OXFORD United failed to build on a perfect start as Bristol Rovers hit back to win their fifth successive visit to the Kassam Stadium.

Any latecomers among the biggest home crowd since August will have missed Joe Rothwell’s smart finish in the second minute after an error from goalkeeper Adam Smith.

But the U’s were unable to capitalise on the lead, as Rovers went on to create the lion’s share of the chances.

The pressure was withstood until midway through the second half, when Kyle Bennett equalised with a low shot after a cross was not cleared.

Ellis Harrison’s smart finish ten minutes from time completed the turnaround and unlike a week earlier the U’s were unable to hit back in stoppage-time.

Wes Thomas gave United a boost by recovering from the hamstring injury which ruled him out in the warm-up a week earlier.

It allowed Fazackerley to name the same XI he picked at Charlton Athletic, with Agon Mehmeti replacing Jon Obika on the bench.

The caretaker boss wanted his side to kick on from last weekend and will have been delighted to see them pick up where they left off at the Valley.

Less than two minutes were on the clock when the hosts pounced on a scuffed clearance from Smith.

It went straight to Isaac Buckley-Ricketts, whose pass was well left by Alex Mowatt, coming back from an offside position. Instead it was collected by Thomas, who unselfishly played in Rothwell to pick out the top corner at Smith’s near post with his left foot.

It was a perfect start to reward the big crowd and Rovers’ afternoon got worse before it got better.

An injury forced off right back Daniel Leadbitter in the 11th minute.

The first touch for his replacement, Joe Partington, was to whip in a low cross which found Ellis Harrison, who mis-kicked eight yards out.

It began a busy five-minute spell where half-chances came quickly at both ends.

After Kyle Bennett fired over after a scramble, another bout of penalty area pinball in the United box saw Simon Eastwood tip over a looping header from Chris Lines.

Tom Broadbent headed the resulting corner just off target, before the U’s countered.

Rothwell exchanged passes with Mowatt on the edge of the box and only a deflection denied him a chance of adding his second goal of the afternoon.

The corner fell to Buckley-Ricketts, who lashed wide from an acute angle.

Chances dried up for United in the rest of the half, as they were pushed backwards.

The defending was not always convincing, but Eastwood was not stretched as Sinclair, Ollie Clarke and Bennett failed to hit the target with half-chances.

Rovers continued to push after the break.

Their sold-out travelling contingent cheered an equaliser six minutes after the restart, but Liam Sercombe’s looping header was an optical illusion, dropping just wide of the near post.

United just could not get a grip on the game, failing to keep the ball once they crossed the halfway line.

It invited pressure, which midway through the half yielded an equaliser.

A free-kick found Lines on the left and when United did not clear the cross, Bennett pounced on the loose ball to ram in a low shot from ten yards.

Malachi Napa, Agon Mehmeti and James Henry came on in the space of ten minutes, but unlike a week earlier, the substitutes could not make an impact.

Instead, Rovers kept coming.

United were bombarded and needed Eastwood to make an excellent finger-tip save to deny Bennett a second with a curling effort from the edge of the box.

But it only delayed the inevitable, as a tiring home side fell behind with ten minutes remaining.

Ryan Ledson and Josh Ruffels lost out in challenges before Clarke chipped in a cross which an unmarked Harrison volleyed into the net.

Mehmeti fired one shot past the post, but United were otherwise unable to exert late pressure as Rovers held on for the points.

Oxford Utd (4-2-3-1): Eastwood, Kane, Martin, Mousinho, Smith-Brown, Ledson, Ruffels, Buckley-Ricketts (Napa 65), Mowatt, Rothwell (Henry 75), Thomas (Mehmeti 71).

Unused subs: Shearer, Carroll, Dickie, Ricardinho.

Booked: Martin.

Bristol Rov (4-2-3-1): Smith, Leadbitter (Partington 11), Broadbent, Craig, Brown, Lines, O Clarke, , Sercombe, Sinclair, Bennett (Moore 90), Harrison.

Unused subs: Slocombe, Sweeney, Nichols, Gaffney, Mensah.

Booked: Bennett.

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey).

Attendance: 8,471 (1,804 visitors).