An own goal from Ollie Turton and a strike from James Henry proved enough to see Oxford United beat Blackpool 2-0 at the Kassam Stadium.
In a match that had limited opportunities, the hosts proved clinical with theirs, which both came in the first-half, while The Seasiders’ best effort came when Liam Feeney struck the post.
Jay Spearing returned from injury to take his place in the side and was joined by Callum Guy and Nathan Delfouneso, who both made key impacts off the bench against Charlton Athletic a week earlier.
Conditions weren’t ideal for the game though, with a bitter, swirling wind and heavy showers making the opening stages difficult.
For the first 15 minutes, Blackpool were finding it hard to retain possession, with the strong winds bringing every long ball and clearance back into their own half.
Marcus Browne had an attempt with a free-kick for the hosts, sending a dipping strike over the bar, while Marc Bola’s dangerous ball across the six-yard box was intercepted prior to Nathan Delfouneso having what would have been a tap-in.
Soon after, it was Oxford who made the breakthrough. A weak defensive clearance from Marc Bola was pounced upon by James Henry and from the resulting cross, Marcus Browne put Ollie Turton under pressure, leading to the right-back nodding in at the back stick.
Blackpool tried to reply instantly, coming close to an equaliser through Liam Feeney. The former Blackburn man picked up the ball just inside the box and saw his low drive cannon back off the post.
Just prior to the interval, the hosts doubled their advantage. A counter attack through the Blackpool midfield resulted in the ball being played out to the flank, where Gavin Whyte provided the cut back for James Henry to slot in.
Half-Time: Oxford United 2 Blackpool 0
The Seasiders made a change for the second-half, with top scorer Armand Gnanduillet replacing the injured Ollie Turton. The substitution meant that Liam Feeney moved to right-back.
Chances were proving few and far between, while the home side continued to look a threat when attacking. The break up of one such attack resulted in Ben Heneghan being booked for a foul.
Blackpool’s second change came on the hour mark, which saw John O’Sullivan came on for Joe Dodoo. Five minutes later, Harry Pritchard joined him on the pitch as a replacement for Callum Guy.
It was Oxford who threatened again though, as Jamie Mackie’s curling strike was forced wide by ‘keeper Mark Howard.
With 15 minutes to go, Liam Feeney joined Heneghan in the book for preventing another Oxford counter-attack down the right.
Blackpool continued to try and muster an opportunity, however Pritchard fired over the bar from just inside the area.
Ben Heneghan then had a glorious chance to pull one back for The Seasiders, only to nod the ball back across goal for the hosts to clear.
Five minutes of added time went without any further threats for Blackpool, leaving the team to return to Bloomfield Road empty handed.
Full-Time: Oxford United 2 Blackpool 0