OXFORD United crashed out the Papa John’s Trophy with a tame 2-0 defeat at Sutton United.

The home side took the lead shortly after half-time when Coby Rowe headed in from a corner, and followed that up with a Kylian Kouassi penalty.

The visitors had their chances and openings, but failed to make the lion’s share of possession count.

Karl Robinson made six changes to the side which returned to winning ways in the 4-2 win at Exeter City, as the U’s boss looked to keep partnerships in the side, including Stuart Findlay and Elliott Moore, plus Kyle Joseph and Matty Taylor.

Jodi Jones missed out on the matchday squad with a groin issue, Robinson said prior to kick-off.

The first half was light on clear opportunities, with the first falling to the hosts.

Tope Fadahunsi found space on the edge of the area and fired over from 20 yards out.

Tyler Goodrham was a bright spark for United in the opening exchanges, and played in Billy Bodin who had a shot from the edge of penalty box blocked by a Sutton defender.

With a third of the opening half gone, Taylor crashed an effort against the bar, with the ball bouncing down on the goal line.

Ed McGinty was forced into action for the first time when Kouassi struck a low effort to the goalkeeper’s left, but the 23-year-old was able to get down and gather the ball.

The home side then had the ball in the net when Joe Kizzi applied the finishing touch to a Rob Milsom free kick, but referee Sunny Gill pulled the ball back for a foul inside the penalty area.

Djavan Anderson was allowed space to attack down the right, and on 28 minutes, crossed for Goodrham, who headed narrowly wide.

Milsom hit a free kick from a dangerous position into the wall, before Goodrham hit one high and wide on the volley, as the sides went into the break level.

Three minutes into the second half, Sutton took the lead.

McGinty was forced to tip over a cross-cum-shot, with Rowe heading in from the resulting corner.

The U’s came back at the hosts, with Anderson bombing down the right before crossing for Alex Gorrin, who thundered a shot goalwards but saw the effort blocked.

A dangerous cross which arced goalwards from Kizzi nearly caught out McGinty but the goalkeeper watched the ball drop just over the bar.

On the hour mark, Robinson turned to his bench, bringing on Marcus Browne and Gatlin O’Donkor for Gorrin and Taylor.

The hosts also made a quadruple substitution but moments later, United found themselves 2-0 down.

Findlay fouled Kouassi in the penalty box, with the Sutton man picking himself up to send McGinty the wrong way from the spot.

With 69 minutes on the clock, Billy Bodin fired over the bar from a free kick in a dangerous position.

Moments earlier, Goodrham brought a save from home goalkeeper Brad House.

Robinson again looked to his bench for inspiration, with Ciaron Brown and Oisin Smyth replacing Findlay and Joseph on 75 minutes.

The introduction of Brown almost had an immediate impact.

O’Donkor rushed in down the left and saw a venomous shot blocked behind for a corner.

From the resulting set piece, Brown fired a fizzing effort goalwards through a host of bodies, but House was able to scoop the ball up.

Minutes later, O’Donkor had a shot saved by House, as the U’s desperately searched for a route back into the game.

At the other end, Enzio Boldewijn struck a free kick narrowly over the bar from 25 yards.

Luke Gambin then found space in the box and curled an effort goalwards, but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Sutton United (4-4-2): House; Boldewijn, Kizzi, Rowe, Hart (Dundas 60); Gambin, Lovatt, Milsom (Bugiel 60), Thomas (Neufville 60); Fadahunsi (Wilson 60), Kouassi.

Unused subs: Rose, Charles-Cook, Randall.

Booked: Lovatt, Bugiel.

Oxford United (4-3-3): McGinty; Anderson, Moore, Findlay (Brown 75), Seddon; Bodin, McGuane, Gorrin (Browne 60); Joseph (Smyth 75), Taylor (O’Donkor 60), Goodrham.

Unused subs: Eastwood, Mousinho, Golding.


Referee: Sunny Gill (Berkshire)

Attendance: 971 (217 away)