SAM Long praised Oxford United’s professional attitude for the way they got the job done to beat Hayes & Yeading United 2-0 and begin an Emirates FA Cup run.

The versatile defender, who switched to left back in Josh Ruffels’s absence, opened the scoring in a dominant first half.

But their hosts belied the 107-place gap in the football pyramid to transform the first-round tie into an awkward affair after the break.

United goalkeeper Simon Eastwood made several good saves against a side who played with great gusto even after Rob Hall doubled the lead.

Long’s first act after the final whistle was to seek out the U’s No 1, but overall he felt the visitors had negotiated a potentially difficult situation without much fuss.

READ MORE: Hayes & Yeading 0, Oxford Utd 2

He said: “In the first half we made it hard for them, but they changed shape and really came at us.

“Credit to them, they’re a good side. I’m just glad we were professional enough to get the job done and come away with a clean sheet as well.

“It’s a competition we’ve gone far in a few times in recent years and we want to do it again.

“Coming to tricky places like this if you’re not on it they’ll turn you over. Luckily we were.”

On the balance of play, United should have been out of sight before the interval.

While there was some poor finishing and good goalkeeping, Tariqe Fosu was unfortunate after twice striking the woodwork.

U’s boss Karl Robinson said: “Tariqe hit the bar and then the free-kick hit the post and then the keeper on the back and he rolls on to it.

“Then you think to yourself ‘uh oh, is it going to be one of those days?’ Thankfully it wasn’t.

“I thought we came off our game plan in the second and became a bit individual, but we’ve won 2-0 and are fighting on all four fronts going into December.

IN PICTURES: United's win at Hayes

“I’ve never done that in my career before and I’m sure a lot of the players haven’t either.”

The result, which netted the U’s £36,000 in prize money and put them into tonight’s second-round draw, extended their unbeaten run to the club’s longest since 1991.

Fosu said: “It’s a great result, we’re 13 games unbeaten now and we’ve got to keep it going.

“We’ve been on a good run and knew they’d like to upset us, but I think we dealt with the pressure and got the job done.”