OXFORD United were unable to stage another late show at the Kassam Stadium as Lincoln City held on for victory in Sky Bet League One.

Cameron Brannagan’s penalty midway through the second half gave the hosts hope after Tom Hopper and Anthony Scully put the Imps 2-0 up at the break, the latter scoring for the fifth successive game against the U’s.

United struck in the 93rd minute in their first two home matches of the season, but this time they could not turn possession into goals.

The U’s have now suffered back-to-back defeats and badly need a positive result when they host Morecambe at Grenoble Road on Saturday.

Karl Robinson made just one change to the line-up that started at Bristol Rovers on Saturday as Lewis Bate came in for his first league start.

The Leeds United loanee began in midfield as James Henry dropped to the bench, with Marcus Browne moving to the right wing. Matty Taylor made his 150th U’s appearance up front.

The first chances came down that side, but they went Lincoln’s way rather than United’s. Max Sanders and Scully both found space on the edge of the penalty area, with one shooting straight at Simon Eastwood and the other firing high and wide.

United were moving the ball quicker without creating much in the final third as their wait for a first-half goal this season continued.

Stuart Findlay sent a looping header goalwards that Jordan Wright punched clear while being fouled by Taylor, before Billy Bodin fired wide of the near post after the U’s won the ball high up the pitch.

The latter chance came in the 20th minute and 60 seconds later Lincoln led through a soft goal. Scully cut inside and curled a cross towards Hopper, who was left unmarked to nod past Eastwood from six yards.

Bodin then headed a tough chance straight at Wright from Taylor’s cross, but the U’s had fallen flat after the goal.

Marcus McGuane did his best to inject some energy in midfield, although United’s desperation to equalise led to bookings for Steve Seddon and Taylor.

Brannagan curled just wide in the 41st minute after the U’s won possession high up the pitch, but they were 2-0 down before the interval.

Scully scored his customary goal against United after a missed tackle on the edge of the box, curling beyond Eastwood and into the corner.

The interval was greeted with boos by some sections of the home support, with the U’s needing a big second-half performance for the second Tuesday night running.

They flew out of the traps and could have halved the deficit four minutes after the restart.

Taylor laid the ball off to Bodin, who fired a pass to the onrushing Brannagan. The midfielder pushed it past the last defender, but Wright made a great save at his near post.

Bodin then took his eye off the ball at the crucial moment to miscue Sam Long’s cross and both sides soon made their first changes.

Lincoln’s Ben House was forced off through injury and replaced by Tashan Oakley-Boothe, while Henry and Kyle Joseph – the latter making his home debut – came on for Bate and Bodin.

Browne curled a free-kick into the side-netting just after the hour mark, but the U’s were soon handed a golden opportunity when Joseph was hauled over by Sanders at a corner.

There was a pause before the penalty as Browne received treatment and the winger came off for Goodrham, while Ciaron Brown replaced Seddon.

If Brannagan was affected by the delay he did not show it and the midfielder sent Wright the wrong way to halve the deficit.

United were all-out attack and switched to 3-5-2 as the rain lashed the Kassam Stadium surface, but they struggled to fashion more clear chances as full-time approached.

The fourth official signalled seven minutes of stoppage-time as McGuane, excellent again, saw an effort deflected just past the post.

Findlay and Elliott Moore headed off target and Joseph saw an effort saved, but there was to be no late comeback this time.

Oxford United (4-3-3): Eastwood, Long, Moore, Findlay, Seddon (Brown 68), Bate (Henry 57), McGuane, Brannagan, Browne (Goodrham 68), Taylor, Bodin (Joseph 68).

Unused subs: McGinty, Gorrin, Jones.

Booked: Seddon, Taylor.

Lincoln City (4-3-3): Wright, Eyoma, O’Connor, Poole, Robson, House (Oakley-Boothe 55), Sanders, Sorensen, Garrick (Kendall 82), Hopper, Scully (Roughan 72).

Unused subs: Vernam, Maguire, Bishop, Green.

Booked: Roughan, Sorensen, Eyoma.

Referee: Samuel Barrott (West Riding).

Attendance: 6,912 (326 visitors).