John O’Sullivan scored his first league goal since his return to Accrington Stanley as the Reds celebrated their first win of 2022.
John Coleman had talked about the importance of getting back to winning ways at the Wham Stadium and O’Sullivan took his 28th minute strike superbly before Ethan Hamilton made the game safe in injury time, ending a seven game winless run for the Reds.
Oxford came into the game in fifth place and in-form, with 14 goals in their last four games, but Stanley defended superbly to limit them.
January signing Cody Adedoyin made his full Reds debut after coming off the bench in the 1-0 loss at Rotherham on Saturday.
Tommy Leigh also came into the side with Jay Rich-Baghuelou injured and Colby Bishop out.
The game started at a fast pace but neither team tested the goalkeeper in the opening 18 minutes with the first shot on target falling to Oxford.
Nathan Holland’s strike from outside the area had Toby Savin diving to his left and he kept it out.
A minute later, top scorer Matty Taylor’s shot had Savin beaten but Ross Sykes was there to clear.
Sykes headed over a Sean McConville corner at the other end but Oxford continued to press, Holland having a goalbound effort blocked.
Stanley then started to up the pace and took the lead on 28 minutes. Michael Nottingham’s ball into the box was cleared to O’Sullivan on the edge of the area and he took a touch and fired it into the far corner of the net. It was his first league goal since his return to the Reds in the summer.
Stanley then enjoyed a spell of pressure and it should have been two on 42 minutes when O’Sullivan’s ball from the right found McConville unmarked in the area but he fired just wide.
Stanley continued to force the play after the break and striker Adedoyin ran at the defence on 53 minutes, got into a good position but fired across the goal and narrowly wide.
United made a double substitution on 55 minutes as they looked to get back on level terms.
But it was Stanley who continued to look a threat with a couple of goalmouth scrambles and on 70 minutes they had another great chance to make it two.
Sub Rosaire Longelo’s ball in from the left found Adedoyin unmarked six yards out but he could only fire the ball at goalkeeper Jack Stevens.
Sub Sam Winnall’s strike skimmed across the goal on 75 minutes but Stanley continued to carve out the better openings, McConville forcing a save out of Stevens in the 80th minute.
Adodeyin was denied by Stevens again but Oxford could have grabbed a late leveller on 87 minutes when Winnall’s strike was blocked, the ball looped up to Taylor almost on the goalline but he couldn’t make contact and Stanley cleared.
Then Sykes broke in injury time, Hamilton was there on the edge of the area and he rifled the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Stanley: Savin, Amankwah, Sykes, Nottingham, Clark, Butcher, Hamilton, O’Sullivan (Longelo), McConville, Leigh (Pell), Adedoyin
Subs: Isherwood, Rodgers, Conneely, Morgan, Lewis
Attendance: 1,883 (307)