Yemi Odubade hit a glorious winner seven minutes from time to help Oxford United beat their bogey side Rushden at the Kassam Stadium.

It was a fitting way for Darren Patterson's revitalised side to finish their season at home, and a measure of how far they have come since that dismal 5-0 defeat at Nene Park more than five months ago.

Odubade had been a threat all night, and when he latched onto a flick-on by Matt Green, he turned one Rushden defender and then smashed an unstoppable shot past keeper Mikkel Andersen from 15 yards.

Victory was no more than the U's deserved. It wasn't a classic game, but they had been the better side, had created plenty of chances, and twice struck the woodwork.

Green almost added a second late on with a fierce drive, narrowly over the bar, but Diamonds midfielder Jon Challinor then screwed a shot wide from a good position at the other end.

It was a scrappy start to the game, with a lot of misplaced passes, and both teams sometimes resorting to fairly agricultural long boots upfield.

Andy Burgess was booed by the home fans every time he touched the ball for his pre-match comments that Rushden's players were better than Oxford's, despite being several points below them in the table.

Craig McAllister, picked oout with a fine pass, had the first scoring opportunity as he manged to get in a low shot from the right of the box. It was possibly going wide, but keeper Andersen got down to save.

Odubade's speed and positive running was proving electric,. He did well to get around the back of left back Dean Howell and drive a superb cross across the face of the goal from the right bye-line. Arriving like a steam train at the far post was Phil Trainer, but he couldn't keep his shot down.

Rushden were winning plenty of the midfield tussles, with ex-United man Michael Corcoran having a fine game, and Challinor forced Billy Turley into a low save when he tried his luck from the edge of the area.

But every time the ball went forward to Odubade, there was a roar of expectancy from the home fans.

One such occasion came on 18 minutes when Odubade did superbly to take on, and beat, two defenders on the left, but his cross was just behind McAllister, who couldn't turn it in.

Probably the clearest opportunity of the first half came from an Adam Murray left-wing corner that was zipped in to the near post. Barry Quinn needed only to make contact, it appeared, to knock it into the goal, but he missed his kick.

Murray had been a touch off the pace in the opening stages of the game, often second to the ball, unusually for him, but he soon rectified that, and then showed his class with a chipped shot that came back off the bar with the keeper nowhere.

Foster, whose reading of the game had been excellent, as always, made a great block just before half-time to stop one goalbound shot.

At the start of the second half, Yemi again posed the greatest threat.

He raced onto Eddie Anaclet's long pass, cut back inside and was unlucky as his shot was blocked, just, for a corner. And moments later, from a low Anaclet centre, he got in front of his man at the near post, but couldn't get his shot on target.

By then, Matt Green had replaced McAllister, and not long after Danny Rose came on for Trainer.

When Murray conceded a free-kick just outside the box, United must have put seven in their wall, knowing Burgesss's quality. But the fans' Public Enemy No 1 curled it way over the bar, prompting huge cheers and a rendition of "That's Why We Let You Go".

Turley got down to save a shot on the turn from Conal Platt, and then when professional boxer Curtis Woodhouse charged into him, he bravely (or stupidly?) barged him away in anger.

Odubade played a deft touched pass to set Green free, but the on-loan Cardiff striker overran the ball and Andersen was able to save.

The improvement in Odubade was evident then, and also a few minutes later when he brought a difficult dropping ball instantly under control, despite being surrounded by two opponents, and then delivered a fierce close-range shot that Andersen brilliantly turned around his post.

Luke Foster won both the Oxford United players' player of the year award and the Andrew Knapton Supporters' Players of the Year award.

The Young Player of the Year award went to fullback Ian Sampson.