Danny Rose struck a brilliant second-half winner as Oxford United chalked up a fourth straight win at Haig Avenue last night.

But goalkeeper Billy Turley can take a lot of credit for United's priceless three points. He produced a great save from Jon Newby eight minutes into the second half when the score was goalless.

Rob Duffy also missed a penalty near the end - his first spot-kick miss for the U's - which might have been costly.

It was a highly controversial decision by referee Andy Haines not to send off Southport keeper Paul Harrison for bringing Duffy down in the incident that led to the penalty.

United's leading scorer was virtually walking the ball into the net, only to have his legs whipped away three yards out as he prepared to shoot into an empty goal.

Incredibly, the ref decided it wasn't a clear goalscoring opportunity and only yellow-carded the keeper instead of sending him off.

And Harrison then made a mockery of the referee's decision by saving Duffy's spot-kick, which was poorly hit.

Rose hadn't scored a league goal before, although he did find the net in the FA Trophy.

But when Duffy headed the ball back from the left side of the area on the hour mark, the on-loan Manchester United reserve team skipper brought the ball down with his left foot and then drove an unstoppable right-footed shot into the goal from 15 yards.

Jim Smith had named an unchanged team after the good performance against Stevenage, with Barry Quinn and Chris Hargreaves, now available again, taking their places on the bench.

The U's, playing in all white, started strongly and Duffy directed a header wide from Gavin Johnson's cross in the fourth minute.

But it was Southport who forced the first corner, on the break, three minutes later.

Eddie Anaclet managed the game's first shot on target with a left-footed effort on the turn from 20 yards which forced Harrison - surely one of the smallest goalkeepers in the Conference - to save low to his left.

But Oxford suffered a blow in the 16th minute when skipper Phil Gilchrist signalled to come off, clearly troubled by a lower back injury.

Quinn replaced him, but took over at right back, with Matt Day moving into the centre to form a young partnership with Mickey Corcoran.

Southport tried to play the ball to feet and knock it around and they created a useful chance when Jon Newby broke on the right, squared it for Tony Gray eight yards out and the ball bounced off him before Turley dived on it.

A well-worked move from right to left across the park by the U's ended with Johnson crossing from the left and Duffy, under pressure from two defenders, rising well to meet it, but heading over the bar.

Port then put together a very dangerous spell when Turley twice made good saves to keep them out.

First skipper Mark Boyd rifled a free-kick from 22 yards, which the keeper saved with his knee.

Then when Boyd sent over an inswinging corner, it evaded Turley and was cleared off the line.

Their tails up, Southport stormed forward again and this time it was Carl Baker firing in a left-footed effort that Turley stopped low to his left.

The first half ended with Oxford back on the ascendancy, thanks to one surging run from Yemi Odubade and a free-kick from just outside the area that Rose drove around the wall, but past the far post.

United began the second half at a better tempo and started putting the home side under more pressure.

Andy Burgess worked an opening on the left and pulled back a cross for Rose, whose shot was blocked. It ran loose to Eddie Anaclet, but he screwed his shot well wide.

Turley showed superb speed off his line when Newby was played in, pulling off a crucial save.

Moments later, Turley was called on again, and got behind a left-footed shot from Boyd that bounced horribly just in front of him.

United then enjoyed a spell of attacking pressure, which ended with Rose's goal.

It started with Burgess releasing Anaclet with a fine crossfield pass and Anaclet slipping it forward to Odubade, whose shot was tipped away by the keeper.

Their next move brought Rose his goal.

The visitors had to make another change at the back as Day went off injured. On came Marvin Robinson up front, with Odubade dropping to right midfield, Anaclet to right back and Quinn moving into the middle of defence.

The U's survived some nervy moments at the end - and then learnt Dagenham had been held at home, to complete a good night.