A DEFENSIVE mix-up wrecked Oxford United’s dreams of reaching the Championship as Wycombe Wanderers won the play-off final at Wembley.

Joe Jacobson fired home the winner from the penalty spot after Simon Eastwood had been put into trouble by Elliott Moore and fouled Fred Onyedinma.

United’s goalkeeper had made an error to allow Anthony Stewart to open the scoring from a ninth-minute corner.

Karl Robinson’s side went up a couple of gears after the break, although they levelled via a slice of fortune when Mark Sykes’s mis-hit cross looped in.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop made two excellent saves to deny Rob Dickie headers as United went in search of a second goal.

But the breakdown in communication at the back allowed the Chairboys a golden opportunity they grasped with both hands – and they will be in the second tier next season for the first time in their history.

Top scorer Matty Taylor had been a fitness concern but started the game in the only change from the semi-final second leg a week earlier.

They started as favourites, which suited Wycombe and just as they had in their semi-final against Fleetwood Town, the underdogs came flying out of the traps.

United will have known all about the Chairboys’ threat from set pieces, but they could do nothing about their first corner, in the ninth minute.

Joe Jacobson whipped a dangerous ball to the back post which Eastwood missed and Stewart headed in at the back post. So simple.

United’s No 1 knew it was an error and it might have still been playing on his mind eight minutes later when he needed two attempts to grab a swerving shot from range by Fred Onyedinma.

Within seconds Robinson’s men had their first good sight of goal, Sam Long whistling a shot wide after James Henry and Sykes had combined.

The U’s looked rattled, though, as seen midway through the half when Josh Ruffels’s clearance hit Cameron Brannagan and in lunging for the loose ball Alex Gorrin picked up a booking.

They saw plenty of the ball, but found it hard to make headway once they crossed the halfway line.

Wycombe’s defence was stretched just once in the half, ten minutes before the break.

Mark Sykes exchanged passes with James Henry to get into the box. His pass looked set to give a tap-in for Taylor, who had been otherwise isolated, but goalscorer Stewart got back to make a goal-saving block.

Liam Kelly replaced Gorrin at the break and the diminutive midfielder immediately increased the tempo.

Stewart was again in the right place to clear the danger after Sam Long’s early pass had put Sykes into the box.

Taylor was lurking, as he was five minutes later when Henry freed the Northern Irishman into a similar position.

Sykes was surely looking to pick out the striker, but from out wide his centre cleared Ryan Allsop and landed into the far corner of the net.

United had a golden chance to quickly land a second blow when a ricochet led Brannagan to pick out an unmarked Henry in the box. But instead of pulling the trigger he looked for Taylor, only for Stewart to get a toe on the ball.

The momentum was with them and Rob Dickie almost scored twice in 30 seconds.

Allsop’s save from the defender’s back post header was routine, but his one-handed stop low to his right from the resulting corner was outstanding.

It was looking promising, but United shot themselves in the foot.

Elliott Moore ducked a long kick from Allsop, but Onyedinma was alive to the danger and Eastwood clattered the forward in the box.

Jacobson coolly slotted down the middle from the spot to restore Wycombe’s lead with just 12 minutes left.

Allsop saved another header from Dickie as United pushed for an equaliser to send the game into extra time, but it was in vain as their stellar season ended in defeat at the final hurdle.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Eastwood, Long (Forde 79), Dickie, Moore, Ruffels, Gorrin (Kelly HT), Sykes, Brannagan, Henry (Agyei 79), Taylor, Browne (Woodburn 89).

Unused subs: Stevens, Mousinho, Atkinson, Hanson, Mackie.

Booked: Gorrin.

Wycombe Wanderers (4-3-3): Allsop, Grimmer, Stewart, Charles, Jacobson, Ofoborh (Thompson 62), Gape, Bloomfield (Pattison HT), Onyedinma (Freeman 90), Samuel (Akinfenwa 62), Wheeler.

Unused subs: Stockdale, Kashket, Phillips, Jombati, Parker.

Booked: Thompson.

Referee: Robert Jones (Cheshire).