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Oxford United are going to Wembley
Oxford Utd 2 (M Green 53, Constable 57), Rushden & Diamonds 0
(Oxford win 3-1 on agg)
And they are now halfway to their cherished dream, of promotion back to the Football League.
Two goals in four minutes early in the seconmd half by strikers Matt Green and James Constable saw Chris Wilder's team through to the Blue Square Premier final at the national stadium, where they will face York City on May 16.
Hundreds of jubilant fans ran on to the pitch to celebrate at the final whistle in scenes never before witnessed at this stadium. At the Manor Ground yes, but never before here, at Oxford United's new home.
After a cagey first half, United got the breakthrough eight minutes after the interval, thanks to Green's pace, and neat finish.
Simon Clist threaded a pass for him to run onto, and he darted round keeper Dale Roberts and then knocked the ball over the line from an angle seven yards out.
United fans raised the roof with that goal, and Rushden's players hadn't really recovered when they were hit by a second blow moments later.
This time Jack Midson kncked the ball on for Constable, who got his had down and ran directly at goal. Drawing the keeper, he then finished coolly, slotting a low right-footed shot past him and into the goal.
That helped banish the memories of three years ago. Oxford didn't manage a second goal on that occasion in the home second leg against Exeter, and they were now in total control.
Manager Wilder kept them on the front foot by bringing on dangerous attacker Alfie Potter, and though Rushden had a go at retrieving the tie, they were relkatively comfortable contained.
Jefferson Louis had one opportunity to pull a goal back, but failed to connect clearly eight yards out, and Constable, back defending, stopped the effort inside the six-yard box.
Wilder had no hesitation in naming the same team and same subs from the side that earned the 1-1 draw at Nene Park on Thursday.
Jefferson Louis lined up in Diamonds' starting line-up, at the expense of another former United forwards, CXraig Farrell. Left back Kurt Robinson was dropped, with Shane Huke coming in, and Curtis Osano switching flank.
A strong northerly wind made it feel very un-Maylike but the unseasonal temperature did not cool the enthusiasm of the thousands of Oxford fans, many of whom had arrived at the stadium hours before kick-off.
Those in the Oxford Mail Stand held up yellow, blue and white cards to create a sea of colour as the players emerged from the tunnel.
When the match began, Oxford started brightly, and it needed a good block to stop Constable's shot after Mark Creighton headed back Anthony Tonkin's long throw.
Rushden strikers were caught offside three times in quick succession as Creighton and Jake Wright kept a tight line.
At the other end, Constable nodded on for Matt Green to set off on a run to goal on the right. He got ahead of his marker and chose to shoot early, but hit it some way wide.
Another half-chance came when, following a free-kick on the left played short, Adam Chapman's flatly hit cross was met by a glancing header from Jack Midson.
The ball flashed across the six-yard box, wit Creighton, beyond the far post, unable to reach it.
Encouragingly, Simon Clist and Dannie Bulman were winning a lot of possession in the middle of the park, but it still remained very tight.
Midson forced a corner by getting to the bye-line past Huke, but that came to nothing.
When the visitors then won a corner, Paul Terry was left un marked five yards behind the far post, but he couldn't direct his header on target.
Although he was wayward with one cross, Tonkin was doing a lot of good things on the left for United, but it was often crying out for someone to bring the ball down when there was so much head tennis.
That, though, was easier said than done in the swirling wind, which was not helping either side to pass the ball around.
Six minutes before the break, Rushden keeper Dale Roberts was forced into his first real save.
After good work from Damian Batt, Bulman hit a searing 20-yard drive that Roberts could only push up, and Constable, lurking nearby, would have been ruled offside had he tucked in the follow-up.
A minutes later, Green met Chapman's free-kick from the right with a firm header over the bar.
A moment of stupidity from Diamonds' most skilful player, Lee Tomkin, must have left his manager, Justin Edinburgh, pulling his hair out.
Tomlin went around Ryan Clarke, even though the whistle had clearly gone, and then needlessly slotted the ball into an empty net from wide on the left.
The referee showed him a yellow card for ignoring the whistle, and as it was his second booking of the play-offs, he would be out of the final if Rushden made it to Wembley.
The start of the second half was marked by a series of misplaced passes, by players from both teams, before Louis's snap-shot from 22 yards, brought a fine save low to his left by Clarke.
Constable was brought down on the very edge of the area. Chapman hit his free-kick superbly, but it hit Green just in front of the goalkeeper and ricocheted wide for a goal kick.
But the two goals in four minutes changed the game, and the atmosphere. And in truth there only ever looked like being one winner after that Midson was booked, for an albow, having been spoken to a few minutes earlier, harshly, for what the ref deemed a high tackle when his foot was barely two feet off the ground.
When Midson went off, just before the finish, he went off to a big ovation. Not everything had gone for him, but he had won a lot in the air, had given United a physical presence up front and, like every one of his teammates, had put everything into his performance.
"Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be, We're going to Wembley" rang out from the ground.
And it will be ringing out around Oxford for the next 12 days.
Oxford Utd: Clarke; Batt, Creighton, Wright, Tonkin; Bulman, Chapman, Clist; M Green (Potter 66), Constable, Midson (Deering 87). Subs not used: Turley, Sandwith, Day.
Att: 11,963 (1109 from Rushden)