Oxford United’s Sam Winnall who was one of several high-profile strikers to leave the club last summer alongside the likes of Steven Fletcher, Fernando Forestieri and Atdhe Nuhiu, was suffering a difficult season heading into the final couple of months, with a string of injuries having limited him to one league goal heading into April.
But his recovery helped to inspire an astonishing last season run of form for the Yellows, who won six of their final seven matches to claim the final League One playoff spot on goal difference.
Having come through the struggles of the first two-thirds of the campaign, Winnall starred in the latter stages, scoring three times in five matches and providing an important assist.
Though he has only started one match since February, his super-sub appearances have had a huge impact. He scored the final goal of Oxford’s regular season in a 4-0 win over Burton Albion on Sunday.
The season defining win came against Gillingham last month, when the introduction of Winnall from the bench saw them come from two goals down with 18 minutes to go to win the game 3-2, Winnall scoring the first.
The former Barnsley man also provided the vital 85th-minute assist in a 3-2 win over Shrewsbury in the penultimate game of the season.
Karl Robinson’s men will now face Blackpool in the playoff semis, with Sunderland and Lincoln the other qualified sides.