JAMIE Mackie scored one goal and made another as Oxford United tasted victory for the first time in nine games.

It eased the some of the pressure on the U’s – and their under-fire boss Karl Robinson – as they leapfrogged Plymouth Argyle to climb off the foot of the Sky Bet League One table.

In a crunch basement clash, the hosts got off to a terrific start when Mackie netted in the fourth minute.

United were good value for their advantage against a Pilgrims side who rarely looked like scoring.

But they had to wait until 16 minutes from time to make sure of the points, when Mackie unselfishly teed up Curtis Nelson.

Plymouth’s faint hopes of a comeback disappeared nine minutes from time. Mackie lured Yann Songo’o into a rash challenge, which earned the midfielder a second booking – and ensured United had no late nerves.

Robinson undid most of his midweek Checkatrade Trophy changes, so his starting line-up contained only two alterations from the side which drew 0-0 at Southend in the previous league game.

Simon Eastwood made his first league start since the opening day of the season, while Marcus Browne stepped up after returning from injury as a substitute in midweek.

The pressure was on, but United got a dream start.

James Henry showed plenty of purpose as he charged forward in the fourth minute. His pass was intercepted, but Mackie tackled Ryan Edwards before tucking a left-footed shot across goalkeeper Matt Macey and into the far corner from 12 yards.

It was his first goal for the club – and ended a wait of almost 11 months to score.

United almost squandered the fast start within two minutes. Rob Dickie scuffed a clearance which saw Eastwood come out to gather, but the centre back hacked the ball straight to dangerman Graham Carey, who let the hosts off the hook with a shot wide of the far post.

A gusty wind made life difficult, but United took no risks and, playing into the elements in the first half attacking the East Stand, looked to handle the conditions better than the Pilgrims.

Having opened his account, Mackie had a chance to double his tally in the 19th minute when Macey palmed a Ricky Holmes cross his way. But the ball would not sit down for the forward, who fired over.

Browne showed United fans what they had been missing in his month-long lay-off. The West Ham loanee twice terrified the Argyle back four with surging runs, while on the other flank Holmes was having some joy.

He was up against former U’s loanee Ashley Smith-Brown, who was booked for a late tackle on the winger. Two minutes later he brought Holmes down again, but referee Andy Woolmer waved away the home side’s appeals for a second booking.

The first foul led to a great chance for the all-important second goal. Tony McMahon’s free-kick was wicked and Dickie made good contact with his diving header, only to look up and see it fly straight at a relieved Macey.

A minute later United received a big let-off, when McMahon’s tackle on Freddie Ladapo ran kindly for Stuart O’Keefe, who blazed over from 12 yards.

Eastwood also parried a fierce effort from Ladapo as Plymouth finished the half strongly.

United had some defending to do at the start of the second half, without the visitors really threatening an equaliser.

Instead, the hosts went on to have chances to kill the game off.

Macey had to be alert when the wind turned Henry’s 55th-minute cross into a dangerous shot.

Cameron Brannagan and Josh Ruffels fired wide, but just as it looked like United would live to regret the missed opportunities, the lead was doubled.

Ruffels latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the box and slipped Mackie in behind the defence. The forward had a glorious chance, but drew Macey and squared for Nelson to drive a low shot past two defenders on the line.

Songo’o’s brainless challenge on Mackie in the 81st minute killed the game off completely and ensured United could enjoy the closing stages.

They remain in the bottom two, but this result should provide encouragement that United can dig themselves out of trouble.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Eastwood, McMahon, Nelson, Dickie, Ruffels, Brannagan (Carruthers 87), Mousinho, Henry, Browne (Baptiste 63), Holmes, Mackie (Smith 87).

Unused subs: Mitchell, Long, Hanson, Obika.

Booked: Brannagan, Mackie.

Plymouth Arg (4-3-3): Macey, Moore, Edwards, P Grant, Smith-Brown (Wylde 68), Fox, Songo’o, O’Keefe, Carey, Ladapo, Lameiras (Canavan 83).

Unused subs: Letheren, Ness, C Grant, J Grant, Fletcher.

Booked: Songo’o, Smith-Brown.

Sent off: Songo’o.

Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).

Attendance: 7,332 (1,285 visitors).