OXFORD United endured an awful afternoon as their defensive errors were gratefully accepted by Cambridge United, who dished out a thrashing.

The visitors began well and led early on through Danny Hylton's eighth goal of the season.

They led for half an hour, but looked vulnerable defensively and capitulated after Kwesi Appiah bagged two goals in four minutes before the break.

Another two-goal burst just before the hour mark from Ryan Donaldson and Tom Elliott killed the game as a contest.

And United's woeful display was capped in the 89th minute, when Robbie Simpson scored from close range.

The one change on the U's teamsheet was enforced due to Tyrone Barnett's suspension.

Hylton was pushed forward to lead the line, so Junior Brown came into the side on the right flank, while teenage striker James Roberts was named among the substitutes.

The visitors were quickest out of the blocks in the televised lunchtime clash.

They went ahead with the first real attack, on nine minutes.

Tom Newey swung in a cross from the left which Hylton headed into the net, despite goalkeeper Chris Dunn getting a hand to the ball.

The advantage was almost very short-lived and only Ryan Clarke's fingertips prevented a spectacular goal from Appiah, whose fierce shot was diverted on to the crossbar.

Cambridge looked dangerous when they flooded forward and the visitors got through plenty of defensive work.

After a succession of half chances, Cambridge should have levelled on the half hour mark.

A cross from the right picked out Robbie Simpson, whose header was shovelled round the post by Clarke.

United looked vulnerable at the back when they lost the ball high up the pitch.

A warning came shortly afterwards when Callum O'Dowda was tackled. Danny Rose could not stop Appiah, who burst forward and fed Tom Elliott, who shot wide when he should have at least hit the target.

United regained their composure with a prolonged spell of possession, but they succumbed to a double blow from Appiah in the space of four minutes.

The equaliser saw the striker latch on to a hopeful ball forward, where he produced a high quality finish from just outside the area which flashed past Clarke.

Cambridge quickly took the lead, with a goal full of defensive mistakes.

Michael Collins gave the ball away cheaply and when Michael Raynes came out second best in a tackle, Appiah surged into space.

He rounded Joe Riley and although Clarke saved the first shot, the rebound fell kindly for the striker, who fired in the rebound.

United almost found an equaliser in stoppage time, as Raynes turned Joe Riley's cross on to the post.

Appleton's half-time team talk did not have the desired affect and within three minutes of the restart they were opened up again.

After Rose dived in and did not get the ball, Cambridge sprung forward and Appiah almost got in for his hat-trick.

United went on to have a brief spell on top, as a series of crosses were whipped in without any effect.

Instead, they collapsed again defensively as Cambridge won the game with half an hour to spare.

Appiah was again at the heart of it, running on to a through ball into the box and cutting back for Donaldson, who was on his own to coolly slot home.

More non-existent marking allowed Elliott to make it 4-1 with a header four minutes later.

The striker was virtually the only Cambridge player in the area, but he found space between two defenders to nod past an exposed Clarke.

There was still a third of the game remaining, but it became more about damage limitation for the visitors, who were second best all over the pitch.

Cambridge remained the side which looked more likely to score.

Only a smart block from Clarke prevent Harrison Dunk from making it 5-1 shortly after coming off the bench.

The United goalkeeper also saved well from a Liam Hughes free-kick, turning it round the post.

The corner was cleared only to Josh Coulson on the edge of the box, who drove a shot just wide.

United offered little going the other way, handing a senior debut to teenage striker James Roberts.

The youngster will be the only United player to look back on the afternoon with any fondness and their misery deepened when they conceded a fifth goal late on.

Again the defending went awry, as Simpson was allowed to bundle in from close range at a corner.

Cambridge Utd: Dunn, Tait, Coulson, Nelson, G Taylor (Lennon 82), Chadwick (Dunk 57), Hughes, Simpson, Donaldson, Appiah (Bird 79), Elliott.

Unused subs: Norris, Lanzoni, Hurst, B Taylor.

Oxford Utd: Clarke, Riley, Raynes, Mullins, Newey, Collins (Roberts 85), Rose, Brown (Jakubiak 69), Howard (Whing 56), O'Dowda, Hylton.

Unused subs: G Long, S Long, Ruffels, Morris.

Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex).

Attendance: 4,435 (493 visitors).