MICHAEL Raynes headed a dramatic winner deep into stoppage time to give Oxford United a precious win over Barnet.

The home side had dominated the game for long spells, but a lack of composure in front of goal looked costly.

A goalless draw appeared to be on the cards, before Raynes nodded in Tom Craddock's header across the face of goal, much to the relief of the home fans.

United were worthy winners, but it should not have been such a tense evening.

James Constable spurned three clear chances before the break, before setting up Alfie Potter to blaze over early in the second half.

The chances began to dry up, but Raynes's intervention claimed a vital three points.

U's boss Chris Wilder made just one change to the starting line-up from Saturday's 3-1 win at Torquay.

It was enforced, with Josh Parker coming in for the injured Tony Capaldi, while a fit-again Liam Davis had to make do with a place on the bench as Luke O'Brien was preferred at left back.

Barnet arrived in good form, but began cautiously and invited the home side to control the game from the outset.

Sean Rigg and Raynes headed early chances off target, but United grew into the game.

On 16 minutes a surge by Damian Batt created the first good opportunity.

The full back's swashbuckling run took him from inside United's half to the edge of Barnet's penalty area.

Instead of shooting he picked out Rigg, whose shot was blocked by Bees goalkeeper Graham Stack. The ball looped out for Batt, to volley just wide.

Barnet showed a real intention to play their way out at the back, which caused them problems at times on the uneven surface.

The visitors struggled to cross the halfway line in the first half, but they should have opened the scoring on 20 minutes.

A cross from the left came to Luke Gambin and the youngster fizzed a ball across the six-yard box which striker Dani Lopez somehow failed to convert.

It was the only time the Bees threatened before the break, but it served as a reminder to the home side, who quickly resumed their search for a goal.

Stack presented James Constable with a clear opening on 25 minutes when he dropped a corner, but the striker volleyed over wildly from close range.

United's joint top scorer, who netted the opener at Torquay, had another good opportunity to claim his 13th goal of the season ten minutes later.

A long throw from Scott Davies fell invitingly and this time he kept the shot on target, only to hit Dave Stephens and fly wide.

His final chance of the half came when Josh Parker beat Edgar Davids out wide and whipped in a low cross, which Constable mis-kicked.

It took the hosts just a minute after the restart to force the next opening. Constable was again involved, showing a deft touch to play in Potter, who blazed over left-footed with only Stack to beat.

At the other end Luke McCormick was brought into the game for the first time on 50 minutes.

The lively Gambin pulled a ball back to Mark Byrne, unmarked on the penalty spot, but his low shot was kept out smartly by McCormick.

As the hour mark came and went with no breakthrough the home fans began to get restless for the first time.

Deane Smalley came on for Parker midway through the half in an effort to get the hosts firing again.

Their momentum was not helped by a stoppage which lasted several minutes while the goal Barnet were attacking was repaired.

A shot from Mauro Vilhete hit the side netting and snapped the cord attaching it to the pole behind the goal.

When play resumed United again struggled to create the quality of chances they had done before the break.

Barnet grew bolder as time began to run out and had the ball in the net on 85 minutes.

A corner fell to Andy Yiadom turned and fired in, but the referee spotted a handball from the substitute.

Gambin broke the net for a second time with a volley which flew a whisker wide, leading to another unwelcome stoppage.

When play got under way again United forced a corner which yielded a chance for Whing, who could only fire wide off balance.

The game looked up for the home side, but deep into stoppage time Liam Davis was fouled out wide.

Davies's free-kick found Tom Craddock at the back post. He headed back across goal, where Raynes was on hand to bundle a header into the net.

There was still time for a nervous moment at the other end, when Batt scooped a clearance over his own crossbar.

From the corner McCormick dropped the ball but gathered to seal a dramatic victory.