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Fleetwood Town 3 (Matt 9, Crowther 58, Parkin 86) Oxford United 0
OXFORD United's eight-game unbeaten run in npower League Two came to an end with a defeat at Fleetwood Town.
The Cod Army's first two goals had an element of fortune to them, especially their bizarre opener, but the visitors could have no complaints about coming away with nothing after a performance which lacked quality at both ends.
Jamille Matt was credited with the opener, but he knew nothing about the strike as Michael Raynes' clearance hit him and flew in.
The hosts could easily have been further in front before the break, but they had to wait until just before the hour for a second goal.
Again United were unfortunate, as Damian Batt's attempted clearance stuck on the heavy pitch and Ryan Crowther ran in to score.
The U's came back into the game in the final half hour, but were unable to create a gilt-edged chance.
Substitute Jon Parkin made sure of the points with a close range finish late on.
Hamstring injuries ruled out Lewis Montrose and Liam Davies, so Simon Heslop and Tony Capaldi came into the side in the only changes from the XI which started the 2-1 win at Bradford City.
Neither side had played for a fortnight, but Fleetwood looked far sharper right from the kick-off.
Gareth Evans impressed on the left flank and he had the game's first effort. Cutting inside, he let fly from 25 yards with a shot which almost squirmed under Wayne Brown, who gathered at the second attempt.
Fleetwood were in control as United struggled to adapt to a difficult pitch, but the opening goal owed more to luck than judgement.
A ball forward to Jamie Allen appeared to have been dealt with by Raynes, but his clearance struck Matt and from 20 yards the ball ricocheted over a stranded Brown and into the net.
The striker sheepishly celebrated, but Fleetwood went on to justify their lead.
Matt, signed this month for a club record £300,000, was a handful and came close to a second goal on 20 minutes.
The striker held off Jake Wright in the box, but Michael Duberry got across to prevent a clean strike on goal.
Evans tested Brown again from range shortly afterwards, this time the goalkeeper turned the stinging shot round the post.
From the corner Rob Atkinson headed in at the back post, but the goal was ruled out for a foul.
United invited pressure by failing to hold on to the ball up front, as all too often passes went astray.
Fleetwood came close to a second goal on the half hour mark as a free-kick caused chaos in the United defence.
Brown came out to punch the delivery, but Matt got there first and his header struck the post. From the rebound Raynes hit the ball against Brown and it spun towards the goal before Wright finally cleared.
Given the balance of play, United may have been relieved to get back into the changing room at half time only one goal adrift.
The visitors had gained a foothold in the game late in the half, but despite forcing several corners they failed to register a shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes.
U's boss Chris Wilder brought on Adam Chapman for Raynes at the break as they switched from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3.
The midfielder ended the wait for a shot on goal almost immediately, as he saw an effort deflected wide.
But United's bright start to the half was undone by another Fleetwood goal which contained a slice of luck.
Batt completely mis-kicked a clearance as the ball sat in the mud, allowing substitute Crowther to pounce and score.
Top scorer Tom Craddock and Deane Smalley came off the bench, replacing Heslop and Justin Richards as the shape was changed to 4-4-2.
Matt should have quickly added a third goal, but after Crowther beat Batt and crossed the striker's shot on the turn was weak and straight at Brown.
United pushed forward in search of a way back into the game.
They went on to have their best spell of the afternoon, but despite putting Fleetwood under pressure, goalkeeper Scott Davies was not stretched.
The home side wrapped up the points four minutes from time.
Jamie McGuire crossed low into a crowded six-yard box and Parkin was on hand to tap home.
Oxford Utd (3-4-3): Brown, Raynes (Chapman ht), Duberry, Wright, Batt, Heslop (Craddock 58), Leven, Capaldi, Potter, Richards (Smalley 66), Rigg.
Unused subs: Crocombe, Worley, O'Brien, Parker.
Fleetwood (4-4-2): Davies, Beeley, Pond, Atkinson, Goodall, Evans, McGuire, McKenna, Brown (Crowther ht), Matt (Parkin 71), Allen (Titchiner 78).
Unused subs: Maxwell, Barry, McNulty, Nicholson.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham.
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