May 4, 1996: Oxford United 4, Peterborough United 0

OXFORD United recovered from a nervous first half to put four past Peterborough United and return to the second tier.

The U’s needed three points to guarantee promotion from Division Two on the final day of the campaign and turned on the style after Giuliano Grazioli’s own goal gave them the lead seven minutes after the break.

Further efforts from Paul Moody, Matt Elliott and David Rush added gloss to the scoreline as Denis Smith’s side secured their place in Division One for 1996/97 after two years away.

United had started the season poorly and failed to claim three points on the road until January 30, but a 2-1 victory at Carlisle United proved the turning point.

The U’s were ninth when they arrived in Cumbria, but 12 wins from their next 16 matches followed and they shot up the table.

LISTEN: When Oxford United fans filled Crewe's away end 90 minutes before kick-off

Their triumph at Crewe Alexandra and Blackpool’s defeat to Walsall the previous weekend had left them in the second automatic promotion place ahead of Posh’s visit to The Manor Ground.

Like the season itself, United took time to find their rhythm and Peterborough were the first to threaten, Marcus Ebdon going close.

The U’s began to create chances but could not take them – Joey Beauchamp missed three opportunities, while Stuart Massey, Moody and Rush all spurned openings.

Smith’s men did not win a corner until the 52nd minute, but it proved a pivotal set-piece.

Beauchamp tried to find Elliott at the near post and Peterborough’s defence did the rest, Ken Charlery inadvertently flicking the ball on and Grazioli heading into his own net.

United’s tails were up and after 66 minutes they claimed the crucial second goal, which well and truly opened the floodgates.

Rush’s cross was hooked back into the danger area by Massey and Moody was in the right place to head home at the far post.

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Two minutes later promotion was all-but secured, as Rush flicked on Phil Gilchrist’s cross and Elliott applied the finishing touch.

United had certainly rediscovered their swagger and it was only another four minutes before they added a fourth, as Rush turned from creator to scorer when he met Mike Ford’s through ball and chipped past Jon Sheffield.

With Blackpool winning, it was a good job the U’s held their nerve and they performed a lap of honour at the final whistle, Smith famously wearing a tartan cap and wig in celebration.

United: Whitehead, Robinson, Ford, Smith, Elliott, Gilchrist, Rush, Gray (Lewis), Moody, Beauchamp, Massey.