Josh Payne scored his first Oxford goal to get Chris Wilder's men back to winning ways after two defeats in a row with a 3-1 victory over Northampton. The midfielder, who is on a three-month loan from Doncaster, curled in a brilliant free-kick from nearly 25 yards on the stroke of half-time.
Oxford were given the perfect start with winger Alfie Potter firing home left-footed in only the fourth minute. But Northampton, themselves looking to bounce back after four straight defeats, were back on level terms within 12 minutes as Liam Davis got free on the left to chip a cross to the far post where Leon McKenzie headed powerfully home.
After Payne's free-kick had restored Oxford's lead, Cobblers pushed hard for a second goal in the second half, and Kevin Thornton missed a golden chance, shooting wide on the turn from close range after 66 minutes. But a stoppage-time penalty, converted by Tom Craddock, sealed their fate after John Johnson brought down Simon Clist, and was red carded.