JAMES Constable hailed goalkeeper Ryan Clarke after his late penalty save gave Oxford United a vital 2-1 win over Barnet last night.

Goals from Scott Rendell and Constable had put the U’s ahead after they fell behind to a Michael Hector strike.

But with six minutes left, Damian Batt appeared to foul Ricky Holmes outside the box, only for referee Stuart Attwell to point to the spot.

But Clarke (pictured) saved the day, denying Izale McLeod with his legs.

It means that United’s No 1 has now let in only five penalties from 15 that have been taken against him during his spell at the club.

“It’s a phenomonal record,” Constable said.

“I think when the penalty was given, most in the ground expected him to save it, which shows how well he has done from penalties.”

He added: “From a personal point of view it was great to get another goal, but more importantly, we got the three points.”

The win sees the U’s move five points clear of the eighth-placed team and nine off automatic promotion.

Boss Chris Wilder said: “I thought we fell behind to a very unfortunate goal, but fully deserved to get back into the game before half-time.

“Barnet were on the rack for a lot of the first half and the first 25 minutes of the second period. We should have kicked on, but didn’t.

“They will go away and say they have missed a penalty that would have given them a draw, but we have had lots of opportunities once again to win the game comfortably.”

On-loan striker Rendell had told the Oxford Mail in the build-up to the game that he had a feeling it would be the match that he broke his duck for United, and so it proved.

“How about you come and speak to me before every match, then hopefully I can get even more goals,” he laughed.

“But I was delighted to get the goal and hopefully it will be the first of many for Oxford.”