STOPPAGE-TIME goals against York City book-ended Oxford United's fourth crack at trying to get out of the non-league wilderness.

Nine months before Alfie Potter sealed promotion, Mark Creighton struck a late winner at the Kassam Stadium to secure a 2-1 victory over the Minstermen, who had led until the 88th minute.

It kicked off a campaign where their flying start had parallels with United’s first back in the Conference.

Also read: Remembering Oxford United's Wembley win - ten years on

They finished October eight points clear after Altrincham became their 13th victim in 18 games.

“We’re in a fantastic position – and we should savour it and enjoy it,” boss Chris Wilder said.

“We’re on 43 points and we’re not even in November.”

They reached the turn of the year having tasted defeat just twice in the league, but Graham Westley’s Stevenage were in pursuit and utterly relentless – even though they lost six points when Chester City’s record was expunged.

United’s 4-0 win against the stricken club was also removed from the record, which had consequences for James Constable. The striker saw his hat-trick chalked off and four years later left just one goal shy of equalling the club’s goalscoring record.

On the pitch, history seemed to be repeating itself three years on, as United’s title challenge stalled.

Also read: Chris Wilder - Oxford United play-off win still means so much

One win in eight games included a 1-0 defeat at Stevenage, who were in the middle of an astonishing run of 14 wins from their last 15.

The U’s would have to go through the play-offs, where Rushden & Diamonds stood in their way.

James Constable opened the scoring in the first leg of the semi-final, but there the comparisons with 2006/07 ended.

Unlike Exeter City, United’s opponents three years earlier, Rushden did hit back to draw, but then had no answer in the return game at the Kassam Stadium, where Matt Green and Constable netted in front of a packed bank holiday crowd.

Many presumed Luton Town, who finished second, would await them in the final, but the Hatters were upset by York.

It meant United vastly outnumbered the Minstermen in the final at Wembley, where the vast travelling Yellow Army went on to celebrate victory.

“You all thought we’d chucked it away, didn’t you?,” Wilder joked to the U’s fans at the club’s open top bus parade through the city.

After the previous three seasons, no one could be blamed for thinking precisely that.