Bolton battering was U's turning point - Buckingham

Oxford United manager Des Buckingham lifts the League One play-off final trophy
Oxford United did not allow Bolton a single shot on target in the play-off final [Getty Images]

Oxford boss Des Buckingham says their Championship promotion was inspired by lessons learned from a thumping - by their play-off final opponents Bolton.

Just two months after being thrashed 5-0 at Bolton in the regular League One season, the U's completely snuffed out the Trotters in Saturday's Wembley showpiece.

Ian Evatt's Wanderers, who had finished third in the table, failed to register a shot on target as Oxford ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.

"You might not believe me but I never watched that 5-0 defeat back at Bolton - and I never want to see that game again," Buckingham told BBC Sport.

"That scoreline was a massive changing point for us in what we want to do."

Following that humbling defeat on 12 March, Oxford tightened up significantly to finish in fifth place and seal a spot in the play-offs.

Indeed, they have conceded just five goals across the 11 games since - as many as they did that Tuesday evening.

"We had to come into this final with a gameplan and, with that, I thought we stifled a very good team," added Oxford-born Buckingham.

"To take the club to the Championship and do it the way we did against a strong Bolton side, I’m delighted."

The U's scored twice in the first half through Josh Murphy to confirm their return to England's second tier for the first time in 25 years.

It was their second play-off final win at Wembley this century and boss Buckingham - a former youth team player and academy coach at his hometown club - was in the stands when they won promotion back to the Football League by beating York City in 2010.

"I can't put it into words," a visibly emotional Buckingham, 39, told BBC Sport when asked to describe his feelings.

"Days like today are so special because you get to share it with so many people.

"I was at Wembley as a fan in 2010 to watch us win promotion back to the Football League - to now experience what I just have as the manager of the football club is such a special moment."

With plans for a new stadium on the horizon and Championship football next season secured, Oxford's future looks brighter than it has done at any point this century.

"This is a club going places and today proves it," the club's chief executive officer Tim Williams told BBC Radio Oxford.

"Everyone talks about the sea of yellow at Borussia Dortmund, but today that was the Oxford fans, and it was utterly overwhelming."