Chances for Town and a debut for McAtee but Town end on a defeat
Oxford United: Simon Eastwood, Christian Riberio (Canice Carroll 12), Joe Skarz (Sam Long 10), John Lundstram (c), Curtis Nelson, Chris Maguire (Kane Hemmings 74), Josh Ruffels, Joe Rothwell, Rob Hall, Charlie Raglan, Marvin Johnson
Subs: Jack Stevens, Phil Edwards, Chey Dunkley
Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Joe Riley (Dom Smith 33), Mat Sadler, Shaun Whalley, Abu Ogogo (c), Junior Brown, Bryn Morris (Gary Deegan 73), Ryan Yates (John McAtee 83), Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman, Stefan Payne
Subs: Stephan Humphrys, Freddie Ladapo, Mark Halstead, Callum Roberts
Ref: Kevin Johnson
Assistants: Carl Fitch-Jackson and Thomas Ramsey
Fourth Official: Andrew Handley
Attendance: 9,287 (897 from Town)
Paul Hurst sticks with the same starting XI that started the home win against Southend United, but on the bench he adds youngsters Callum Roberts and John McAtee.
Town had a decent opening with a minute on the clock, Whalley picked the ball up and then played it to Payne who had his back to goal, he lifted it into the run of Morris who burst into the box, he cut paste one defender but the next slid in to put it behind for a Town corner.
The home side had a good chance early on when Johnson showed his pace to cause problems down their right, he cut inside with Yates close by, he did he best to slow down Johnson but he got into the box but Sadler and then Nsiala covering saw the ball out for a corner.
The ball dropped just in front of the dugouts and Joe Riley and Joe Skarz jumped for the header, Skarz went down holding his face off the pitch. There was a break as he received attention but he was unable to continue as walked down the tunnel holding his nose and was replaced by Sam Long.
Oxford made a quick second change with Christian Riberio staying down and coming off after receiving attention he too was unable to continue and was replaced by Canice Carroll.
Oxford hit Town with two quick goals with 15 minutes on the clock, the first after Curtis Nelson got the ball and raced down the centre of the Town defence before smashing the ball home to give Oxford the lead. The second again from good running, this time the ball was played into space down the Town left that Maguire burst into, he kept his run going to the byline and drove a low ball back into the Town box and there was Rob Hall to bundle the ball home to make it 2-0 to the home side.
Town had a great chance on 23 minutes after Payne won the ball, he flicked it wide to right to find Whalley, he took it forward and then delivered a great ball into the box to find Yates, he got his header back across goal but put it the wrong side of the post.,
Town were creating chances and when the ball was played into the Oxford box it dropped in front of keeper Eastwood, he slid in to collect as did Payne, the ball ran free and Payne looked to get a touch but Eastwood had recovered and was down to smoother.
Town were forced into a change on the half-hour after Joe Riley and Chris Maguire challenged for the ball, Riley went over on his ankle and physio Chris Skitt was on to attend, the stretcher was quickly called for and Dom Smith was on to replace Riley who was carried from the pitch looking frustrated.
Oxford were still pushing and a throw from the right saw the ball with Hall, he fired in a shot that took a deflection off Ogogo that looped it towards goal but Leutwiler was alert and tipped the ball over to safety.
Town started the half looking to get a goal back and a lovely ball from Yates put Brown in down the left, he cut inside and drove a low ball in but it was put behind for a Town corner. Minutes later the ball came to Ogogo on the edge of the box, he got a shot in that beat Eastwood but it rolled past the far post.
Town were creating the chances but couldn't get the ball, Payne started a nice move that saw him play to Whalley, he then found Ogogo who played it into Payne who found space in the box, he flicked the ball goalwards but it was just wide of the target.
The game was a little flat with Town showing the better of the attacking play and Oxford looking to happy to sit on their two goal cushion and see what Town could do. Ref Johnson was keeping his cards in his pocket, first after Sam Long who was already on a booking caught Yates with a late challenge and then when Rob Hall clearly pulled Junior Brown back as he looked to get away.
Paul Hurst made a change with just over 15 minutes remaining bringing on Gary Deegan to replace Bryn Morris.
Town hadn't put the best performance in over the game but they had created some good chances and they got another on 74 minutes. It came from the determination and pressing of Stefan Payne who won the ball on the edge of the box, he recovered and then nicked it past Eastwood before hitting in a shot from a tight angle but it was into the side netting.
Town were finishing the game with chances and first Payne fired in a low shot from the edge of the box that was saved by Eastwood, and then moment later Rodman got in behind the U's defence, he cut back inside and fired in a shot but again Eastwood was there to save.
With just over 5 minutes to go Paul Hurst made his final change of the afternoon bringing of Ryan Yates to be replaced by youngster John McAtee to give him his first team début.
Oxford were looking for a third goal and when the ball was fired low across the Town goal by Raglan it found Ruffels, he fired in a shot from close range but Leutwiler was there with an amazing save to keep it a 2-0.