OXFORD United blew away Burton Albion with a five-star performance to start 2021 in stunning fashion.

There were fears Sky Bet League One’s bottom side would get a new manager bounce from the reappointment of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink last night, but the visitors did not let their opponents settle.

The U’s were 3-0 up within 31 minutes, thanks to Matty Taylor’s precise lob and a pair of Mide Shodipo strikes – the first an excellent curled effort from the edge of the box.

Former United man Kane Hemmings reduced the deficit shortly before the break, but Josh Ruffels’ quickfire double, including a screamer from long range, put the game to bed.

It ensured the U’s ended the day in the top half, while a 15-minute cameo for Cameron Brannagan off the substitute’s bench was a welcome sight.

Alex Gorrin returned from suspension to replace Jamie Hanson in holding midfield, but Liam Kelly’s fifth booking of the season at Plymouth Argyle meant Anthony Forde partnered Marcus McGuane in front of the Spaniard.

Taylor was fit enough to start and came in for Dan Agyei, with the striker quickly making his mark.

United knew they had to start quickly against a team hoping to impress their new boss and they took the lead with the game’s first chance.

Josh Ruffels pumped a long ball in behind the Burton defence and Taylor reached it a touch before Kieran O’Hara, enabling him to dink it over the keeper from the edge of the box.

The striker’s ninth of the season showed United’s newfound clinical edge and they doubled the lead with a goal of real class.

The U’s broke quickly and James Henry’s cross was only headed as far as McGuane, who took his time and played the ball out to Sam Long.

The right back laid it inside to Shodipo, who curled a first-time effort into the top corner from 20 yards.

United were in total control, pressing high and moving the ball from back to front with real speed, while Burton were unable to trouble Jack Stevens.

The visitors scored their third just after the half-hour mark and once again Long claimed the assist, taking the ball on the overlap from Henry.

He cut it back into the danger area and Shodipo was on hand to tuck away his sixth of the season.

United should have made it four moments later when Taylor pressured O’Hara into mis-kicking a clearance straight to Henry, but the midfielder somehow shot wide of the open net from 30 yards.

Stevens had practically been a spectator, but he was beaten four minutes before the break after Steven Quinn was given far too much time to shoot from the edge of the box.

His strike took a deflection of Atkinson and struck the foot of the post, giving Hemmings the easiest of tasks to dispatch the rebound from close range.

Albion started the second period brighter than they had the first, with substitute Ryan Edwards sending a half-volley wide a few moments in.

United needed to score the next goal and Ruffels took it upon himself to restore the three-goal lead.

McGuane found Henry on the right and the midfielder came inside to assess his options, before laying it back to Ruffels to slam into the bottom corner from outside the box.

The U’s second unbelievable miss of the contest came seconds later as Shodipo spurned the chance of a hat-trick when he sliced Long’s low cross over from close range.

United did not have long to wait for their fifth, though, as Ruffels struck again to finish a lovely move.

Long found McGuane inside the area and the former Arsenal man gave the ball back to his teammate with a beautiful flick.

The right back sent a low cross towards the penalty spot and his fellow defender calmly side-footed home.

Karl Robinson brought on Sam Winnall and Jamie Hanson for Taylor and Forde midway through the half as United switched to a 4-2-3-1.

His next change proved very popular as Brannagan completed his comeback from a serious eye problem, replacing McGuane, while Obita came on for Shodipo.

There were few chances in the closing stages, other than Burton substitute Charles Vernam striking the top of the bar from a counter-attack.

Burton Albion (3-5-2): O’Hara, Brayford, O’Toole, Wallace, Akins (Lawless 82), Bostwick (Eardley 82), Daniel, Gilligan, Quinn (Edwards 46), Hemmings, Powell (Vernam 58).

Unused subs: Gallacher, Vassilev, Garratt.

Booked: Quinn.

Oxford United (4-3-3): Stevens, Long, Moore, Atkinson, Ruffels, Gorrin, McGuane (Brannagan 75), Forde (Hanson 65), Henry (Hall 84), Taylor (Winnall 65), Shodipo (Obita 75).

Unused subs: Eastwood, Agyei.

Booked: Referee: Peter Wright (Merseyside).