Oxford United had a nightmare at Grays on Saturday, as they lost in embarrassing fashion a game that they had dominated.

They missed at least five gilt-edged chances as they trailed to a sucker punch just before half-time.

And then, as they came under a rare spell of pressure right at the end, Billy Turley went as close to throwing the ball into his own net as it's possibe for a goalkeeper to do.

Wasteful in front of goal to an embarrassing degree, the U's were punished when the Blue Square Premier strugglers scored.

Even then, having missed four wonderful scoring opportunities before the break, United continued to make good opportunities but substitute Jamie Guy couldn't put the ball in the net even when b reaking clear.

And the seal was set on a dismal defeat when Sam Sloma pumped a high ball up into the sky three minutes from the end. Turley was not under any pressure, but looked over-confident and the dropping ball bounced off his chest and rolled over the line.

It was an horrendous blunder.

But Turley wasn't responsible for this wretched Oxford United defeat. The strikers, and others who coluldn't put the ball in the net at the other end, should take just as much blame.

Darren Patterson moved Joe Burnell into central midfield and brought back fit-again Barry Quinn at centre back.

Eddie Hutchinson dropped to the bench, but the U's boss kept with James Constable, despite thoughts of dropping him after his bad miss against Dorchester.

Quinn was involved in the thick of it immediately, with two important headed clearances, but it was not long before the visitors started to impose themselves.

Indecision by Grays left back Damien Batt let in Sam Deering in the third mninute. Deering seemed at first unsure whether to shoot or pass, and his effort was turned for a corner.

It was hard to understand how the Essex side had only conceded nine goals in eight home games because they looked very poor at the back. Next it was Gavin Davies's turn to offload a sloppy pass straight across the edge of his penalty area to Deering, who ran on and shot wide.

Grays had a brief moment of attacking threat when lively right winger Ishmael Welsh burst past Phil Trainer and Chris Carruthers on a sudden burst, but when the ball was crossed long to Sam Sloma, arriving beyond the far post, he couldn't do anything with it.

From that moment on, for the rest of the first half, Oxford dominated, but they squandered three great chances.

First Matt Day's long throw-in bounced high over several defenders to Trainer, but he nodded over the bar from three yards.

Constable worked himself into a good shooting position, yet saw his drive deflect wide.

Then, from an excellent Deering corner, Quinn came steaming in at the far post but could nolt keep his header down, and powered it over.

Probably the best opportunity, though, came just before the half hour when Lewis Haldane charged through the middle and had only the keeper to beat. He choose to shoot early, and David Button saved with his legs.

Constable was not moving that well, maybe a legacy of his midweek trip to southern Italy, and some moves broke down simply because the ball was being lost when played through to the front men.

Having missed so much in front of goal, there seemed a certain inevitablility to Grays scoring just before half-time from their first real effort on goal.

The pacy Welsh darted past Willmott to get to the bye-line, cut it back, and Scott Forrester side-footed home with Quinn, wrong-footed, unable to prevent him.

The second half began with Haldane getting caught offside yet again, and Constable going close.

Trainer delivered a good cross from the left and Constable turned it goalwards, with Button getting down to save.

Grays centre back Jamie Stuart was angered by the clash he'd had with Constable and the ref had to break them apart.

Deering delivered another telling centre, this time from the right, and Constable met it with a low header which the keeper saved down to his right.

U's fans behind one goal at the Recreation Ground were unhappy that Haldane gave up chasing after one lost cause, though the blame should have been directed as much at Constable for an initial poor pass.

Midway through the second half, Darren Patterson threw on Jamie Guy and Yemi Odubade for Burnell and Constable, and some supporters chanted "you don't know what you're doing" as sign of their displeasure at the top scorer being taken off, though he had been looking leggy.

Adam Murray broke up play and was desperately looking for Guy to stay onside to thread a pass through, but the sub couldn't manage it.

On 75 minutes, the chance to level was on a plate for Guy - although it was all his own work - after he broke through past two challenges and raced through with only the keeper to beat.

He had chances to shoot but opted to try to go around the keeper, yet couldn't, and Button saved.

Grays brought on Jamie Slabber near the end and that put them on the front foot.

Billy Turley had to make two good saves, and Willmott almost put into his own net, when he got his head on a Grays corner, but Turley saved.

The keeper's worst moment was yet to come.

Oxford Utd: Turley; Day, Quinn, Willmott, Carruthers; Deering, Murray, Burnell (Odubade 65), Trainer; Constable (Guy 65), Haldane (Hutchinson 90).