JORDAN Graham’s wonder free-kick helped Oxford United record a long-awaited first away league win of the season.

The winger’s sublime 40th-minute effort – his first senior goal since December 2015 - helped get the better of Blackpool, who piled on the pressure after the break.

Victory also helped United climb out of the Sky Bet League One relegation zone as they produced a gutsy and brave performance at Bloomfield Road.

Graham’s free-kick was worthy of winning any game and it could turn out to be a huge moment as it, for now, offered a glimmer of light at the end of what had been a gloomy week.

Karl Robinson made five changes from the side which lost 4-2 at Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.

The U’s boss had previously hinted at trying Luke Garbutt, signed as a full-back, in a more attacking role and the Everton loanee was handed a start on the left-hand side of a midfield four.

Jerome Sinclair also returned up front, with Jamie Mackie and Marcus Browne side-lined with hamstring injuries.

Rob Dickie came back into the heart of United’s defence, allowing John Mousinho to move into midfield, with Sam Long handed a start at right back in place of Jamie Hanson.

With Cameron Brannagan serving the first of his two-match ban, top-scorer James Henry was also recalled in midfield, while Samir Carruthers was named among the substitutes.

United headed into the fixture still searching for their first away league win of the season – their furthest run without a victory on the road since 1967/68.

Blackpool’s first sight of goal arrived on 11 minutes, goalkeeper Simon Eastwood comfortably saving a deflected Harry Pritchard effort from the edge of the box.

Both sides began cautiously and suffered nervy moments at the back.

Garbutt’s long boot forward launched a United counter and Curtis Tilt let the ball bounce twice, before he was forced to hold off Sinclair and hack clear.

United were equally jittery at the other end as Eastwood came flying out for a Donervon Daniels cross which sailed over his head, before Graham’s sliced clearance luckily fell to Long who headed clear.

Blackpool were dominating possession and Daniels rampaged down the right again before firing high and wide after cutting inside.

But United, who had spent long periods of the half absorbing pressure, went on to create the first real chance on 28 minutes and it came from a set-piece.

Garbutt sent a long free-kick towards the back post where Dickie rose highest but sent his header the wrong side of Howard’s post and into the side-netting.

The chance seemed to lift United and Mark Sykes twice went close from outside the box.

The midfielder’s first effort bounced just in front of Howard, who could only fumble the ball out for a corner.

Blackpool struggled to clear their lines, presenting the Northern Irishman with another chance to try his luck from range, but this time Howard was equal to his powerful curling effort.

United were really growing into the game and a moment of magic put them ahead five minutes before the break.

Tenacity saw Garbutt win a free-kick 25 yards from goal and Graham stepped up to whip the ball up and over the wall and into the top corner, leaving Howard grasping at thin air.

It was the winger’s first goal for the U’s and what a strike it was.

United needed to be on their guard at the start of the second half as Blackpool searched for an equaliser.

Dickie and Mousinho both made interventions to keep the hosts at bay, while Josh Ruffels did brilliantly to head clear ahead of the tall figure of Armand Gnanduillet.

The hosts continued to pile on the pressure and should have levelled on 58 minutes, but Tilt headed Nick Anderton’s free-kick over the bar from five yards out.

United were ahead, but they were going to have to dig deep to earn their first away league win of the season.

The visitors were still a threat going forward themselves and the hard-working Sinclair collected Long’s pass, before turning Tilt and firing harmlessly wide.

With the hosts pushing for an equaliser they were leaving themselves exposed at the back and Garbutt profited to break into the area, only to be denied by Howard.

United had introduced Ahmed Kashi with 21 minutes to go to help see out the game and the visitors continued to keep the Tangerines at bay.

For all their possession, the hosts were unable to really test Eastwood, with substitute Jordan Thompson blazing over the best chance with a minute of normal time to play.

Blackpool continued to search for a goal and won a corner in the fifth minute of stoppage time which saw keeper Howard go up, but Dickie was on hand to clear and the referee’s full-time whistle brought jubilant celebrations.

Blackpool (4-4-2): Howard, Daniels, Heneghan, Tilt, Anderton (Nottingham 81), Pritchard, Spearing, Turton, Evans (Thompson 65), Gnanduillet, Long (Dodoo 72).

Unused subs: Mafoumbi, Delfouneso, Kirby, Shaw.

Booked: Tilt, Spearing, Heneghan.

Oxford Utd (4-1-4-1): Eastwood, Long, Nelson, Dickie, Ruffels, Mousinho, Graham (Kashi 69), Henry (Hanson 88), Sykes, Garbutt, Sinclair (Smith 90+1).

Unused subs: Stevens, Carruthers, James, Lofthouse.

Booked: Sinclair, Ruffels.

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne and Wear).

Attendance: 4,003 (818 U’s fans).