Oxford manager Karl Robinson hailed hat-trick hero Gavin Whyte after his 10-man side hit back in style to win 3-2 at Shrewsbury.
Oxford trailed 2-1 at the break and were also down to 10 men following the dismissal of midfielder Ahmed Kashi, sent off for a challenge on Tyrese Campbell.
But Robinson’s in-form side stormed back in the second half and Northern Ireland international Whyte twice raced clear to complete his hat-trick and earn Oxford, now up to 11th in the table, three more points.
“He’s a quality player,” said Robinson. “We took a big chance on him in the summer, paid a bit of money for him and that’s certainly probably one of the best deals I’ve ever made in relation to a football club.
“He’s performing, he’s fantastic, you’ve seen today. He’s electric, the little man.”
Whyte gave Oxford an early lead but then, either side of Kashi’s red card, Shrewsbury struck twice to ensure they led at the break.
Skipper Ollie Norburn equalised from the penalty spot after Shaun Whalley was upended by Curtis Nelson before Rangers loanee Greg Docherty drove the hosts in front.
The visitors made light of their numerical disadvantage in the second half and the lively Whyte finished clinically twice more, his winner coming in the 78th minute, to make it eight wins and 26 points from Oxford’s last 11 matches.
Robinson said: “I think we’ll be one of the best form teams in the country in all four leagues at this moment in time.
“It’s an amazing achievement. I think it’s something like 25, 26 points from 11 games. That’s an unbelievable return by the group.”
The defeat leaves Shrewsbury in 16th, four points clear of the relegation zone with two games left, the next at Coventry on Sunday.
“It’s a real tough one to take in and analyse,” said Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts.
“Obviously disappointment’s the biggest one, 2-1 up at home you’re expecting to go on and at least see the game out, especially the way we’ve been playing recently.
“The second half we never got going. We never got any tempo and I tried to make a couple of changes just to try and get some spark into the game – and we just got caught with two long balls really and slight lapses of concentration.
“But ultimately we never moved the ball second half, we didn’t get the ball moving wing-back to wing-back which is what we speak about and we try and do all the time to really stretch the opposition.
“We ended up being far too passive as well and even then it’s still taken two disappointing bits of defending for us to somehow lose the game.”