SLAVI Spasov scored a penalty on his professional debut as Oxford United as they began the Checkatrade Trophy group stage with a comfortable win against ten-man Fulham Under 21s.

The 16-year-old was instructed to take the 86th-minute spot-kick and he converted to seal the points.

Sam Smith had given United the lead in the first half, opening his goalscoring account for the club.

A timid visiting side’s chances of getting back into the game largely evaporated when goalkeeper Toni Stahl was sent off for handling outside the penalty area early in the second half.

Ricky Holmes quickly added a second goal to make the points safe and his replacement, Spasov, made it 3-0 in the closing stages.

Despite half their outfield line-up changing from Saturday, United’s team was stronger than many thought.

Ricky Holmes was among those star names not give a night off and he rattled the crossbar on the volley in the fourth minute.

The one inexperienced player in the line-up was Fabio Lopes and on his first start he was involved in a move which led to Smith heading over James Henry’s cross.

Fulham Under 21s had yet to win a game this season and looked lightweight, especially in attacking areas where they failed to have any effort towards goal before the break.

At the other end Stahl appeared vulnerable to long-range efforts and midway through the half he flapped a Holmes effort round the post.

United’s pressure yielded a breakthrough on 31 minutes. Henry’s left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area was blocked, but it ricocheted into space for Smith to tuck a neat shot into the net from ten yards.

Stahl nervously parried again on the stroke of half-time, turning Cameron Brannagan’s swerving effort to Henry.

Stahl blocked the rebound but he only lasted six minutes after the restart.

Lopes hassled a defender into a weak header and the U’s teenager got to the ball first just outside the box, where the assistant referee adjudged the goalkeeper had handled.

Referee Craig Hicks showed a straight red card, which infuriated Stahl, who ripped his gloves off in disgust as he trudged off.

United made use of the extra space and within seven minutes Holmes had latched on to Smith’s pass and slotted in past substitute goalkeeper George Wickens to double the lead.

The winger was promptly substituted, to be replaced by Spasov for his professional debut.

The 16-year-old hit the post with one effort, but got on the scoresheet four minutes from time with a penalty after Jon Obika had been fouled.

Oxford Utd (4-2-3-1): Mitchell, McMahon, Nelson, Dickie, Garbutt, Brannagan, Ruffels, Henry (Long 79), Lopes, Holmes (Spasov 63), Smith (Obika 63).

Unused subs: Shearer, Raglan, Norman, Mackie.

Booked: None.

Fulham U21s (4-4-1-1): Stahl, Drameh, Jenz, Opoku (Mundle-Smith 77), Atkinson, Harris, Davies (Kelly 75), O’Riley (Wickens 51), Thompson, Francois, Abraham.

Unused subs: Hilton, Garrido.

Booked: Opoku.

Sent off: Stahl.

Referee: Craig Hicks.

Attendance: 1,116 (76 visitors).