DES Buckingham’s first game in charge of Oxford United ended in defeat at Cheltenham Town, in a match which saw both sides finish with 10 men.

Here, we take a look at the key talking points from Whaddon Road.

Second Robins goal

With both teams down to 10 men going into the final quarter of an hour, the hosts doubled their lead in somewhat controversial circumstances.

A long goal kick from Luke Southwood bounced through for an apparently offside George Lloyd, who managed to flick the ball on for Will Goodwin to scramble the ball home.

The FA website states there is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from a goal kick.

However, despite Lloyd collecting the ball from an offside position, there was confusion as the linesman seemed to initially raise his flag, before lowering it.

Although it may have caused confusion in the U’s ranks, the players should’ve played to the referee’s whistle – something Buckingham alluded to after the game.

He said: “He flagged like it was offside and then he put it down, and of course when the players see the flag, they stop a little bit.

“The game doesn’t stop until the referee blows the whistle is the old saying, and that’s always true.”

READ AGAIN: Des Buckingham refuses to blame officiating mix-up for defeat in first game

Rob Street red card

Before that Goodwin goal though, there was the small matter of two red cards for referee Scott Simpson to deal with.

Former Crystal Palace striker Street opened the scoring 11 minutes before half-time, but found himself seeing red two minutes into first half stoppage time.

Stephan Negru tussled with Goodwin for a high ball, with the ball then bouncing up in the air.

Negru and Street entered what looked like a straightforward 50/50, which the United defender won, however Street planted an elbow straight into Negru’s face.

Simpson was quick to get the red card out of his pocket, and the decision was very much the right one, with very little protest from the home side.

Ruben Rodrigues red card

Still trailing 1-0 and chasing a route into the game midway through the second period, the task for the U’s became more challenging when Rodrigues was given a second yellow card.

The midfielder received his first yellow 10 minutes into the second half, so knew he had to tread carefully.

However, a tussle for the ball with Ben Williams saw Rodrigues trip the defender.

Although it was possibly a harsh decision, there was again very little protest and Rodrigues should’ve been fully aware of the risks associated with committing such a challenge while on a yellow card.

Buckingham’s tactical flexibility

United began the game lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, yet that changed at half-time when Buckingham replaced Stan Mills with Josh Murphy.

The change saw the U’s switch to the 3-4-2-1 set-up seen more regularly during Liam Manning’s final few weeks at the club.

Ciaron Brown dropped from left back into a three-man defence alongside Negru and Jordan Thorniley, while Fin Stevens and Murphy operated at wing back. Billy Bodin tucked in alongside Rodrigues as the two behind Mark Harris up front.

United were arguably much better during the opening exchanges in the second half, with Murphy causing all sorts of problems on the left.

Although the U’s were unable to get back into the game, the half-time switch shows Buckingham is not afraid to make an early change, in terms of both personnel and set-up.