JAMES Henry’s double helped Oxford United to one of their best results of the season as Doncaster Rovers were well beaten at the Kassam Stadium.

It took until first-half stoppage time for the hosts to make their control on the game pay dividends.

Henry’s long-range effort took a deflection on its way into the net, but it will have made a squad which had been hit by illness feel much better.

Spirits were further boosted when Cameron Brannagan doubled the lead early in the second half.

United had to defend well to keep Rovers out, before Henry’s penalty put the game beyond doubt 12 minutes from time.

The victory extended an excellent run to just one defeat in a dozen games and took Karl Robinson’s side to the brink of the Sky Bet League One play-offs.

United’s preparations were upset by a sickness bug which swept through the camp.

While several players in the starting line-up were under the weather, Matty Taylor was unable to feature at all.

That meant Jamie Mackie led the line, while Shandon Baptiste dropped to the bench as Henry’s experience was preferred in a central role. His place on the right flank was taken by Mark Sykes.

Rovers set the tone for a game where both sides looked to keep the ball on the ground in the opening minute with a smart move which forced Simon Eastwood into a save.

The well-organised visitors proved tough to break down in the early exchanges, but gradually United began to find space and gain the upper hand.

Their first chance came from a set piece which fell to Mackie, who forced a save from Seny Dieng but probably should have done better from close range.

The contest was just starting to catch light when it was stopped for two United injuries.

Baptiste was all ready to come on and replace Sykes after the midfielder came off second best in a challenge, but after some lengthy treatment he was able to play on.

The restart barely lasted a minute, with Eastwood staying down after gathering a cross. Physio Amy Cranston was right on the scene as she made her way back to the bench after treating Sykes and again the goalkeeper was fit to continue.

It took time for the game to regain its rhythm, but again it was United who got on top.

They pressed high against a Rovers side who looked to play it out from the back, forcing a number of errors.

Henry shot wide from one such turnover in play just after the half-hour mark.

A minute later Tariqe Fosu, whose defensive diligence had impressed, latched on to a Sykes cross and curled a shot which brushed the outside of the far post.

United’s threat was growing, but they got a fright when Kieran Sadlier turned Brad Halliday’s centre just over the crossbar.

A second stoppage to treat Sykes and Rovers’ Reece James after a clash of heads helped lead to six minutes being added on at the end of the half.

United needed just one, taking the lead which their display had merited when Henry was found in space 25 yards out and he let rip with a shot which took a deflection on its way into the far corner.

Rovers’ task got even tougher within two minutes of the restart.

Good work from Fosu found Sykes, whose shot was blocked into Cadden’s path in the box. His low cross picked out Brannagan to sweep in a low finish.

It took some magnificent defending from John Mousinho to prevent Rovers halving the deficit within two minutes.

Reece James’s cross looked to give Kwame Thomas a certain tap-in, but the U’s skipper managed to divert the ball over the bar for a corner.

But United still looked the more likely to get the next goal.

Fosu’s dipping free-kick caused Dieng problems, while Sykes should have scored on the hour when he was found in space ten yards out, only to find the side netting after taking a touch which forced him wide.

Rovers went on to have a good spell, but hardly stretched Eastwood as United edged their way to victory.

The only sour note for the hosts was a booking for Rob Dickie, his fifth of the season which means he will now miss next week’s trip to Rotherham United.

Any lingering doubts over the points were extinguished 12 minutes from time.

After Baptiste’s cross hit Tom Anderson’s hand, referee Sebastian Stockbridge pointed to the spot on the advice of his assistant.

Dieng got a hand to Henry’s spot kick, but the midfielder mopped his brow in celebration after it found a way into the net.

United saw out the remaining minutes to seal a well-earned clean sheet to cap off a fine afternoon.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Eastwood, Cadden, Dickie, Mousinho, Ruffels, Gorrin, Henry, Brannagan, Sykes (Baptiste 68), Mackie (Agyei 87), Fosu (Hall 79).

Unused subs: Stevens, Long, Moore.

Booked: Dickie.

Doncaster Rov (4-2-3-1): Dieng, Halliday, Daniels, Anderson, James, Whiteman, Sheaf, Sadlier, Coppinger, Taylor, Thomas (Ennis 64).

Unused subs: Lawlor, Wright, Gomes, May, Kiwomya, Greaves.

Booked: Taylor, Anderson.

Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear).

Attendance: 6,861 (491 visitors).