Oxford United vs Wycombe Wanderers – The M40 Derby? A grudge match? Or just another game?

Less than an hour away from each other, the two sides have battled it out 29 times since their first meeting back in December 1994, and since then, so much history has been created.

Wycombe’s greatest moment (Oxford United 1-2 Wycombe Wanderers: 2019/20)

The last time these two sides met doesn’t need many reminders, as that fixture gave Wanderers their greatest-ever moment in their 134-year-old history, as they defeated the Kassam Stadium side 2-1 at an empty and wet Wembley Stadium to achieve promotion to the Championship.

It was the first-time that the club had been promoted to the second tier, six seasons after the Chairboys avoided relegation from the Football League.

Bucks Free Press: Celebrations at Wembley for Wycombe (PA)Celebrations at Wembley for Wycombe (PA)

And with Wycombe starting off that campaign as relegation favourites following their indifferent 2018/19 season, the climax of the 2019/20 campaign saw what a good manager, positivity, and belief can do to a squad.

It was an incredible rise.

Oxford look back at that game as a ‘what could have been moment’ because during that incredibly tight match in North London, Karl Robinson’s men had chances to score, and at one point, looked like they were going to run away with the win.

Bucks Free Press: The moment that promotion was secured (PA)The moment that promotion was secured (PA)

The Oxfordshire-based side had over 70 per cent possession and had 13 shots on goal, but only five were on target.

Ryan Allsop produced several important saves and an indecisive James Henry, who decided to play in a cross to Matty Taylor rather than have a shot himself, with the latter being the better option when Oxford were on top during the second period, gave Wanderers the onus to secure the win and catch their opponents out on the break.

Bucks Free Press: Historic (PA)Historic (PA)

This ultimately led to Joe Jacobson’s winning penalty after Fred Onyedinma was fouled by goalkeeper Simon Eastwood in the penalty area, and despite only having five shots on goal in the entire final, the Welshman stepped up and wrote his name in Wycombe folklore.

Ainsworth was jubilant, Robinson was crestfallen and the rest is history.

However, this isn’t the first time that this fixture has produced a promotion-winning moment.

Appleton achieves promotion (Oxford United 3-0 Wycombe Wanderers: 2015/16 season)

On Saturday, May 6, 2006, Oxford United endured the lowest moment in their history as they were relegated out of the Football League.

The late Jim Smith, who had returned to the club to help them avoid the drop, couldn’t save the Yellows, as a heart-breaking 3-2 home defeat to Leyton Orient at the Kassam Stadium, which saw the visitors score an injury-time winner, saw Oxford go into the Non League for the first time since 1962.

Kemar Roofe celebrates Oxford's promotion after they defeated Wycombe at the Kassam Stadium

Fast forward to Saturday, May 7, 2016, 10 years-and-a-day since that loss against Leyton Orient, Oxford earned promotion to the League One on the final day of that season…with a win over Wycombe Wanderers.

Gareth Ainsworth’s men were helpless as goals from Chey Dunkley, Chris Maguire, and Callum O’Dowda gave Michael Appleton’s men third tier football whilst Wycombe sat in midtable.

The last league meeting (Oxford United 1-0 Wycombe Wanderers: 2019/20 season)

Due to the Covid pandemic beginning in March 2020, the Adams Park fixture between Wycombe and Oxford was called off, so the last time the two sides met in the league was back in December 2019 at the Kassam Stadium.

In a feisty match between the two, James Henry scored the winner in the first-half before Adebayo Akinfenwa was shown two yellows before the half-hour mark.

Head-to-Head: Oxford United vs Wycombe Wanderers

Matches: 29

Oxford United: 10 wins

Draws: Eight

Wycombe Wanderers: 11 wins

The last five meetings: All Competitions

2019/20 season: League One Play-Off Final: Oxford United 1-2 Wycombe Wanderers

2019/20 season: League One: Oxford United 1-0 Wycombe Wanderers

2018/19 season: League One: Oxford United 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers

2018/19 season: Football League Trophy: Wycombe Wanderers 0-3 Oxford United

2018/19 season: League One: Wycombe Wanderers 0-0 Oxford United

Form: Last five league matches

Wycombe are winless in five league matches against Oxford, and you need to go back to December 19, 2015, when Wanderers last beat the Yellows.

It was in a 2-1 win at Adams Park with Jason McCarthy and Garry Thompson getting the goals.

The last win at the Kassam was on November 1, 2014, when Wycombe came back from behind to beat Michael Appleton’s men 2-1, with Paul Hayes and Peter Murphy getting the goals.

Oxford’s Danny Hylton missed an injury-time penalty to rescue a point for United in front of the away fans.

Friday’s Fun Fact: Reunited

Jordan Obita returns to Oxford for the first-time since leaving Oxfordshire for Buckinghamshire in February this year.

Obita, who joined the Us in October last year following his release from Reading, left after 15 games, one goal, and four months at the Kassam Stadium.

In those 15 games, he started nine times and was subbed on six times.

My prediction: Oxford United 2-2 Wycombe Wanderers