SUMMER signings Marcus Browne and Gavin Whyte got Oxford United’s season up and running with the goals in an assured Carabao Cup first round victory at home to Coventry City.

Browne’s powerful header six minutes before the break ended the U’s wait for a first goal of the campaign, before Whyte stylishly doubled the lead five minutes after the interval.

The pair – along with James Henry, who set up both goals – were among the players brought into a much-changed home side who did their prospects no harm at all.

It was a brave move from boss Karl Robinson to make so many alterations after two straight league defeats.

But it paid off handsomely against a City side who will hopefully be as beatable when they visit the Kassam Stadium in Sky Bet League One next month.

United also had the luxury of blooding 16-year-old Fabio Lopes late on as they cruised into Thursday night’s second round draw.

The teamsheet showed eight changes to the side which began Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Fleetwood Town.

On-loan goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell and Cameron Norman were handed debuts, while Browne, Whyte and 20-year-old Shandon Baptiste started for the first time.

Given the opening two league results, all the newcomers were effectively looking to stake a claim for a place in the first-choice XI.

No-one was able to stand out early on, though, in a slow burner of a first half.

A blocked Jon Obika shot was the highlight of an opening 25 minutes where there was little to excite the modest crowd.

Given the scale of the changes, it was perhaps unsurprising United were a little disjointed, particularly in attacking areas.

But as the half wore on, they gradually began to click into gear in search of the side’s first goal of the season.

City centre back Dominic Hyam was in the right place to clear Rob Dickie’s downward header at a corner out of danger, while the U’s centre back planted a header wide from another set piece.

Norman’s repertoire included a long throw that led to shots for Obika and Browne as Coventry were pushed backwards.

United were building up a head of steam, but were almost undone by a rare counter-attack from the visitors on 32 minutes.

Tom Bayliss showed neat footwork to escape United’s pressing and slide a pass in for Jordy Hiwula, whose stinging shot was well held by Mitchell.

On the touchline, Robinson fumed at the absence of an offside flag – letting the officials know he felt they had made a mistake.

But the U’s head coach’s mood improved six minutes before the break, when his side’s pressure paid off.

When Whyte had a shot blocked it looked as though James Henry was letting the ball out for a throw, but from the touchline the midfielder swung in a beautiful cross which was met at pace by Browne.

City goalkeeper Liam O’Brien had no chance in keeping the West Ham loanee’s header out from close range, as United got off the mark for the season.

It gave the hosts a lead, which they doubled five minutes into the second half.

Browne, Dickie and Obika had already fired efforts wide, before Henry again proved the man to unlock City.

The midfielder broke through the middle and timed his pass perfectly to send Whyte clear and the Northern Irishman threaded a shot through O’Brien’s legs and into the net.

United were in control, but quickly got a warning from the visitors.

A quick free-kick got Bayliss into space and from his cross substitute Jordan Ponticelli glanced a header into the net, only to look up and see an offside flag.

While City refused to lie down, United were largely in control and Robinson used the opportunity to hand Lopes a debut in the closing stages.

Mitchell’s one nervy moment came when he palmed a cross straight to Max Biamou, but the goalkeeper was bailed out by Garbutt on the line.

The clean sheet was only confirmed after a City had a second goal ruled out for offside, this time against Biamou in the final seconds.

Oxford Utd (4-2-3-1): Mitchell, Norman, Mousinho, Dickie, Garbutt, Brannagan, Baptiste, Whyte (Mackie 74), Henry (Lopes 74), Browne (Smith 63), Obika.

Unused subs: Shearer, McMahon, Raglan, Ruffels.

Booked: Norman.

Coventry C (4-2-3-1): O’Brien, Grimmer, Hyam, Davies, Brown, Bayliss, Ogogo, Sterling (Clarke-Harris 67), Hiwula (Hiwula 78), Bakayoko (Ponticelli HT), Biamou.

Unused subs: Burge, Mason, Willis, Doyle, Shipley.

Booked: None.

Referee: James Linington.

Attendance: 3,551 (1,003 visitors).