OXFORD United had a mixed night of form and fitness in the Checkatrade Trophy as they let slip a 2-0 lead to draw at home to Brighton & Hove Albion Under 21s.

The Seagulls’ youngsters, who fought back to make it 2-2 with goals from James Tilley and Dan Mandriou, were flawless in the resulting penalty shoot-out, which they won 5-4 to claim the bonus point which keeps Group G open with one game remaining.

On top of the disappointment at failing to close out the victory, United also lost Agon Mehmeti to a hamstring injury.

On the flip-side, Gino van Kessel was among the positives for the U’s, scoring twice, while James Roberts, Josh Ashby and Xemi were among those to clock up useful game time.

The Curacao international’s haul ended his six-game wait for a goal, which came as a boost.

He said: “It’s always good for the self-confidence to score some goals, even if it’s in this cup, because it’s still an official game.

“They (Brighton) had some good players who could make a difference, but we had to play better. We took it too slow sometimes, especially at 2-0.

“They saw their chance and they took it.”

He added: “I got two goals and maybe in the second half if we had played a bit faster I could get some more chances and score my third one.

“But we didn’t do it and we drew.”

The first goal took a deflection on its way into the net, but the forward is definitely claiming it.

“It got a little touch, but the ball was going in anyway,” he said.

Not many can say they saw it, though, with 1,074 spectators United’s second smallest home attendance on record.

The other low point was the sight of Mehmeti being carried off after only eight minutes, with the club fearing a long lay-off.

Derek Fazackerley, United’s assistant head coach, said: “The way he pulled up it looked quite a bad one, so that’s a big disappointment for us.

“I haven’t spoken to him, but it will probably be some considerable time (before he returns).”

He added: “It’s always a bit of a downer when you’re 2-0 up and get pulled back to 2-2.

“But there were some good things to come out of the game – Gino getting a couple of goals, Ashby and James Roberts getting on the pitch.”