Oxford United turned on the style as they put Stevenage to the sword for their third win on the trot.

Producing one of their best performances of the season and one of their finest first-half displays in six years at the Kassam Stadium, they won with ease, even if it did take them 45 minutes to eventually beat inspired keeper Alan Julian.

Recalled defender Matt Day headed them in front from a corner and man-of-the-moment Eddie Anaclet got his third goal in four weeks with a deflected shot early in the second half.

They really should have scored further goals, but the result was never in doubt, and the quality of their football was exceptional for the Conference.

Playing with the confidence they had shown at the start of the campaign, they put together some glorious moves to leave in-form Stevenage chasing shadows.

Mark Stimson's team had not lost away since the autumn, but - apart from the opening minute when they briefly threatened - they were never in it.

The match didn't quite have the drama of the 2-2 draw between the sides at Broadhall Way in December, when Stevenage were reduced to nine men, but Oxford played some eye-pleasing football.

Stevenage were without their 29-goal leading scorer Steve Morison, who was suspended, and ex-Wycombe star Steve Guppy, who was injured, but they started brightly.

Mitchell Cole managed to get around the back of the Oxford defence and put over a threatening cross, and when that came to nothing, the ref pulled play back to award the visitors a free-kick on the edge of the area, which was curled over the bar.

Despite conceding the early ground to their opponents, the U's soon got into their stride. The work they had done practising set-pieces on the training ground during the week became evident.

From a corner played short, Andy Burgess fired over a cross and Gavin Johnson glanced a header narrowly wide.

Matt Day then met Martin Foster's corner from the other side with a thumping header which Julian spectacularly tipped over.

That flag-kick was won by a superb run from Anaclet, who took Yemi Odubade's return pass and then saw his 20-yard shot deflect wide off a defender's hand. Despite Oxford's claims for a penalty, the ref ruled it accidental.

It was starting to become one-way traffic and Oxford were passing the ball around the park beautifully, and crossing from good positions rather than hopefully from deep as a month ago.

From yet another corner, centre back Mickey Corcoran drove against the foot of a post. When Odubade retrieved the ball and chipped a cross from near the bye-line over the keeper, Day was just unable to force it in as it drifted across the goalmouth.

Stevenage striker Paul Hakim was yellow-carded for a late challenge on Burgess when the Oxford midfielder, recalled to the side because of Chris Hargreaves's suspension, dwelt on the ball.

Rob Duffy joined the long list of United players going close to scoring with a firm downward header from Odubade's superb left-wing cross. It beat Julian, but bounced a yard to the right of a post.

The pressure from the home side continued to build. Corcoran's shot deflected wide, Day tested Julian with a low, long-range drive, and the keeper pulled off a great save to paw away a right-footed volley from Danny Rose after some excellent approach play by Odubade.

Four minutes before half-time leading scorer Duffy was denied again when his powerful header at a corner struck Jon Nutter on the goalline.

It seemed, though, that a goal had to come, and it did so in the last minute of the half as Day headed Burgess's corner into the top left corner.

Mark Beard gave Billy Turley something to do at the start of the second half with a 22-yard shot, but a deflection took some of the pace off it.

Borough's Mark Hughes was booked for a late tackle, and seconds later Stimson took off both him and right back Barry Fuller.

Their replacements, Craig Dobson and Damian Batt, had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when Anaclet cut onto his left foot and saw his curling shot deflect in off Batt to make it 2-0.

It was Anaclet's third goal in five games and the unfortunate Batt's first touch!

Oxford's terrier midfielder Martin Foster was lucky to escape with only a lecture after a bad tackle only moments after he had been booked.

Jim Smith took him and Duffy off before the end, partly to save them for tomorrow night's game at Southport and partly because he didn't want them picking up any more cards.

Rose, who had been quite outstanding in a more central role, almost made it three with a drive across the face of the goal while substitute Carl Pettefer also went close.

In stoppage time, Odubade's fierce drive was beaten out by the overworked Julian.

The home fans gave their team a big ovation at the final whistle.

Oxford United are back.