OXFORD United are still waiting for their first away league win of the season, despite playing against ten men for almost 80 minutes at Burton Albion.

Debutant Jerome Sinclair’s pace was too much for John Brayford, who pulled the striker back when he was through on goal and received a straight red card.

Just 12 minutes were on the clock and United looked in good shape to go on and claim a morale-boosting victory at that stage.

They did dominate the game, but a mixture of ragged finishing, a well-organised defence and sharp goalkeeping from Bradley Collins kept United out.

And it will go down as a big missed opportunity for Karl Robinson’s side, who slipped back into Sky Bet League One’s bottom four as a result.

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Deadline-day signing Sinclair came straight into the starting line-up after impressing in training, replacing Jamie Mackie in the only change from Tuesday’s draw with Barnsley.

The Watford loanee made an inauspicious start, missing his kick and falling over in front of the travelling fans in the second minute.

United were on the front foot, though, with James Henry and Josh Ruffels forcing Collins into early saves.

Sinclair’s next contribution was much better. Chasing a ball over the top from Cameron Brannagan he was far too quick for Brayford, who pulled him back just outside the box.

With only Collins to beat, it was a simple decision for referee Brett Huxtable to flash the red card.

It gave United 78 minutes to play against ten men and they were on top for the rest of the half as the Brewers’ game plan became all about containment.

Sinclair quickly had a golden opportunity to open his United account when he was put through by an incisive Henry pass, but from 12 yards he blazed over left-footed.

It set the tone for the pattern of the game before half-time – the visitors creating chances but failing to hit the target.

Curtis Nelson volleyed wide after John Mousinho flicked on a corner from Jordan Graham, who with the following attack beat two defenders and crossed low for Dickie to fire over.

The Wolves loanee had the next chance, from a Brannagan corner, but he smashed a shot over the low stand in which the travelling fans were stood.

Given the lack of threat from Burton, U’s boss Karl Robinson replaced Mousinho and brought on Jamie Mackie to play up front alongside Sinclair.

The substitute had a good chance to make an impact seven minutes after the restart, but his first-time shot from Henry’s threaded pass was parried by Collins for a corner.

United continued to press, Burton continued to defend.

Whyte saw a shot from the edge of the box deflect just the wrong side of the post, while Brannagan volleyed wide from a similar range when a corner was half-cleared.

The hosts reached the 72nd minute before having an effort of any kind – an effort off target from Liam Boyce.

The Northern Ireland international was given a thankless task up front on his own, but he almost nicked a goal 14 minutes from time.

A short back pass from Dickie played Eastwood into trouble, but the goalkeeper raced off his line to smother Boyce, who was booked for the challenge.

Burton were inching closer towards a hard-fought point – and they had Collins to thank ten minutes from time for keeping the scores level. The goalkeeper showed incredible reactions to claw the ball round the post when Mackie’s cross was flicked goalwards by Josh Ruffels.

Henry flashed a shot wide and there was still time for Collins to make another fine save in stoppage-time, keeping out Nelson’s header to preserve the stalemate.

Burton Alb (4-3-3): Collins, Clarke, McFadzean, Brayford, Daniel, Quinn, Fraser (Wallace 90), Allen (Buxton 13), Akins, Boyce, Templeton (Harness 68).

Unused subs: Bywater, Sbarra, Miller, Hutchinson.

Booked: Templeton, Boyce.

Sent off: Brayford.

Oxford Utd (4-2-3-1): Eastwood, Hanson, Nelson, Dickie, Ruffels, Mousinho (Mackie HT), Brannagan, Whyte, Henry, Graham, Sinclair (Carruthers 79).

Unused subs: Stevens, Long, Garbutt, Kashi, Sykes.

Booked: Mousinho.

Referee: Brett Huxtable (Devon).

Attendance: 3,197 (844 visitors).