OXFORD United’s worrying struggles continued as they failed to recover from a nightmare start to fall to the bottom of Sky Bet League One.

A 17th game without a clean sheet was confirmed within 46 seconds of kick-off, Callum Camps firing in the bouncing ball from 20 yards.

James Henry had a golden chance to quickly equalise, but saw his penalty saved.

While United played well for the rest of the first half, their inability to capitalise on such a spell was painfully familiar.

They were largely ineffective after the break and Fleetwood made the points safe 14 minutes from time through Paddy Madden.

It continued the Cod Army’s dominance in this fixture, but of more concern is United’s rotten form which reads six defeats in eight games.

Mark Sykes was named on the bench but failed a fitness test due to a hip problem, so he was replaced by Liam Kelly in the only change from Tuesday night’s defeat at Charlton Athletic.

There was also a change in shape from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1, but boss Karl Robinson’s best-laid plans were in tatters before he had even taken his seat.

Just 46 seconds were on the clock when Camps fired the bouncing ball in from outside the box after United had failed to clear amid the breezy conditions.

For a side already low on confidence, it was a disastrous start.

But United picked themselves off the canvas and were given a way back into the game in the tenth minute.

Matty Taylor went over in the box after a challenge from Charlie Mulgrew and while it looked soft, referee Robert Lewis pointed to the spot.

Henry stepped up to take the penalty, only to see his effort blocked by Jayson Leutwiler.

The combination of the early goal and the saved penalty might have seen the visitors crumble, but instead they went on to control long spells in the first half.

While Simon Eastwood saved efforts from Camps and Barrie McKay, United were the side asking most of the questions.

Most of their best moments came down the right, where Sean Clare got forward and combined with Henry, who was looking to make amends.

Mide Shodipo had a penalty claim which was at least as strong as Taylor’s waved away, although the visitors survived a fright of their own when the ball hit Sam Long’s right hand at the other end.

United kept pressing, though, with Shodipo coming close to an equaliser on the half-hour mark.

The QPR loanee did well to get a clean strike away as the ball bounced high on the edge of the box. Unfortunately for him it was straight at Leutwiler, who got lucky with the parry – anywhere else on target and it was probably a goal.

Half-time interrupted United’s rhythm and they looked toothless after the break.

Fleetwood did not look particularly threatening, although Danny Andrew came close to worrying Eastwood with a volley from the edge of the box which whizzed over the crossbar.

Dan Agyei and Joel Cooper were brought off the bench to give United fresh impetus heading into the latter stages.

But before either could make an impact, another substitute had taken the game away from United.

A cross from the right was not cleared and fell to Madden, who smashed a low shot in past Eastwood from ten yards.

It killed United’s challenge, with Fleetwood looking the more likely to score in the final stages.

Andrew found the roof of the net with one chance, but it hardly mattered.

Fleetwood Tn (4-3-3): Leutwiler, Edwards, Connolly, Mulgrew, Andrew, Camps (Duffy 78), Whelan, Finley (Coutts 71), Burns, Evans, McKay (Madden 71).

Unused subs: Cairns, Morris, Saunders, Holgate.

Booked: Duffy.

Oxford Utd (4-2-3-1): Eastwood, Clare, Moore, Long, Ruffels, Kelly (Agyei 74), Gorrin, Henry, Forde (Hall 85), Shodipo (Cooper 74), Taylor.

Unused subs: Stevens, Elechi, Mousinho, Sykes.

Booked: Ruffels, Long.

Referee: Robert Lewis (Shropshire).