DANNY Hylton scored twice as a strong Oxford United development side won 4-3 at Birmingham City.
Callum O'Dowda and Chey Dunkley also found the net, while striker James Roberts made his return after recovering from a hamstring injury, playing the final 20 minutes.
United head coach Michael Appleton was using the game to have a look at players ahead of Sunday's Emirates FA Cup third round tie with Swansea City.
He said: "A lot of the lads who haven't played much recently, but they definitely need the minutes.
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- Port Vale 2 (Cicilia 54, Taylor pen 59), Oxford United 2 (Dunkley 11, Crowley 19)
"We're still six days from the Swansea game, there is plenty of time so I want to have a good look at them.
"We've got three tough games in a week with Millwall and Bristol Rovers to follow, so I want to make sure if they are called upon they are in a good place."
O'Dowda opened the scoring after a defensive mistake gave the winger a one-on-one opportunity, before Hylton, who has been an unused substitute in United's last three first-team games, doubled the lead.
- Chey Dunkley was among the goals for Oxford United
City pulled a goal back before Dunkley restored the two-goal advantage by getting on the end of a set piece.
Again the home side reduced the deficit, but once more United edged clear when Hylton was brought down in the box.
The forward's spot kick was saved, as was Danny Rose's follow-up, but Hylton was on hand to finally tuck home at the third attempt.
The Blues netted again late on, but United held on to win the game.
Oxford Utd: Buchel, Long, Dunkley, Cundy, Evans, Rose, Ruffels, Ashby, O’Dowda (Giles 70), Hoban (Roberts 70), Hylton.