In truth Boltons superior quality meant this was a game that only Bolton could lose. By far the better team and a team that has found the winning habit. On the promotion run in as well. Happy days. Here's how we did:
Ben Alnwick 7: Solid start followed by a shakey 15 mins either side of half time. Wayward distribution along with indecision for Oxfords first goal was quickly picked up on by the home fans. He shut them up though. A breathtaking fingertip save onto the goalpost from a 30 yard piledriver was the highlight. Alnwick pulled it together to finish the game strongly. He wasn't at fault for the second goal either.
Dorian Dervite 6.5: Put in a good first half performance and seemingly comfortable on the right side of our 3 man defence. However, when Bolton took there foot off the gas and let Oxford back into the game, Dervite suffered the most. The Oxford left winger gave him the runaround, forcing Dervite to lapse back to hoofing the ball upfield. He stuck at it though and didn't give in, so credit to him for that.
David Wheater 8: Absolutely immense performance from Wheats. Oxford worked at the wings because they quite simply couldn't get through the middle. He was a threat up front as well, pulling the Oxford defence all over the place at set pieces. I think it was Wheater's rash tackle which gave Oxford the free kick for the second but could be wrong. Whatever, the big chin is on form and a total menace to opposing teams at the moment.
Mark Beevers 7: Similar to Dervite, Beevers had his usual solid game in the first half but suffered in the second, with an air shot attempt on goal being a point of note. His frustration resulted in a silly booking late on. Just as well that the yellow card amnesty is now in effect. However, he was in the right place at the right time to score after their goalie palmed away a cracking Morais free kick in the first half.
Jay Spearing 7.5: Although obviously still feeling his way back after injury, Jay was his usual industrious self. Put in some superb tackles but also guilty of giving the ball away in dangerous situations allowing Oxford to counterattack. Subbed with 15 minutes to go, probably due to not being fully match fit yet.
Darren Pratley 7.5: A great performance I thought. He was everywhere. We really benefited from Prats energy, particularly during that half hour around half time when some of his teammates had switched off. Came off with 30 minutes to go, hopefully through tiredness and not injury.
Josh Vela 7: Drifted in and out of the game if I'm honest. At times he caused all kinds of problems when attacking through midfield and at other times left spaces that Oxford utilised. Like Prats, Vela did keep at it though and busted a gut for the team. Vela did well on the counterattack late on, when he picked up a Madine back heel, raced forward and finished superbly for his tenth of the season. Our top scorer, so the lad is doing something right.
Filipe Le God Morais 8: what more can be said? Another assist and another goal. We had a white hot team in the nineties. We have it packaged in one player now. The fact that Oxford heavily watered the right side of the pitch throughout half time, to combat the threat from Morais says it all.
Andy Taylor 7: Not up to his normal high standards during this game in my opinion. However, he was still more than good enough to give Oxford a tough game.
Adam Le Fondre 7: only on the pitch for just over a half hour before going off with concussion after being poleaxed by an Oxford player. In the time he was on the pitch we had an effective fully committed display. This is someone who's loving playing for our club and it shows.
Gary Madine 7: played really well doing what Gary Madine does. Our third goal will go down as an own goal but it was down to Madine that Dunkley put into his own net. Great back heel setting up Velas goal as well. I do wish that he wouldn't go to ground so easily though. Perhaps he'd get more joy from refs if he stayed on his feet a bit more.
Chris Long 7: Replaced ALF and took a good half hour to get into the game. Seemed a bit lightweight at first, but once he found his feet, our jet heeled loanee terrorised the Oxford defence. Perhaps guilty of trying to score when he should've passed at one point, but he is a striker and going for goal is what they're about. A real threat late on in the game and if ALF isn't fit for Saturday, I think Long should start.
Jem Karacan 7: Carried on where Prats left off. Looks a really useful player and I hope we can keep him until season end.
Derik Osede 7: Came on with 15 minutes to go for the tiring Spearing and slotted into the game effortlessly.