OXFORD United are still looking for their first point of the season after second-half goals from Luke O’Nien and Lynden Gooch.

The hosts were hampered by a host of injuries which prompted a change of formation, but never got going in a performance which lacked cohesion all across the pitch.

Breezy conditions led to a contest low on quality, but Sunderland broke the deadlock two minutes after the break.

O’Nien was in the right place to convert after Chris Maguire’s shot was sliced his way.

United continued to labour in an unusually limp performance even after they went back to their normal shape, but eight minutes from time the Black Cats put the game out of reach.

With a host of players struggling for fitness, Robinson opted to change system from a 4-3-3 to a diamond in midfield.

Matty Taylor, Mark Sykes, Sam Long and Sean Clare all started despite knocks, while the lack of options at full back saw teenager Michael Elechi promoted to the bench.

United looked all at sea early on with the new shape, with Sunderland finding space easily – especially in wide areas.

The woodwork rescued the hosts after five minutes as an unmarked Bailey Wright headed Maguire’s free-kick against the crossbar.

Taylor quickly nodded a Sykes delivery inches wide, but it was a rare bright moment going forward for a disjointed United side.

Neither side were helped by a blustery wind – and the element of chaos might have prevented the Black Cats from taking full advantage of their opponents’ lack of fluency.

United dug in and after an injury scare to Clare, they slowly began to find a rhythm in possession late in the half.

Rob Atkinson was the architect of their best moment, causing panic in the Sunderland defence as he strode forward all the way to the penalty area.

It looked all set up for the centre back to pull the trigger himself, but he opted to square for James Henry, whose low shot was saved by Lee Burge.

In stoppage time Atkinson was harshly penalised for a foul on Danny Graham inches outside the United box.

Maguire lurked ominously, but could not get the ball down again after clearing the wall.

United will have been pleased to get in at the break on level terms after their shaky start, but they fell behind two minutes into the second half.

Clare was played into trouble just inside Sunderland’s half, leaving the back four unbalanced as the counter-attack followed.

Aiden O’Brien collected the ball in the box and laid off to Max Power, whose sliced shot hit Maguire's knee and fell fortuitously to O’Nien, who fired a shot across Eastwood and into the far corner.

It was a slice of fortune, but United went on to ride their luck in the following few minutes.

O’Brien diverted Denver Hume’s shot inches wide, while the summer signing could not get a meaningful touch to convert in the six-yard box after O’Nien had skipped away from two challenges and crossed.

Robinson had seen enough by the hour mark, reverting to 4-3-3 by bringing on Dan Agyei and Joel Cooper.

Both showed flashes of promise, but the switch did not put United in control.

Sunderland continued to look the more threatening and eight minutes from time finally took a chance to double their lead.

Gooch’s finish was cool, but the U’s will feel they should have done better as he rode several soft challenges to get into the box.

It was a lead which never looked like being threatened, even with six minutes added on for stoppages.

Oxford Utd (4-1-2-1-2): Eastwood, Clare, Moore, Atkinson, Long, Kelly (Cooper 60), Sykes (Hall 84), Brannagan, Henry, Taylor, Osei (Agyei 60).

Unused subs: Stevens, Elechi, Forde, McGuane.

Booked: Kelly.

Sunderland (3-4-3): Burge, Willis, Wright, Flanagan, O’Nien, Leadbitter, Power (Scowen 62), Hume, O’Brien (Gooch 78), Graham (Wyke 70), Maguire.

Unused subs: Matthews, McLaughlin, Xhemajli, Grigg.

Booked: Power.

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).