Rotherham United 1 Oxford United 2: Millers' momentum ended by League One's form team
It was a case of two steps forward and then one back for Rotherham United.
After impressive back-to-back victories against potential promotion rivals in the shape of Coventry and Blackpool, the Millers failed to follow it up as they were downed 2-1 by Oxford at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Tariqe Fosu-Henry gave the impressive U's, now unbeaten in seven games, the lead, but Michael Ihiekwe levelled before the break.
Millers boss Paul Warne thought his side might go on and take control after the break, but they succumbed to a Matty Taylor goal after the break to go down to a fourth defeat of the season.
Warne said: “I thought it was two very good teams. The first half was quite equal.
“I honestly thought in the second half we would go out and win but they kept their attacks going better than we did.
“In the final third the cross or the set-piece wasn't right.”
There was not a lot they could do to prevent Fosu's opener and he fired a fine effort past Daniel Iversen.
Defender Ihiekwe, stalling on a new contract, was much more decisive in his play that set up the leveller, bursting forward out of defence and then bravely getting on the end of Matt Crooks' knockdown.
But Taylor restored the lead shortly before the hour-mark when he took up position in between defenders Richard Wood and Joe Mattock to head home into the bottom corner.
There was to be no response for the Millers, who were undoubtedly not at their best, and they lost to a side Warne reckons will be promotion challengers.
“I just didn't feel like we were fluent with the ball,” he said. “Overall I am disappointed that we lost but we have lost to a very good team.
“Full respect to Karl (Robinson), I thought his team were excellent.
“The disappointing thing for me was to concede their second goal.
“Their first goal was a screamer. But for us to concede a headed goal off the smallest player on the pitch is a bit tougher.
“They're in the biggest form in the league and they have threats all over the pitch and you could see they're a good team.
“They just had a little bit more than we did in the final third.”
Rotherham United: Iversen, Olosunde, Ihiekwe, Wood, Mattock, Barlaser (Ogbene 66), Lindsay, Wiles, Crooks (Morris 72), Hastie (Lamy 77), Smith.
Unused: Price, Jones, Clarke, MacDonald.
Oxford United: Eastwood, Cadden, Moore, Mousinho, Ruffels, Henry (Long 90+1), Rodriguez-Gorrin, Brannagan, Fosu, Taylor (Mackie 86), Sykes (Baptiste 74).
Unused: Stevens, Hall, Agyei, Jones.
Attendance: 8,837 (734 from Oxford).
Referee: Scott Oldham.