GAVIN Whyte savoured an unforgettable first hat-trick in professional football to seal a very happy Easter for Oxford United.

The winger, who had not scored since December, secured a 3-2 win against Shrewsbury Town which will guarantee a top-half finish in Sky Bet League One.

It is more than two years since the last U’s treble – Conor McAleny against Bury – but Whyte’s haul was made all the more impressive by the fact two of them came while United were down to ten men.

READ MORE: Shrewsbury 2, Oxford Utd 3

Only last week boss Karl Robinson had raised concerns about the 23-year-old’s ‘chronic fatigue’.

Bu the Northern Ireland international ran Shrewsbury ragged to spark wild celebrations among the travelling fans.

He said: “I got a day off on Friday so I was ready for this. The gaffer just said ‘give me what you have’ and I did that.

“The fans were brilliant, they come out in their numbers every week and I just want to say fair play to them.

READ MORE: U's comeback 'fuelled by anger'

“This was a very special day, getting a hat-trick in front of that support. It’s one I’ll never forget.”

Whyte was pushed up front in the second half after Ahmed Kashi’s red card with instructions to make the most of what came his way.

The third goal was particularly striking, coming from a clearance by Cameron Brannagan from within United’s penalty area.

He said: “The gaffer said get on the slowest man which was the middle man, so I knew if the ball broke I’d beat him in a race.

GALLERY: Pictures of United's win

“My last touch was a bit dodgy but I still knew I was going to get there before him.

“I actually toe-poked it.”

The victory was United’s eighth in an 11-game run where no-one in League One has picked up more points.

And this was the third game this month where they won with ten


Whyte said: “That’s the thing about this team, we can play anyone with ten men and we’ll always come back fighting.

“I think we were brilliant in the second half.

“We came in at half-time and the gaffer changed it around a bit. We knew what we had to do.

“It just shows the spirit of this team. We’ve shown it over the last two months.

“We’ve got something special here and we’re building on it.”