OXFORD United striker Matty Taylor bagged a late winner as Southend United slumped to a sixth successive defeat this afternoon.

The struggling Shrimpers seemed set for a share of the spoils when the fit-again Lewis Gard cancelled out James Henry’s early penalty in his first game back from a long-term injury.

But Taylor’s 84th minute strike handed the hosts a 2-1 win and extended Sol Campbell’s side’s winless streak.

Oxford broke the deadlock in the 16th minute, with Henry on target from the penalty spot.

Referee Lee Swabey pointed to the spot after Blues’ on loan goalkeeper Patrik Gunnarsson had clearly pulled the shirt of Taylor after failing to gather a right wing cross.

And Henry made the most of the opportunity as he confidently slotted his 12 yard shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Blues replied with Stephen McLaughlin having a long range free-kick parried to safety by Oxford goalkeeper Simon Eastwood and, in the 41st minute, Charlie Kelman saw a close range effort ruled out for offside.

But the Shrimpers remained on top and drew back level on the stroke of half-time with Gard on target.

The fit-again midfielder – who had been out since October 2018 with a cruciate ligament injury - reacted sharply after Eastwood had kept out Rob Dickie’s inadvertent effort from Tom Clifford’s left wing cross and gleefully stabbed the ball home from close range.

After the break, Eren Kinali’s 25 yard shot was smartly saved down to his left hand side by Eastwood before the Oxford shot-stopper tipped a looping header from Charlie Kelman over the crossbar.

Moments later and, with 63 minutes on the clock, Blues made their first change of the afternoon with Sam Barratt replacing McLaughlin before a second alteration followed in the 70th minute with Isaac Hutchinson coming on for Gard.

However, Oxford soon threatened with Dan Agyei firing into the side-netting from a narrow angle before the Shrimpers made their final change in the 76th minute with Brandon Goodship coming on for Terrell Egbri.

Shortly after the change, Charlie Kelman did well down the left hand side before sending a low shot straight at Eastwood but Oxford soon got back on top with Henry shooting straight at Gunnarsson from 20 yards.

But the hosts were not to be denied and, six minutes from time, they bagged what proved to be the winning goal as Taylor turned sharply to send a close range effort into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

And the Shrimpers suffered further frustration late on with a groggy looking Mark Milligan leaving the field as the visitors ended the afternoon with 10 men.