A GOAL in each half sealed Oxford United’s place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup, at the expense of Sky Bet League Two side Grimsby Town.

Marcus McGuane handed the U’s an early lead, while substitute Billy Bodin added the all-important second goal when he headed home.

Des Buckingham made just two changes from the side which claimed a goalless draw at home to League One leaders Bolton Wanderers in midweek, as Ruben Rodrigues returned from a one-game suspension, alongside Josh Murphy, in place of Bodin and Kyle Edwards respectively.

It was the visitors who launched the first attack, when Danny Rose placed the ball wide from Toby Mullarkey’s cross after two minutes had been played.

United had their first sniff of goal six minutes later, when Rodrigues crossed for Mark Harris, who laid the ball off for Cameron Brannagan to strike over from 20 yards.

Rodrigues then saw a shot deflect over for a corner, which took a nick, before Stan Mills attempted to direct the ball goalwards with his heel, however Harvey Cartwright was able to claim the effort.

United took the lead after 11 minutes, with the move starting from a Mariners corner.

Fin Stevens headed the set piece clear, and set Murphy off down the left-hand side.

The winger ran half the length of the pitch, and brought a save out of Cartwright at his near post, however the ball dropped kindly for McGuane on the penalty spot, and the midfielder tucked it home for his first goal of the season, and just his second in total for the U’s.

Murphy then teed up Harris, whose shot from close range was thwarted by a defender, before Otis Khan fired over at the other end.

Khan then drifted in from the left, but his tame effort took a deflection and rolled into James Beadle’s arms.

Just before the half hour mark, Harris glanced a Ciaron Brown cross wide, and minutes later the Welsh striker had a shot smothered by Mariners defender Kamil Conteh.

Brown volleyed wide from 20 yards, while Harry Clifton stabbed a shot at Beadle, as the sides exchanged efforts at goal.

United were having far more of the play though, with Murphy smashing comfortably over after the ball fell to him on the edge of the box after a corner, and then Mills tested Cartwright, who claimed the ball at the second attempt.

Cartwright then produced a brilliant fingertip stop on the cusp of half-time, diverting Rodrigues’ shot away for a corner.

In the final bit of action before the interval, Mills got to the byline and sent the ball across the six-yard box, however nobody in yellow was there to capitalise.

At the break, Buckingham introduced Bodin for Rodrigues, who had picked up a needless yellow card for dissent during the first half.

Mills and Murphy continued to be the biggest threats for the U’s, and the duo combined well in the second period, when the latter played the ball across the box, although Everton loanee Mills poked off target while on the stretch.

Mills then brought a low save out of Cartwright from the left channel of the penalty box, and he then crossed for Bodin, whose powerful header brought a stop out of the Mariners goalkeeper.

With just over 20 minutes to go, Buckingham made a double switch on the wings as Tyler Goodrham and Marcus Browne replaced Mills and Murphy.

Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Beadle once again proved his worth to this United side when he thwarted substitute Donovan Wilson, who had got into space in the left channel.

The U’s doubled their advantage with quarter of an hour to go when Brannagan took the ball to the byline and clipped a cross in for Bodin, who smartly nodded beyond Cartwright.

United came close to a third goal, however Goodrham’s long-range effort was tipped behind by Cartwright, who then thwarted a Bodin stinger at his near post.

Oxford United (4-2-3-1): Beadle; Stevens, Moore, Thorniley, Brown; McGuane, Brannagan; Mills (Goodrham 68), Rodrigues (Bodin 46), Murphy ((Browne 68) O’Donkor 80); Harris (McEachran 84).

Unused subs: Eastwood, Negru, Gorrin, Smyth.

Booked: Rodrigues.

Grimsby Town (4-2-3-1): Cartwright; Mullarkey, Rodgers, Maher, Driscoll-Glennon; Conteh (Holohan 78), Clifton (Ainley 78); Pyke (Wilson 59), Hunt, Khan (Eisa 59); Rose.

Unused subs: Eastwood, Efete, Green, Waterfall, Khouri.

Booked: Hunt.

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).

Attendance: 4,149 (871 visitors).