OXFORD United never stopped believing they could complete a remarkable turnaround at Shrewsbury Town, insists Josh Ruffels.

The left back’s header two minutes from time secured a precious 3-2 triumph for the U’s, who had found themselves two goals down with a little over half an hour played.

It sent Karl Robinson’s side third in Sky Bet League One and stretched their winning run to five games – the club’s longest in the Football League for 24 years.

United were helped by the controversial dismissal of Shrewsbury midfielder Josh Vela, who received what appeared to be a harsh second yellow card for a challenge on Marcus Browne ten minutes before the break.

The U’s midfielder then rubbed salt in the home side’s wounds by halving the deficit in first-half stoppage time.

Spurred on by Dan Agyei’s stunning equaliser, the visitors continued to probe and Ruffels felt their character shone through.

He said: “It shows how strong we are together.

"We’ve always got that belief, we know we’ve got the players to score goals.

“We had a bit of fortune with the sending off and Browney’s goal came at the perfect time, so we knew we had it in us.

“A few seasons ago we probably wouldn’t have got this win – it shows how far we’ve come as a team.

“We knew we had to bide our time but we got there in the end.”

Ruffels admitted United were unable to deal with Shrewsbury’s tricky front three of Jason Cummings, Daniel Udoh and Callum Lang in the early stages.

The latter pair each found the net to put the home side in charge after 34 minutes.

But Vela’s red card forced Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts to adopt a more conservative approach and the U’s started to gain a foothold in the game.

There was still more than half an hour to play when Agyei made it 2-2, but it looked like the hosts would hold out for a draw.

That was until Ruffels met Browne’s free-kick to spark jubilant scenes among United’s 928 travelling supporters.

The defender said: “I could see it all the way and it went straight on to my head.

“There’s nothing better when you see the fans buzzing and trying to grab you, it’s one of the best feelings you can get.”