deeper and deeper and paid the price, conceding twice in the final ten minutes to lose out.

It saw Robinson replace Simon Eastwood – at fault for the winning goal – with Jack Stevens, who at that point had played just two league games.

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The academy product has stepped up and then some, keeping 13 clean sheets and making big saves against AFC Wimbledon, Charlton Athletic, Swindon, Shrewsbury Town and more to secure vital points.

The derby defeat signalled a huge upturn in form: the U's began December with 13 points from 13 games, but they claimed 61 from their next 33.

December 29, 2020: Plymouth Argyle 2, Oxford United 3

United had won their last two fixtures, were unbeaten in six and beginning to climb the table – and this match was a sign of things to come.

Plymouth Argyle, playing in front of 2,000 home fans, were on top in the opening half an hour and led through Panutche Camara, but Josh Ruffels equalised before the break.

With 16 minutes remaining, Sam Long set off with the ball inside his own half, played it out to Sean Clare and continued his run to prod home the cross.

The ‘Oxford Cafu’ nickname was born, as the right back showed a side to his game in the second part of the season we did not know he had.

The verdict: Oxford United made light work of awkward final-day fixture

Long and Ruffels’ attacking contributions have been key for United, with 13 goals and ten assists combined – the majority since Plymouth.

It was also the first time all season the U’s won after conceding first – the next came against Wigan Athletic on Valentine's Day.

January 26, 2021: Rochdale 3, Oxford United 4

United’s visit to Rochdale on a Tuesday night in January summed up a roller coaster season.

They twice led a ridiculously open encounter and almost conceded a spectacular stoppage-time winner, Aaron Morley sending Stevens scrambling with a shot from halfway.

The ball came back at Rochdale and Mide Shodipo lifted an effort over stranded goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu from 30 yards.

It was the first time this season United secured victory in the final ten minutes, but it was not the last – they also managed it against Wigan, Gillingham and Shrewsbury.

Without one of those strikes, they would have missed out on the top six.

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April 10, 2021: Crewe Alexandra 0, Oxford United 6

With seven matches left, the U’s were six points short of the play-offs and had fewer games remaining than most of the teams above them.

The trip to Crewe Alexandra was the first time the pressure was truly off, although it was not until Ruffels struck eight minutes before the break that they blew their hosts away.

Four goals in 15 minutes followed, with the 6-0 scoreline equalling their record Football League away win.

It was the first time we had seen United play with the freedom and ruthlessness that characterised their final seven matches.

April 17, 2021: Oxford United 3, Gillingham 2

Even if the U’s had ‘only’ drawn 2-2 against Gillingham, it would have been hailed as a brilliant fightback.

The U’s were second-best for most of the contest and went 2-0 down 18 minutes from time.

Sam Winnall immediately halved the deficit and in a flash the momentum changed.

Long took over, heading home Ruffels’ cross for the 84th-minute equaliser as the two full-backs contributed to yet another goal.

His stoppage-time winner was arguably the moment of the season so far – you can only imagine the scenes if fans had been in the ground.