SUNDERLAND boss Lee Johnson said Oxford United's coaching staff 'didn't come out smelling of roses' as their Sky Bet League One clash got ugly.

Off-pitch incidents dominated as the hosts won 3-1 at the Stadium of Light, with Karl Robinson alleging that U's goalkeeper Jack Stevens was headbutted in the tunnel at half-time.

United's head coach was then sent to the stands by referee Trevor Kettle after Aiden McGeady controversially put Sunderland 2-1 up nine minutes from time.

U's midfielder Cameron Brannagan conceded a free-kick 25 yards out and was still on the floor when the hosts took the set-piece quickly, with Lynden Gooch finding his teammate to curl home.

Tempers flared again after Max Power celebrated his 94th-minute strike in front of the United bench, leading to further clashes at the final whistle.

And Johnson claimed it was not all one-way.

He said: “He’s (Robinson) got to be careful, I’ll tell you that.

"There are always two sides to any story.

"Let me tell you, there was a lot of Oxford staff that didn’t come out of it smelling of roses, let’s just say that."

Robinson said Kettle had missed the half-time fracas, with the official not taking any action at the time.

The U's manager was not present for the incident itself and neither was his opposite number.

Read the match report here

Johnson added: “I didn’t see what happened at half-time.

"I was in the toilet, waiting for the boys in the dressing room wondering where everybody was.

"It was probably a good thing because I would have been like Scrappy Doo in there.”

The Black Cats boss sought to play down the incident and was keen to move on.

He told the Northern Echo: “Look, it happens all the time, especially in a condensed area.

"It was handbags a lot of it.

"It happened at the end as well, which is not ideal, and I think that one was provoked, to be honest with you.

“As a football club, I want us to act with class, but I also want us to look after each other when there’s moments.

"Today, we had to look after each other in that tunnel because it was an incident that wasn’t great to see, but at the same time, probably not worth being blown out of proportion because not a lot happened.”