OXFORD United’s winless run was extended to eight games on a record-breaking night at the Kassam Stadium.

A club record low crowd of just 929 – the U’s first home attendance in three figures – saw a half-time lead slip as Northampton Town came from behind to win in the Checkatrade Trophy.

James Henry’s deflected 24th-minute shot gave Karl Robinson’s men the lead, which they could have extended before half-time.

But United never carried the same threat in the second half, as the visitors from Sky Bet League Two hit back.

A high-quality strike from Kevin van Veen got them level, before Aaron Pierre grabbed the winner from close range ten minutes later for Northampton, who had John-Joe O'Toole sent off in stoppage time.

United did get useful minutes in the bank for several players returning from injury and can still qualify from the group in their final game at Wycombe Wanderers next month.

But ahead of Saturday’s crunch league clash with Plymouth Argyle, this was a missed chance to find some much-needed confidence.

Simon Eastwood and Samir Carruthers made their first starts since August, while Charlie Raglan made only his second appearance in 17 months as Karl Robinson shuffled his pack.

In all there were eight changes, with Marcus Browne returning from injury on the bench, where teenage midfielder Aaron Heap was named in a squad for the first time.

Given the time some of them had been out, some rustiness was to be expected and almost proved costly in the seventh minute.

Carruthers was robbed by O’Toole on the edge of his own box and from the Town schemer’s cross Raglan deflected the ball on to the outside of the post.

Eastwood was also pressed into action by a Kevin van Veen shot, turning the ball smartly round his near post. From the resulting corner, Sam Foley headed over as Town made the better start.

United had hardly threatened in the opening 20 minutes, but took the lead with their first shot of the night.

Shandon Baptiste did well to find Henry just outside the box and his powerful shot took a deflection and flew in over goalkeeper Lewis Ward.

The goal woke the hosts up and Henry almost doubled his tally with a wayward cross which deceived Ward and struck the far post.

Henry had been one of four men booked for a melee following a foul on Sam Smith – and Town had half their outfield players cautioned before the break as they struggled after falling behind.

The impressive Baptiste should have doubled the lead ten minutes before the interval, but his 15-yard effort was saved by Ward, who also tipped over a Smith header on the stroke of half-time.

United might have been out of sight, but they simply did not get going after the interval.

A flash of quality from Van Veen levelled the scores, with the striker winning a tackle against Cameron Brannagan before curling home a beauty into the far corner from 25 yards.

Ward saved from Henry and Jamie Hanson had a shot deflected wide, but United increasingly came under pressure.

Pierre put the Cobblers in front with a cool finish when Sam Foley’s 65th-minute cross cut out the entire home defence.

Jon Obika and Browne were summoned from the bench, but the closest United came to forcing a shoot-out was Luke Garbutt’s 81st-minute effort which deflected on to the far post.

Town ran down the clock, with O'Toole dismissed for delaying a United free-kick, but there were only seconds remaining.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Eastwood, Long, Raglan, Dickie, Garbutt, Hanson (Obika 74), Brannagan, Henry (Browne 74), Baptiste, Carruthers (Mousinho 61), Smith.

Unused subs: Stevens, Nelson, Heap, Spasov.

Booked: Henry.

Northampton Tn (3-5-2): Ward, Facey, Turnbull, Pierre, Powell (Odoffin 80), O’Toole, Bowditch, Foley, Buchanan (Bridge 53), Waters, Van Veen (Williams 87).

Unused subs: Cornell, Hoskins, McWilliams, Crooks.

Booked: O’Toole, Pierre, Bowditch, Facey, Van Veen.

Sent off: O'Toole.

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset).

Attendance: 929 (117 visitors).