THROUGHOUT this season, Karl Robinson regularly spoke about measuring Oxford United’s progress through five-game blocks.

The U’s head coach set points targets for each batch of matches in the Sky Bet League One campaign, although he was careful never to reveal the magic number.

Now the dust has settled on the season, we can assess which five-game blocks were responsible for United’s play-off challenge falling short.

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An ultra-competitive League One promotion race meant 83 points were needed to finish in the top six – about 1.8 per game.

On that basis, United required an average of nine points from each five-game block to be on track for a play-off spot going into the last day of the season.

The U’s met or beat that tally five times over the course of the campaign, but still fell short.

United’s best points haul for a block came in October, when they achieved 12. This was thanks to wins over Sheffield Wednesday, Shrewsbury Town, Burton Albion and Morecambe, while they also lost to Plymouth Argyle in that run of fixtures.

It got them back on track after a disappointing September, which gave them their worst return of the campaign.

The U’s took just five points from the games against AFC Wimbledon, Wycombe Wanderers, Cheltenham Town, Gillingham and Accrington Stanley.

It was hugely frustrating at the time and looks even more of a killer now, when you consider two of those clubs were relegated and only one finished in the top ten.

Despite that, United recovered and were right on course after 20 games, reaching 36 points.

They had a small wobble at the start of January, but a strong set of results in the weeks that followed left the U’s on 62 points after 35 matches.

In other words, they were just one behind their eventual points target after seven blocks.

It will be of little surprise that the final two batches of matches this season were among United's worst.

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The U’s took only seven and six points respectively as their play-off chances faded, before disappearing at Rotherham United in the penultimate game.

Interestingly, United’s points return gradually fell away after block six as wins became less regular.

After finishing strongly in 2020/21 to snatch a play-off place, the opposite was true this season.