Top-of-the-table Oxford United continued their superb start to the season with a comfortable 3-0 win at Christie Park thanks to two poachers' goals in the first half and a brilliant last-minute strike from Andy Burgess.

Steve Basham and Phil Gilchrist put the U's 2-0 ahead from close range, capitalising on mistakes from Morecambe defenders, but there was nothing fortunate about this sixth Nationwide Conference victory in seven games.

United controlled much of the game and they could even afford the luxury of a missed penalty from Basham.

The only sour note on an excellent away victory was that Oxford had six players booked, some of them needlessly.

United forced a corner in the first minute, Chris Willmott heading a yard wide from Andy Burgess's cross.

But Morecambe were soon into their stride, running positively in central midfield, and Garry Thompson struck a superb 25-yard drive with his left foot which Billy Turley pushed aside.

Marvin Robinson was soon involved in the action, flicking the ball on with a good header though Basham couldn't get to it before the Shrimps keeper.

Former Manchester United reserve Michael Twiss was well known to be the dangerman for the home side, and he produced an instant left-foot shot from a dropping ball, but was off target.

Oxford were just starting to edge the contest when out of nothing Basham, last year's 13-goal top scorer, pounced to put them in front.

Burgess delivered the ball forward, Danny Meadowcroft then tried to head it back to Ryan Robinson, but Basham nipped in and nodded the ball past the stranded keeper.

With the visitors lifted by the goal, Burgess soon fired in another shot from distance, which this time Robinson saved.

In the 33rd minute, the U's were in total command as they doubled their lead.

Burgess won a corner with a skilful step-inside, and from Carl Pettefer's flag kick, Willmott powered in a far-post header. Robinson parried it, and Gilchrist climbed to nod the loose ball over the line from four yards out.

The Morecambe defenders were left for dead when Marvin Robinson burst through the middle, showing his power. Keeper Robinson came off his line to save with a block challenge, and the ball spun away for a corner.

Twiss continued to look a threat, but he was denied after a twisting run and shot by a fine block from Willmott.

The first half ended in controversial fashion when Marvin Robinson thought he should have had a penalty - only to be booked for diving.

He raced forward and went around the keeper with some close footwork, then tumbled over the keeper's outstretched arm.

Showing absolutely no sympathy for the striker, Northumberland referee Michael Oliver promptly produced the yellow card to Robinson, who was furious with the decision.

United still had to keep their concentration not to concede in first-half injury time, Turley doing just that as he made a fine save from Twiss, and Rufus Brevett then following up with a superb challenge to deny Wayne Curtis.

Smith replaced Eddie Anaclet with Matt Day for the second half, which was only 90 seconds old when Turley saved again from Meadowcroft at a corner.

Four minutes after the break, Robinson did win a penalty when he was clearly held down inthe box by David Perkins as he tried to reach Basham's left-wing cross.

With Duffy not playing, because of injury, Basham took the penalty - but his shot was well saved by Ryan Robinson diving to his left.

The penalty miss gave the Shrimps a boost, and a few minutes later Carlton was unlucky with a header which smacked against the angle of post and bar.

The rest of the second half was spoiled by the over-fussy ref, who found it necessary to book six different Oxford players, ridiculous in a game that was never dirty.

Substitute Yemi Odubade had a shot saved soon after he came on, and when Morecambe put United's defence under intense pressure with a strong spell of attacks and crosses, the back three of Willmott, Barry Quinn and Gilchirst held firm.

The game was in its final minute of stoppage time when Burgess put the seal on the three points with a superb goal, turning onto a throw-in and curling a brilliant effort from 18 yards with his left foot past Ryan Robinson.