IT took 12 games - but Deane Smalley is up and running.

The Oxford United striker has been desperately trying to break his duck since joining from Oldham this summer - and last night he did, sending the U's into the third round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Southern Section with a classy strike.

Smalley raced clear in the 52nd minute, and despite offside appeals from the hosts bore down on goal.

It looked like the chance had gone when he was closed down by Anthony Straker inside the box, but a neat back-heel sold the defender a dummy and Smalley hammered a left-foot shot into the top corner from a tight angle.

Every United player ran to celebrate with him.

That goal put Chris Wilder's side 2-0 ahead, and came just three minutes after Rob Hall scored his third goal of his loan spell, and two in two games.

Hall ran at Ben Herd down the left flank, and when the defender failed to close him down, drove in from the edge of the box.

In three second-half minutes, there had been far more excitement than in the entire first period which, putting it politely, was dull.

As expected, Chris Wilder shuffled his pack from the weekend win over Hereford, making five changes.

Ryan Clarke, Paul McLaren and James Constable dropped to the bench, with Alfie Potter and Michael Duberry rested completely.

Wayne Brown, Andy Whing, Josh Payne, Asa Hall and Smalley all come into the starting XI.

Asa Hall, Damian Batt and Payne all tried their luck from distance in the first half, with Brown's only real involvement when he was forced into a comfortable save from Alex Rodman's 20-yard shot.

United knocked the wind out of Aldershot's sails with their quickfire double, and it took until the 76th-minute for the hosts to muster an attempt on goal.

And when they did, they scored - Danny Hylton heading in Rodman's free-kick.

Hylton was then inches away from equalising, but Oxford escaped and thanks partly to a couple of fine catches from Wayne Brown, United held on to go through to the next round.

Aldershot Tn: Young 6, Herd 6, Jones 6 (McGlashan 56), A Brown 5, Straker 6, Andrade 6, Pulis 6 (Guttridge 71), Collins 5, Rodman 7, Vincenti 6 (Rankine 56), Hylton 7. Subs not used: Worner, J Brown.

Oxford Utd: W Brown 7, Batt 6, Whing 6, Wright 7, Davis 7, Heslop 7 (McLaren 74), Payne 6 (Constable 82), A Hall 6, Leven 8, Smalley 7, R Hall 7. Subs not used: Clarke, Kinniburgh, Marsh. Booked: Batt.

Attendance: 1,429 (156 from Oxford).