KARL Robinson was thrilled Oxford United stayed patient at Shrewsbury Town – even as time ran out to save their play-off challenge.

The U’s began the second half 2-1 down, knowing a defeat coupled with Portsmouth winning at AFC Wimbledon would put a top-six finish in Sky Bet League One out of reach.

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It took time for United to gain the upper hand, but James Henry hauled them level midway through the half before Dan Agyei scored a late third.

Robinson did not make a substitution until bringing the match-winner on 13 minutes from time and felt an earlier change was not needed, despite the scoreline.

“I’m really happy with how the players came back from a difficult place at half-time,” the U’s head coach said.

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“I thought we lost a bit of control in the middle of the park and it was important not to panic at 2-1 and make changes too soon.

“We had such a strong hold on the game that we didn’t have to twist too early.

“It was whether you bring Jamo (Henry) or Elliot (Lee) off and they combined for a fantastic goal.”

Before Shrewsbury’s Matthew Pennington and Josh Vela turned the tables, Lee finished a clinical move involving Mark Sykes and Matty Taylor to put United ahead.

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Robinson said: “Those first two goals are what we’re all about.

“The second one was about getting bodies in the box and making a nuisance of ourselves.”

It was a special day for Shrewsbury despite the result, with manager Steve Cotterill at his first game for four months after two spells in hospital with Covid-19 and Covid pneumonia.

The home boss was in the directors’ box, but could still be heard shouting instructions from the stands.

“He’s a pleasure to share a touchline with, so just to see him back in the stadium is nice,” Robinson said.

“You could put Cotts in the car park and you would still hear him.”