CHRIS Wilder hailed Oxford United’s supporters for inspiring his side to come from behind and claim a much-needed win against AFC Wimbledon last night.
The 3-2 victory ended a six-game losing streak to ease the pressure on the U’s and their manager.
It looked an unlikely result in the first half, when the visitors cancelled out Jake Forster-Caskey’s opener to lead 2-1.
United were staring at a club- record seventh successive league defeat, but the vast majority of fans were vocal in their support.
Wilder felt their intervention in the aftermath of Wimbledon’s second goal was critical in the home side turning the game around.
When asked what his overriding emotion was, the under-fire U's boss said: “Just gratitude to the support that we received.
“Whatever happens with me, whether I walk away from this football club next week, in three months or in five years’ time, that will stick with me because I thought that was a bit special, towards myself and the players.
“We found ourselves 2-1 behind, but the support we had was absolutely phenomenal.
“From that ten minutes before half time, it gave us an opportunity to get in the game and kick on.”
Goals from Deane Smalley and Alfie Potter in the second half won an eventful game.
Wimbledon hit the woodwork three times and United needed a superb late save from goalkeeper Ryan Clarke, on as a substitute, to preserve the points.
Wilder admitted there was still plenty of room for improvement, but felt his side had earned a slice of good fortune for showing courage.
He said: “It could have been 5-4 or 6-5, it wasn’t exactly a defensive masterclass.
“We’re usually pretty organised, but we were all over the place because we wanted to be brave and win the game.
“Maybe we got the reward for making those decisions.”
Forster-Caskey summed up the mood among the players.
He said: “It's massive, it means so much to the fans.
“This is such a big club for League Two. We’re delighted for ourselves, but we’re also thrilled we can let the fans go home happy.