KEMAR Roofe bagged his first senior hat-trick as Oxford United boosted their goal difference with a nerve-settling thrashing of doomed Dagenham & Redbridge.

Michael Appleton's men turned in exactly what was required after falling flat on Saturday, delivering a performance full of purpose.

Roofe's low finish hardly did justice to United's dominant first-half display at the Kassam Stadium, where results have been hard to come by in 2016.

But any concerns Dagenham were still in the game were quickly erased.

Roofe got the all-important second and, after the excellent Alex MacDonald got the goal his individual display deserved, United's top scorer took his tally for the season to 25 late on.

The handsome victory sent the side clear in second position, with comfortably the best goal difference of their rivals, while edging Dagenham nearer the relegation trapdoor.

George Waring was given a first start for United, while MacDonald and Callum O'Dowda added fresh legs out wide as Michael Appleton made three changes from Saturday's defeat to Leyton Orient.

Danny Hylton, Chris Maguire and Jordan Bowery dropped to the bench, where Jake Wright came in for Jordan Evans, absent through illness.

The U's were determined to start on the front foot, something which had eluded them at the weekend.

And they were as good as their word.

MacDonald in particular had received the memo about playing at a high tempo and he set the tone.

The winger came close to a wonderful solo goal on 12 minutes, weaving into the box and curling a shot which for a moment looked like troubling Liam O'Brien.

The goalkeeper was forced into action moments later, denying Roofe after good work by Waring and MacDonald.

United's top scorer quickly amends on the quarter-hour mark, sweeping in from 12 yards to open the scoring following a combination between MacDonald and Liam Sercombe.

Bright, incisive, clinical - the hosts were everything they had lacked on Saturday.

Sercombe looked at his most effective for weeks, sending two shots just wide.

They sandwiched an effort which O'Brien parried before getting up to save from Roofe on the rebound from an acute angle.

The chances kept coming: a Johnny Mullins header here, an O'Dowda shot wide there.

Dagenham looked as surprised as anyone to be only 1-0 down, but their only effort of the half was a tame shot from Josh Passley which Benji Buchel saved comfortably.

Oxford Mail:

  • Kemar Roofe makes it 2-0 early in the second half

Despite their dominance United could not relax until a second goal, which arrived on cue five minutes into the second half.

Waring showed strength to win the ball and then poise to release Roofe, who raced clear before slotting a shot into the far corner of the net.

The forward's search for a first senior hat-trick saw him graze the crossbar with a free-kick, before blasting a shot over from close range.

O'Dowda, supplier for that chance, came within a whisker of finding the top corner from range as United threatened to run riot.

Dagenham boss John Still made attacking changes and it almost worked when Benji Buchel's attempted clearance was charged down by Christian Doidge.

The ball fell to fellow substitute Jamie Cureton, who blazed a good chance over.

Dagenham's plight was summed up moments later, when a Chey Dunkley slip almost let them in, but Joss Labadie's powerful shot only succeeded in hitting Cureton on the head.

Normal service was quickly resumed as United went in search of further goals.

Roofe had a couple more shots saved, while Danny Hylton hit the crossbar seconds after coming off the bench.

The forward turned provider to make it 3-0, crossing for MacDonald to arrive at pace and steer a header into the net.

Roofe finally got what he had been threatening, a third goal, five minutes from time with a cool finish from Hylton's flick to round off a superb evening.

Oxford Utd (4-4-2): Buchel, Kenny, Dunkley, Mullins, Skarz, MacDonald, Sercombe, Lundstram, O'Dowda, Roofe, Waring. Subs used: Hylton (Waring 76), Ashby (Sercombe 83), Ruffels (Lundstram 88). Unused subs: Slocombe, Wright, Maguire, Bowery. Booked: None.

Dagenham (4-4-1-1): O'Brien, Hoyte, Worrall, Hyam, Widdowson, Passley (Jones 71), Labadie, Muldoon, Chambers (Doidge 55), Cash, Hawkins (Cureton 55). Unused subs: Cousins, Taylor, McClure, Boucaud. Booked: None.

Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).

Attendance: 5,319 (84 visitors)