KARL Robinson bemoaned Oxford United’s finishing as their longest winless run for four years continued with a home defeat to Northampton Town.

But the U’s head coach said the 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy loss – their eighth game without success – would be an easy one to shrug off, as he admitted to having one eye on Saturday’s crunch basement clash in Sky Bet League One.

The hosts would have loved to halt their winless run ahead of the meeting with Plymouth Argyle – and looked set to do just that when James Henry put them ahead.

But in front of a record low crowd of 929, United failed to make the most of a strong spell before half-time and the League Two visitors hit back to win with strikes from Kevin van Veen and Aaron Pierre.

Not for the first time this season, Robinson was left unhappy at the inability to take chances.

“It’s typical of us going forward, we just don’t seem to get a second goal,” he said.

“It just shows you, we have chance after chance and they score one from 25 yards in the top corner.

“Our lads can’t score from three yards. It’s the things everybody knows, I can’t come out and make something up – these are just the facts.”

He added: “You can’t magic someone to score goals.

“I’ve been very brutally honest with one or two players in there, but you can’t change them.

“I’ve got a few questions I need to ask internally over certain things, but the players need to understand Saturday was always the objective.”

Robinson made eight changes from Saturday’s goalless draw at Southend United.

Simon Eastwood and Samir Carruthers started after injuries, while Marcus Browne came on in the second half after a spell in the treatment room.

According to the U’s boss, all three substitutions were planned before the game, with the aim of getting players ready to face the Pilgrims.

The U’s boss said: “I don’t like losing Monopoly, let alone football matches, but it is one of those ones I will shrug off.

“The most important thing is we’ve got through it with no injuries and we have some big decisions to make for Saturday.”

Carruthers was one of those involved in the substitutions, getting an hour under his belt before he was replaced in his first start since the opening day of the season.

He said: “I’ve only had about four or five training sessions so it was a positive I got to the hour with no injuries, made a few tackles and got kicked a few times.

“Mentally for me that was good and hopefully that’s fitness added, but obviously I’m disappointed with the result.

“You never want to lose, especially in the manner we did after going a goal up.”