JAMES Roberts was again the goalscoring hero as the teenager struck the only goal to give Oxford United a gritty victory at York City.

The young striker, fresh from two goals on his full senior debut a week earlier, pounced on a chance from close range in the 34th minute.

He had the chance to make the game safe late on, but could only fire against the post when through one-on-one.

But the result also owed much to an excellent defensive display.

York had enough of the game to take something from it, but were thwarted by a combination of their own lack of quality and some superb work from the back four.

The United teamsheet showed one change from the side which started the 3-1 win at Grimsby Town in the FA Cup.

Top scorer Danny Hylton, available again after serving a suspension, came in for Callum O'Dowda.

United broadly kept the same shape as last week, with Brian Howard playing off James Roberts, while Hylton was on the right flank and Alfie Potter occupied the left.

York had not won in front of their home fans since April and looked determined to end that barren run in a lively start.

Russ Wilcox's men got on the front foot early on, squeezing United for space.

It saw them control much of the first half - and especially the opening 20 minutes.

A clever pass from former U's loanee Lewis Montrose carved out the first good chance for Wes Fletcher, whose shot was smothered by Ryan Clarke.

The United goalkeeper was beaten on 16 minutes by a terrific curled effort from Michael Coulson, who watched in agony as the ball smacked the angle of post and crossbar, bouncing clear.

United had plenty of defending to do, particularly at set pieces - with York winning seven corners before half-time.

Despite creating some nervy moments, York failed to really test Clarke, who twice saved comfortably from Jake Hyde.

For half an hour the visitors struggled to get a grip on the game, but when an opportunity arrived, they took it.

A free-kick awarded four yards outside the box was perfectly placed for Howard, whose dipping shot was turned over by goalkeeper Alex Cisak.

From the resulting corner Howard's delivery was not dealt with and Roberts made no mistake when the ball fell his way in the six-yard box.

Suddenly full of confidence, United quickly threatened again as Tareiq Holmes-Dennis fired in a shot from range which Cisak could only shovel round the post.

York did not regain the upper hand until after the interval, when they again made a bright start.

A darting run by Russell Penn took him into the box six minutes after the restart, pulling the ball back for Montrose. It was a decent chance 12 yards out, but the midfielder's shot was too close to Clarke, who parried.

It became a recurring tale for York, who got into a host of promising positions before being let down by a lack of quality on the final ball.

While United scrapped well at the back, it was the hosts' inability to make the most of their better moments which increasingly irked the home fans.

The visitors' chances at the other end were sporadic, but they generally had more of an end product, with Cisak forced into smart saves to deny Potter and Roberts.

The teenage striker had a golden chance seven minutes from time to kill the game off and repeat the double he had bagged against Grimsby a week earlier.

York gave the ball away to Hylton, who expertly played in Roberts to streak clear. His shot beat Cisak, but struck the inside of the goalkeeper's right-hand post and Roberts could not convert the rebound from an acute angle.

It gave York renewed hope and left United facing a tense finish to the game, but they held on to close out a hard-earned victory.

York: Cisak, McCoy, Lowe, Zubar, Ilesanmi, Meikle (Straker ht), Penn, Montrose (Summerfield 69), Coulson, Hyde, Fletcher (Carson 78).

Unused subs: Mooney, McCombe, Halliday, Platt.

Oxford Utd: Clarke, Riley, Mullins, Wright, Holmes-Dennis, Potter, Rose, Whing, Howard (O'Dowda 73), Hylton, Roberts.

Unused subs: Crocombe, Meades, Raynes, Ruffels, Collins, Barnett.

Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland).

Attendance: 3,363 (468 visitors).