GAVIN Whyte hit a sensational hat-trick as Oxford United came from behind with ten men to stun Shrewsbury Town.

The winger had opened the scoring early on, but it quickly looked a consolation strike as the Shrews hit back to lead.

Oliver Norburn converted from 12 yards after Curtis Nelson conceded his second penalty of the Easter weekend.

Ahmed Kashi was sent off for a high tackle and Greg Docherty quickly capitalised to send Town in ahead at the break.

It looked like a forlorn hope for the ten men, but out of nowhere Whyte scored twice in six minutes to send the travelling fans barmy.

United then dug in to hold on for an eighth win in a very impressive 11-game run and leave Shrewsbury still looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation battle below.

As advertised, Robinson freshened up his side, making five changes.

Jack Stevens made his full debut in place of the suspended Simon Eastwood, while Samir Carruthers was brought in to play for the first time since February.

The Sheffield United loanee was involved when United opened the scoring with their first meaningful attack, in the sixth minute.

Jamie Mackie nodded Carruthers’ scooped ball into the area down into space, where Whyte pounced to guide the ball past Jonathan Mitchell from ten yards.

It was the perfect start for a side in form, but from there the first half gradually fell apart for the visitors.

Their lead lasted only 11 minutes, as Shrewsbury were awarded a penalty.

Curtis Nelson, who gave away a penalty in the Good Friday victory against Charlton Athletic, was adjudged to have fouled Shaun Whalley in the box.

It looked harsh, but the clumsy challenge gave Norburn a chance from 12 yards which he hammered low past Stevens’s dive.

United were patient in possession, looking to draw out a Shrewsbury side who looked early for the pace of Tyrese Campbell.

The Stoke City loanee, son of former Arsenal striker Kevin, had the ball in the net just before the half-hour mark, but only after the whistle had gone for a foul on Rob Dickie.

Warm conditions in Shropshire led to a water break, but when play restarted Shrewsbury gained the upper hand when United saw red.

Kashi was the guilty party, flying in with a reckless tackle made all the worse for the loud ‘crack’ sound which reverberated around the New Meadow when his studs collided with Campbell’s shin pad.

It was the fourth red card shown to United in April – and the second for Kashi following his dismissal from the bench at Walsall.

Robinson’s side had seen out the final 35 minutes without conceding on Friday after Eastwood was sent off, but here they almost fell behind within seconds.

It took a brilliant block from Luke Garbutt to deny James Bolton, but Shrewsbury were not to be denied for long.

Campbell’s cross from the right was not dealt with and the ball deflected to the penalty spot, where Docherty had time to pick his spot.

A half-time reshuffle saw Jamie Hanson and Cameron Brannagan replace Carruthers and Jordan Graham, which saw Whyte pushed up front in a 4-3-2 system.

Before long United used their third substitution, when Dickie picked up a knock. That opened the door for Jones, who as a 17-year-old had to wear a shirt without the Singha logo.

The youngster quickly showed why United rate him so highly, coming up with an assist within 15 minutes of his introduction.

Omar Beckles should have cut it out, but Whyte anticipated the error before racing through to score.

It got even better for the travelling fans behind the goal six minutes later.

United were defending deep but Brannagan’s thump forward saw Whyte race past Waterfall and toe-poked a right-footed shot past Mitchell before celebrating with the away fans.

United then had to dig deep as Shrewsbury cranked up the pressure late on, but they have become adept at playing with ten men in recent games and survived to continue their late-season surge.

Shrewsbury Tn (3-4-1-2): Mitchell, Williams, Waterfall, Beckles, Bolton, Grant, Norburn (Laurent 54), Golbourne, Docherty, Whalley, Campbell (Okenabirhie 58).

Unused subs: Charles-Cook, Sadler, Smith, Gillead, Sears.

Booked: Grant, Laurent, Whalley, Beckles.

Oxford Utd (4-2-3-1): Stevens, Long, Nelson, Dickie (Jones 57), Garbutt, Kashi, Sykes, Whyte, Carruthers (Hanson HT), Graham (Brannagan HT), Mackie.

Unused subs: Harris, Jones, Lopes, Napa, Sinclair.

Booked: Long, Mackie.

Sent off: Kashi.

Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Staffordshire).

Attendance: 7,189 (901 visitors).