DES Buckingham reserved praise for two of Oxford United’s unsung heroes in their 5-0 battering of Peterborough United.

The U’s were without key duo Elliott Moore and Cameron Brannagan for the clash against the Posh, with Buckingham opting to replace them with Sam Long and Josh McEachran respectively.

Fin Stevens came in at right back, allowing Long to shuffle inside to centre half, while McEachran took on the role of the single six in midfield.

With no Moore or Brannagan to call upon, Long skippered United against the Posh.

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U’s head coach Buckingham said: “When Elliott went down, it was an easy decision with Sam going there, and full credit to him because he’s had a tough season by his standards.

“When I came in, he was injured, and he was out for a long time. When he came back, he split his head open and had the concussion, so he missed a couple of games.

“It took him a couple of games to find his feet, but I think you’ve seen what it means to him to play for this team, and what it means to lead the team.

“I’m delighted with the way he’s come good. It’s a good thing to see and I’m delighted for him.”

McEachran meanwhile was quietly efficient in screening the back four, while his passing range was on show throughout.

The midfielder was replaced by Oisin Smyth in the closing stages after suffering cramp, although Buckingham initially feared the worst when McEachran was struggling.

He said: “I thought it was a hamstring he’d done, but it was just cramp. He hasn’t had a string of games, and has been in and out of the squad.

“I thought he played a big role in how we wanted to set up, and I was very happy for him, as he was able to show what he’s capable of in there.”