May 9, 2021: Oxford United 4, Burton Albion 0

OXFORD United snatched a play-off place in style as they thrashed Burton Albion on the final day of the season.

Mide Shodipo, Matty Taylor, Elliot Lee and Sam Winnall scored in a 4-0 win that lifted the U’s to sixth, thanks to Portsmouth’s 1-0 home defeat to Accrington Stanley.

United were in the relegation zone in December and spent just three days of the season in the play-off places, but they timed their run to perfection.

READ MORE: Looking back at Oxford United's final-day win over Wycombe that sealed promotion

Karl Robinson’s side took 58 points from their final 30 games, better than any team in the division, to seal another top-six finish.

Ultimately, the U’s suffered play-off heartache for the second season in succession as Blackpool proved too strong in their semi-final.

But it was a memorable day for the club and their fans, who were forced to watch from afar due to coronavirus restrictions.

Video: YouTube/Sky Sports Football

Robinson sat in the stands as he served the first match of a four-game touchline ban for his role in the controversial defeat at Sunderland on Good Friday.

United ran out 6-0 winners the previous time the head coach was absent from the dugout against Crewe Alexandra four weeks earlier, and they produced another dominant performance.

We will never know if the absence of fans in the stands relaxed the U’s on the final day, but they were in control from the moment Shodipo headed home James Henry’s cross in the tenth minute.

Their play-off prospects improved when Adam Phillips put Accrington ahead midway through the first half at Fratton Park, with Portsmouth needing a win to guarantee a top-six place.

Taylor reacted quickest to head home Shodipo’s deflected effort after 28 minutes, although United needed Jack Stevens to save Terry Taylor’s shot from point-blank range just before the break.

Lee scored a fortuitous third early in the second half, sending a free-kick under the wall that hit goalkeeper Dillon Barnes, the post and then the stopper again before dribbling over the line.

READ MORE: Elliot Lee behind Oxford United's saxophone celebration

The U’s mimed playing on a saxophone in what became a popular celebration during their run to the play-offs.

Injuries to Sam Long and James Henry put a dampener on a successful afternoon, before Winnall fired a spectacular long-range volley past Barnes in stoppage-time.

United players and staff congregated on the pitch after the final whistle as they waited for full-time at Fratton Park, greeting their play-off spot with a roar.