Oxford United boss Des Buckingham described his team’s 5-0 win over play-off rivals Peterborough as “without doubt the most enjoyable experience of my time here”.

Ruben Rodrigues scored twice with the other goals from a Mark Harris penalty, Josh Murphy and substitute Billy Bodin.

It took Oxford’s tally to 13 goals without reply in their last three games and puts them five points clear of Lincoln, who visit the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night.

Murphy was the star of the show, destroying Posh in the first half, while Owen Dale and Greg Leigh also hit the post.

Buckingham, who spent many years as a youth team coach at Oxford before returning from India to manage them, said: “It’s without doubt the most enjoyable experience of my time here.

“It was very exciting. And the way the players bounced off the fans, and the fans bounced off the players, was fantastic.

“That’s certainly the best football we’ve played since I’ve been here.

“There is a real clear understanding about the way we want to play and there is a real clear understanding about what we want to do.

“The players were excellent right across the pitch considering that we lost Cameron Brannagan and Elliott Moore to fitness decisions late on Friday.

“Today the players carried out exactly what we wanted them to do almost exactly to the letter.

“It’s been a really good couple of weeks. But we’re not naive enough to think we’re in the play-offs already.

“We need to recover well and prepare well enough to put on a performance like that against Lincoln on Tuesday.”

Peterborough’s defeat is a massive blow to their hopes of claiming one of the automatic promotion places.

Posh boss Darren Ferguson said: “I must admit I didn’t see that coming.

“We were absolutely outclassed in every single department.

“We started strongly and confidently, then gifted them two goals.

“I was hoping then that if we could get to half-time and it’s only two, we could do things to change it. But then they got a third.

“Sometimes, though, you have to give credit to the opposition, they were outstanding. Quite honestly, it could have been 10. We got away with it being only 5-0.

“We didn’t have the quality in any department. All the quality on the pitch came from Oxford.

“The manner of the defeat was very, very disappointing. No excuses from us but I cannot accept that.

“The players have got to react quickly and now make sure we get in the play-offs because we’re not they’re yet. And I’ve got some difficult decisions to make now for the next game.”

Oxford boss Des Buckingham rued missed chances as his side’s promotion hopes took a blow with a 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury.

Buckingham’s side dropped out of the top six in League One after letting a lead slip.

The visitors went ahead eight minutes into the second half through Billy Bodin, but Shrewsbury substitute Jack Price earned his relegation-battling side a valuable point.

“I think we have created enough chances to win a couple of games there,” Buckingham said.

“Not just chances but big moments – I think it was three or four key moments in the game.

“It is making sure, especially when the game is at 1-0, that you put the game to bed otherwise that can happen.

“If we want to be where we are at the end of the season, those moments need to turn into goals, which then obviously turn into three points and make the game a lot easier.

“We shouldn’t have the game in the state of 1-0 that allows them to come away with a point when we should be two or three clear.

“We want to make sure it points rather than goal difference. It is in our own hands how we finish our season.

“If we do what we want, we won’t need to worry about goal difference.”

Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst believes his side were deserving of a point, which left them six points clear of the relegation zone.

“For large parts, I thought we were more than in the game and competed well,” Hurst said.

“First half, I thought we perhaps shaved it and had the best chance with Aiden (O’Brien) and Marko (Marosi) made one good save earlier on.

“Second half we actually started better and on the front foot and then gave away a disappointing goal on our part.

“It is movement we highlighted. They got in behind us.

“Then you could see their confidence grow a little but credit to the players, we hung on in there.

“Eventually, they got their rewards, which their efforts deserved with an unusual goalscorer, shall we say, but he has got that quality in him in Jack Price.

“It’s a nice moment for him as he has played higher and in a different county and at different levels.”

Des Buckingham was hungry for more goals despite efforts from Ciaron Brown and Josh Murphy earning Oxford a 2-0 win at Port Vale that moved them into the play-offs.

Brown’s 16th-minute strike lashed the U’s into the lead, before Murphy’s cross-shot nestled in the far corner to settle the scoring four minutes into the second half.

Billy Bodin had an early effort swept off the line and the visitors had two penalty shouts waved away, as they dominated proceedings throughout.

Oxford had chances late on to add gloss to the scoreline – Will Goodwin and Murphy fluffing their lines with the goal gaping. Baylee Dipepa came closest to a late consolation for Vale, firing into a crowd of bodies.

Speaking to BBC Radio Oxford, visiting boss Buckingham said: “Another three points to back up Saturday. We asked for a reaction but not an overreaction.

“We controlled the game for most of the game and it was an excellent performance and a fully deserved three points.

“If we’re being critical, we should score more. We’ve done enough to come away with the win. That’s the important thing.

“We changed the formation. We wanted to get at these and attack them. We needed to react from Tuesday’s defeat to Bolton. Game by game we’re seeing how important every game will be. We spoke about going on our own run of form. Six points out of the last nine is done now. All the players shone today.

“It’s important we got another three points and back in the play-off spots. We now have a 12-day international break to get ready for another couple of games and see how many points we can get from that.”

Speaking to BBC Radio Stoke, Port Vale boss Darren Moore said: “Two set-plays, two goals to concede which were very disappointing. That’s the most frustrating aspect of it. I thought we started the game really well.

“We had Oxford on the back foot but after quarter of an hour, the first goal seemed to rock us a bit. That gave them confidence and the ability to start stringing passes together. I needed to make a double substitution and that seemed to stem the tide a bit.

“The second goal gave us a mountain to climb. We huffed and puffed after that. We had a couple of half-chances but nothing fell to us in the box.

“You don’t want to lose games. I want to be open. I’m disappointed, the boys are disappointed. But I have to say to them, while the maths are still there, we have to keep going. We need to get ourselves up, dust ourselves down and be prepared for a real tough game at Burton next week.”

Des Buckingham enjoyed a first win as Oxford manager as the League One side reached the third round by beating League Two opponents Grimsby 2-0.

The Mariners were unable to repeat last season’s cup exploits when they became the first club in the competition’s history to knock out five teams from higher divisions on their way to the quarter-finals.

Marcus McGuane fired Oxford ahead in the 11th minute and Billy Bodin got the second 15 minutes from time.

Grimsby were the architects of their own downfall as Oxford’s opener came from their own corner. Josh Murphy raced 60 yards and although Harvey Cartwright parried his drive, McGuane followed up to score.

Otis Khan had two half-chances for Grimsby in the first half and with 20 minutes to go Donovan Wilson was denied by James Beadle’s low save.

Cartwright was much the busier, saving from Stan Mills, twice, and Ruben Rodrigues. The visiting keeper also saved superbly from Bodin and Tyler Goodrham’s drive.

But he could do nothing to stop Bodin nodding in Cameron Brannagan’s chipped cross in the 75th minute to seal Oxford’s progress.

Craig Short experienced a wave of emotion as he witnessed his Oxford side record a 3-2 away win at Leyton Orient.

Appointed on an interim basis after boss Liam Manning resigned earlier in the week before joining Bristol City, he saw the U’s take a three-goal lead with a double from Ruben Rodrigues and a goal by Billy Bodin before a Fin Stevens own goal and a strike by leading scorer Ruel Sotiriou gave Orient a lifeline.

“It was a fantastic game for the neutral but awful emotionally for us in the dugout,” Short admitted. “You always feel like that but for them to score so soon after we got the third goal put them on the front foot.

“I said to the lads after the game if you’re playing against a football-playing side it can be more predictable but because they were so for direct and overloaded the box it created problems and that’s the way it happens sometime.

“But we managed it fairly well and the subs made a difference for us.

“Just because we started well the first then minutes you can’t expect to come away from home and win the game. They came back and we weathered the storm in the first half and then got the two goals and the third in the second half which we needed.

“It wasn’t pretty but Orient have had one defeat in nine so it’s a scalp for us away from home.”

Asked about his prospects of keeping the job on a permanent basis, he responded: “Personally I’m just getting on with it. I’ve enjoyed the responsibility and am lucky to have great people around me who care about the club.”

O’s boss Richie Wellens said: “For the first 50 minutes it was very reminiscent of the Portsmouth league game where we played well in parts but conceded just before half-time.

“We just didn’t affect the game and looked like we were a team feeling sorry for ourselves. I am proud we responded when we were 3-0 down. We got a response straight away but I am disappointed we didn’t stick to the game plan so it was frustrating.

“We thought they had certain weaknesses where we could play forward and dominate them physically and when we had patches where we stuck to that it caused problems.

“We found ourselves 2-0 down but it was only because of our own mistakes and they could have had a couple more but I never felt like they would cause us problems or cut us open on the counter-attack.

“We showed a little bit of lack of experience but I was proud of the players and we have still got a lot of improvement in us.”

Oxford secured their sixth away win in Sky Bet League One as a 3-2 triumph at Leyton Orient gave interim manager Craig Short the perfect start.

A brace from Ruben Rodrigues and one from Billy Bodin proved decisive, with the hosts replying with a Fin Stevens own goal and a strike from Ruel Sotiriou.

A howler by Sol Brynn presented the visitors – who saw boss Liam Manning take over at Bristol City this week – with the opening goal. The goalkeeper’s intended clearance was directed straight to Rodrigues, who drove the ball into an empty net.

Then in the second minute of first-half stoppage time, Rodrigues struck a post but the ball fell to Bodin, who headed the ball into the net from 15 yards out with Brynn stranded.

Within two minutes of the start of the second half, Oxford extended their advantage when Orient failed to clear a corner and Rodrigues scored from close range in the 47th minute before the home side began their revival a minute later.

A teasing Tom James cross was turned into his own net by Stevens and then, in the 64th minute, Sotiriou volleyed home a header by Aaron Drinan before Dan Happe was denied an equaliser when his header struck a post.

Despite coming under sustained pressure, the U’s held out to maintain their automatic promotion quest.

Oxford United beat Bristol Rovers 2-1 in a fiery Sky Bet League One match that saw three red cards.

Billy Bodin finished superbly in the 13th minute to put United ahead.

Controlling Ruben Rodrigues’ chip with his chest to beat his marker, Bodin hammered the ball past Matthew Cox for his second goal of the season.

Rovers were reduced to 10 men in the 63rd minute when Jevani Brown collected a second yellow card for tripping Josh Murphy.

Oxford effectively sealed the points nine minutes from time with defender Sam Long nodding in at close range following Cameron Brannagan’s corner.

Aaron Collins pulled one back for The Gas on 89 minutes, rifling an angled shot high into the net.

Oxford then had two of their substitutes sent off in stoppage time.

Oisin Smyth was given his marching orders for two yellow cards, and moments later Stan Mills was shown a straight red card for violent conduct after a clash with Sam Finley.

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