Rochdale were beaten at the Crown Oil Arena for the first time in 12 league games, as Oxford United scored twice in each half to run out 4-0 winners.
Marvin Johnson opened the scoring inside 20 minutes with a deflected effort, before his clever back-heel found Rob Hall who doubled the lead 11 minutes later.
Ryan Taylor scored eight minutes after half-time to make it three, before Ryan Ledson’s spectacular effort completed the scoring late in the second half.
There were four changes from last weekend, as Scott Tanser, Jamie Allen, Andy Cannon and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing all returned to the starting line-up.
The two sides exchanged early efforts from range, as Chris Maguire’s left foot shot was held by Conrad Logan, before Allen fired wide after space opened up in front of him.
The visitors grabbed the opening goal in the 18th minute, when an Oxford corner fell to Johnson on the far edge of the area. He took the ball down on his chest and fired a left foot shot low into that far corner. The effort took a deflection off Tanser, who had sprinted out to close Johnson down, leaving Logan helpless as the ball flashed past him.
Oxford enjoyed a strong spell following their first goal as Hall forced Logan into a save after breaking into the left side of the area, before curling another effort wide.
However, with his third effort in quick succession he doubled his side’s lead. Johnson broke down the left channel to the by-line, where he back-heeled the ball into the path of Hall. With a first time effort, Hall cushioned the ball into the back of the net with his left foot to leave Dale with an uphill task.
Keith Hill’s side responded well enjoyed the better of the play before half-time. A one-two between Ian Henderson and Mendez-Laing led to the former crossing to the back post for Cannon, whose shot was held by Simon Eastwood.
Tanser drilled an effort just wide from outside the area after a nice layoff from Camps, before Logan was forced into a save by Taylor at the other end.
Tanser had another couple of efforts blocked and Henderson fired well over from range in the build-up to a half-time which saw Dale make a double substitution.
Peter Vincenti made his first appearance since September after an injury layoff, whilst David Owusu came onto make his Rochdale debut. They replaced Cannon and Andrew as Dale tried to force a way back into the game.
However, it was the visitors who had a golden chance to grab the next goal shortly after the break through Curtis Nelson. Former Dale man Phil Edwards cross low from the right to the far post, where Nelson looked certain to tap home, before he skewed wide.
Henderson had a couple of sights of goal, firstly sending an acrobatic effort over from Mendez-Laing’s cross, before volleying a dropping ball well over from close range.
The visitors did grab their third goal in the 53rd minute through striker Taylor. They played a short corner before crossing to Taylor at the near post, who acrobatically volleyed past Logan.
Jim McNulty was forced off due to injury after the hour mark with Niall Canavan replacing him as Dale’s third and final substitution.
Vincenti forced Eastwood into a save to his left after he met Rafferty’s cross with his head, before Taylor had a great chance to double his tally for the visitors. He latched on to a ball over the top of the defence and took a touch before shooting, but Logan was out quickly to save with an outstretched leg.
The U’s added a fourth in the 73rd minute thanks to a fine effort from Ledson. Logan had taken a free-kick on the right side of his area, but his pass to Tanser was cut out by Ledson. The midfielder controlled the ball before firing into the empty net from 30 yards out.
Joe Skarz’s shot from distance was held by Logan, before substitute Kane Hemmings turned a cross from Maguire just wide of the near post as the game came towards a finish, with Dale suffering their first league defeat at home for 12 games, a run stretching back to August.