Stronger Bristol Rovers put dent in Oxford's play-off hopes and boost their own
A physically stronger Bristol Rovers put a dent in Oxford's play-off hopes with a 2-0 win at the Kassam Stadium to leapfrog them in the table - and lifted their own hopes of a top-six finish.
Ollie Clarke struck a fine opening goal in the 17th minute, cutting in from the right edge of the penalty area past Joe Skarz and then curling a shot just inside the far post from 16 yards.
Oxford's in-form striker Conor McAleny was unlucky to see his shot on the turn from Marvin Johnson's right-wing cross smack against the post.
And on 36 minutes, the Pirates doubled their lead with Stuart Sinclair capitalising on some poor defending to fire low past Simon Eastwood for his first goal of the season.
Clarke had sounded a warning in only the second minute with a fierce 20-yard drive that Eastwood managed to parry to his left.
McAleny also went close for Oxford with a free-kick just before the break that Joe Lumley pushed over.
The U's, so short of players because of injuries they did not have a striker on the bench, made more of a fist of it in the second half. Lumley saved with his feet from McAleny, but Rovers finished comfortable winners in the end.