Former Oxford United loanee Jack Payne scored the winner as Championship-bound Blackburn Rovers edged past their visitors 2-1 in front of a jubilant Ewood Park.
The attacking midfielder linked up with the U’s from Huddersfield Town in the summer, before being recalled by the Terriers in January to make the move to Lancashire.
The 23-year-old said before Saturday’s game that playing against his former team-mates would be ‘weird’, but he had no trouble lashing home a deflected left-foot shot for a 76th minute winner.
Already promoted Rovers had to win to have any chance of clinching the League One title from champions Wigan Athletic.
Oxford’s James Henry did his best to play the role of party pooper by netting an equaliser – but Will Grigg’s winner 15 minutes from time in their game ensured Wigan would be crowned champions.
That rendered the outcome of United’s trip to Blackburn as insignificant, although the near-30,000 crowd was treated to
an entertaining final game of the season, which culminated with a Blackburn promotion party after the final whistle.
It was a game of firsts as Darragh Lenihan’s first goal for the club put the hosts ahead before prolific defender Charlie Mulgrew – who ended the season with a mighty 14 goals – missed a penalty.
Henry has also impressed for the U’s, particularly in the second half of the season, and the 28-year-old hoovered up his 11th goal of the season with a cute flick on 66 minutes.
That goal was his third in his last three appearances and his eighth since January 20. Boss Karl Robinson recently said that Henry had ‘single handedly kept United up’ with his goals since Christmas.
Blackburn needed to respond if they were to have any chance of being champions.
With 14 minutes to go, it was sub Payne, the scorer of seven Oxford goals (and many more assists) this season, who got the party started again with his first for the club.
Only just on, the Huddersfield loanee ghosted to the right of the box, cleverly finding space, and fired the ball beyond Eastwood, a former Rovers goalkeeper, for the winner.
Robinson’s men finished 16th in League One on 56 points, 13 fewer than last season.