Oxford United marked their 125th Anniversary with a win that kept their unbeaten run going this afternoon. Early goals from Josh Ruffels and Gavin Whyte and a late strike from Marcus Browne eased the Boys From Up The Hill past Shrewsbury in front of many of the club legends invited back to enjoy the birthday celebrations.
Already four games unbeaten, United got off to a flying start with two headers giving them a two goal cushion inside the first 14 minutes that effectively killed the game.
It took 125 years and three minutes for them to get the first. The second corner in quick succession was swung in by Tony McMahon and Ruffels got across his man at the near post to crash home his header and make it 1-0 to the Oranges.
Ten minutes later it was 2-0 and again McMahon was the source. This time it came after a neat passing move and ended with a fantastic cross which invited Whyte to leap and power in another header. Keeper Coleman got a hand to it but could only push it in to the roof of the net as United doubled their lead.
Whyte, back in to the starting line up after his spectacular goal at Charlton in midweek, is a breath of fresh air with his pace and direct running from deep, but United were compact and neat after opening up that two-goal lead and ready to use his direct running as and when required. The Shrews were tame in the first half and rarely troubled Simon Eastwood until a Luke Waterfall header in the second half just reminded United of their defensive responsibilities.
United saw a couple of efforts go well wide from Holmes and Mackie and were still good value for their lead despite an improved performance from Salop after the break. A Holmes drive on 79 was probably as close as United came to a third goal, with the winger outstanding and constantly driving his team forward, before Browne's finsihing touch.
This time it came after the ball hit the ref and ran for Mackie who slipped the sub in on goal. He waited for the keeper to commit himself then passed the ball home to ensure the Anniversary was perfect.
Today was all about the occasion. Big crowd, big win and Oxford United are on the up.
The future is bright. The future is yellow...
Report by Chris Williams, pictures by Steve Daniels, stats by OPTA
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