OXFORD United fans have spent the last week dreaming of watching Sky Bet Championship football in a shiny new stadium.

That is where the U’s want to be in a few years’ time, but the trip to Wycombe Wanderers reminded us there will be bumps in the road.

It was not just the 2-0 defeat to a noisy neighbour who were better organised and more clinical – that almost pales into insignificance compared to the hugely disappointing allegations of homophobic slurs in the away end.

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Whether anything comes of an investigation remains to be seen, but negative headlines do the club no good at a time when they are trying to show they are an asset to the community.

Wycombe supporters were hardly whiter than white, of course, and the pitch invader and fan who pushed Gavin Whyte deserve to be punished.

Maybe these incidents are what it takes to truly make this fixture a derby, but they created a hollow feeling.

In terms of the actual football, United are certainly in a blip. This is now three poor to average performances in a row, leaving them out of Sky Bet League One’s play-off places for the first time since early December.

Karl Robinson’s side have gained one point from a possible nine in 2022, scoring only once and conceding five.

In each match, the U’s have had more possession, but found themselves stifled by teams who know exactly how to set up against them.

WATCH: Highlights of yesterday's game

Other patterns have emerged, too: United again did not threaten from set-pieces, while they conceded after failing to clear a corner for the second time in a fortnight - although it took an excellent strike from Curtis Thompson.

Like the opener at Lincoln City last week, the U's left space in wide areas on the break and got punished, Brandon Hanlan putting the hosts 2-0 up.

To their credit, United started much better than at Sincil Bank and should have gone ahead during an opening 25 minutes where they were on top.

Nathan Holland was one Anthony Stewart block away from giving the visitors the lead, but Wycombe weathered the storm and were comfortable from then on.

The hosts were cohesive, streetwise and ruthless – their style is not pretty, but it has taken them top of the table.

In fairness, the Chairboys played more than they did at the Kassam Stadium in September, with Garath McCleary and Hanlan excellent.

Read also: Karl Robinson issues reminder to Oxford United players after Wycombe defeat

Meanwhile, Marcus McGuane never got into the game in the holding role, although he showed his ability with some neat touches after the break.

With Herbie Kane out for two more matches and Alex Gorrin a long-term absentee, the U's might have to blunt Cameron Brannagan's threat by sticking him in the deeper position against Sheffield Wednesday and Gillingham.

It may even be worth starting with the diamond formation just to mix it up, as United seem comfortable in it - even if had nothing to show for it yesterday.

We must remember that the U's are still seventh in the league and it has taken until January for them to lose back-to-back matches.

But you cannot deny they have lacked a spark in 2022 so far.