OXFORD United bounced back from their 5-0 thrashing at Bolton Wanderers, as they beat Port Vale 2-0.

Ciaron Brown and Josh Murphy netted the goals for United, who were in relative control for the majority of the 90 minutes.

We took a look at some of the key talking points from the game.

READ ALSO: Our player ratings after Oxford United win at Port Vale

Dropped players

In the aftermath of the hammering at the hands of Bolton, U’s head coach Des Buckingham made some bold changes to his side.

Marcus McGuane and Fin Stevens were left out of the matchday squad completely against Vale, after less than impressive displays in midweek.

McGuane was a key performer for United in the opening months of the campaign, but his form has tailed off recently, while Sam Long replaced Stevens at right back.

The U’s have an international break now, and don’t return to action until the Good Friday trip to Shrewsbury Town on March 29.

You’d imagine McGuane and Stevens will have plenty of opportunities in training now, to get themselves back into contention before the visit to the Shrews, however those involved against the Valiants did no harm whatsoever.

Oxford Mail:

Quality out wide

Buckingham has been consistent in his messaging that once he had pace and quality out wide, we’d see the best of a team in his image.

He has that now in the likes of Owen Dale, Josh Murphy and Tyler Goodrham.

All three have caught the eye at different times in the past few weeks, while both Dale and Murphy were brilliant against Vale.

Dale took a couple of games to find his feet, following his January switch from Blackpool, but now looks to have settled with some eye-catching performances of late.

The 25-year-old clearly has a good engine and drive, while in the final third, he is nippy and dangerous, and a willing crosser. He looks a great asset for United going forward.

On the other side, there is no doubt Murphy is the most important player for the U’s right now. Four goals in eight games backs that up.

The former Cardiff City wide man is oozing confidence, looks sharp, and his speed will frighten any defender.

If United finish in the play-off places this season, Murphy will have played a pivotal role in the final games of the campaign.

James Henry cameo

The 34-year-old midfielder came on after 73 minutes, and was involved in two promising moments in the final third.

Shortly after coming on, he latched onto a Cameron Brannagan pass and played a delightful low cross for Murphy, who took a touch and was thwarted by Connor Ripley.

Then, an exquisite ball over the top got Brannagan in on goal, but he hit the sidenetting.

Return of Marcus Browne

The winger has endured a season ravaged by injury, and made just his sixth appearance of the season against the Valiants.

He will surely need time to get up to speed, and with the wide players already performing, there will not be pressure on him to start games and deliver instantly.

However, he’s an added weapon for the U’s, and a game-changer who could help swing a match or two between now and the end of the season.