TOM Craddock scored four times as Oxford United put Accrington Stanley to the sword in a one-sided encounter.

The striker netted a first-half hat-trick to put the U's firmly in charge before adding another goal after the break.

Alfie Potter completed the scoring 12 minutes from time to give United a much-needed confidence boost after a poor run.

U's boss Chris Wilder made five changes to the side which lost 3-0 at Port Vale on Monday.

Only one was enforced, with Michael Raynes replacing the suspended Jake Wright.

Andy Whing, Lee Cox, Tony Capaldi and Alfie Potter also started, while Jon-Paul Pittman and Peter Leven were fit enough to make the bench.

The home side had lost seven of their previous nine league games, but did not look like a side low in confidence.

The tone was set in the fourth minute, when Craddock chased a lost cause and charged down goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin's clearance.

It began a 30-minute spell in which Stanley barely got out of their half, as United dominated.

Craddock had already had one effort saved by Dunbavin by the time he opened the scoring on 12 minutes.

Cox's ball into the box was headed on by Raynes and James Constable set up his strike partner to drive a shot in from ten yards.

The front two combined superbly and Constable should have made it 2-0 with the next clear chance, but Dunbavin blocked his left-footed volley from close range.

Craddock's second goal arrived shortly afterwards, when he took advantage of some more poor defending.

The visiting back four left a ball over the top for Dunbavin, but the United striker got to there first and after taking an age to pull the trigger his shot snuck in at the near post.

United saved their best move for the third goal, in the 36th minute.

A smart move down the left released Capaldi on the overlap and his low cross caused chaos in the Stanley defence. Constable was again thwarted by Dunbavin, but Craddock was on hand to despatch the rebound high into the net.

It completed the first hat-trick for United since Jack Midson's haul at Torquay United in January 2011.

Stanley's only serious effort on goal before the break came two minutes later, when Lee Molyneux's powerful shot was tipped on to the post by Ryan Clarke.

The visitors threatened to make a game of it after the restart.

Top scorer Padraig Amond was twice denied by Clarke in quick succession to preserve his clean sheet.

Craddock had a glorious chance to score his fourth of the afternoon on 54 minutes. The striker ran on to a fantastic through ball from Cox, but hesitated and allowed Rob Atkinson to make a tackle.

United played within themselves for long spells in the second half but it was still more than enough to stay on top.

With 19 minutes remaining they extended the lead with another goal from Craddock.

This time he owed everything to Constable, who dribbled past his marker and unselfishly set up the man of the match to roll a shot past a flat-footed Dunbavin.

Potter got in on the act seven minutes later, converting a Leven cross for his fifth goal of the season.

The final stages were processional, with United content to run down the clock and savour a job well done.

United: Clarke, Whing (Chapman 81), Raynes, Mullins, Capaldi (O'Brien ht) Potter, Cox, Forster-Caskey (Leven 69), Rigg, Constable, Craddock.

Unused subs: Heslop, Pittman, Brown, Worley.

Accrington: Dunbavin, Winnard, Atkinson, Molyneux (Liddle 67), Lindfield (Dixon 55), Schofield (Murphy 55), Joyce, Mingoia, Boco, Sampson, Amond.

Unused subs: Dawber, Miller, Hatfield, Whichelow.

Referee: Darren Deadman.

Attendance: 5,403 (96 visitors).