Peter Leven scored a stunning long-range winner as Oxford climbed to fourth with victory over Port Vale.
Michael Duberry headed in his first goal for the club from Leven's corner to give Oxford the lead.
Vale levelled when Marc Richards turned in Adam Yates' cross but Leven lobbed Stuart Tomlinson from fully 45 yards to restore the hosts' advantage.
Keeper Ryan Clarke saved Richards' late penalty after the striker was felled by Duberry to seal the points for Oxford.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Port Vale manager Micky Adams told BBC Radio Stoke:
"We've gone toe to toe with one of the better teams in the league, and I don't think they were any better or any worse than we were.
"We got done by a wonder goal which I have to say, in the division, he's the only player who would have scored that.
"But the goal was avoidable. Doug Loft gave the ball away in midfield and then you have to question the keeper's starting position."