BRETT Pitman missed a second-half penalty as Swindon Town lost 2-1 at home to Oxford United on Tuesday night.

The Yellows opened their account inside three minutes at the County Ground before Pitman’s missed spot-kick gave United the chance to kill the game late on. Substitute Dan Agyei had been on for less than 30 seconds before powering home the second. Taylor Curran scrambled home a late consolation, but it was too little, too late for John Sheridan’s men.

Defeat meant Town have now lost three league games in a row as they dropped to 22nd in League One, while the Robins also missed the chance to complete a league double over Oxford for the first time since 2000-01.

Town made another cluster of changes for the derby – four in total. Caddis, Thompson, Palmer and Garrick came into the starting XI while Odimayo, Grounds, Iandolo and Hope dropped out.

The visitors did not have to wait long to hit the front and partially erase those stinging memories of November as with the first chance of the game, Oxford took the lead.

Barker came in off the left, faked to shoot before pulling the trigger from range. It took at least one deflection on its way through, leaving Trueman completely wrong-footed. There may have been a case for offside, but none of the home players made much of a fuss.

Following a long-range Scott Twine free-kick, the first flash point of the game occurred inside the opening 10 minutes.

With the ball rolling between two players, the Australian absolutely cleared out United captain, Elliott Moore. Though he did get the ball, Lyden’s foot also appeared to go a little higher too.

Referee Charles Breakspear opted for a yellow card, despite protests from Oxford manager, Karl Robinson.

Town’s attacking options mainly consisted of long-range Twine efforts or dribbles from Jordon Garrick. When the latter took on Josh Ruffels and played a low cross into the middle, it looked as though Town might have a chance to equalise.

However, positive goalkeeping from Jordan Stevens saw the stopper pounce on the ball before Pitman could reach it. Moments later, Twine smashed a shot from over 30 yards out over the bar.

Oxford’s Cameron Brannagan almost added to the visitors’ lead in the 21st minute. It was almost a carbon copy of the goal, only Brannagan caught the ball far sweeter. It went wide, but Trueman was scrambling across his goal.

Midway through the first half, the Town stopper was called on again. Anthony Forde drove the corner in right footed onto the head of Moore, who powered his header goalwards. Only a good save from Trueman, springing away to his right, stopped Town going two goals down.

Though chances were few and far between, it was not long until the next talking point happened off the ball.

Following a flash point in which Lyden went down in agony after a collision with Mark Sykes, Sykes was shown a yellow card and Dom Thompson was also booked for his part in some shoving. Lyden was left with a heavy bandage around his head too after getting up.

With added time shown, Garrick had Town’s first shot on target. Payne swung a cross in from the left that Pitman flicked on, and Garrick was there to shoot. But it was tame, and Stevens caught it easily.

With Lyden evidently struggling with the after-effects of his clash with Sykes, the Australian’s half-time withdrawal saw Anthony Grant return to the side.

Minutes after Rob Atkinson headed a close-range header over from a corner, Oxford’s number nine almost grabbed the second. A simple long ball up to Taylor saw the striker bring it down before charging in on goal.

He ran along to the right, delaying and delaying before dragging his shot narrowly wide of Trueman's right-hand post.

Up the other end, a poor clearance from Stevens saw the ball fall to Grant 25 yards out. The midfielder, who is not known for his shooting, clipped the attempted lob just wide on the hour mark.

With 20 minutes to play, Town were handed a golden opportunity to equalise after Anthony Grant was upended in the box, causing the referee to point to the spot.

Pitman stepped up to take it, but his poor penalty to Stevens’ left was well kept out by the stopper – maintaining the scoreline at 0-1.

With Town pressing for an equaliser again, substitute Agyei killed the game inside the final 10 minutes.

Less than 30 seconds after coming on, Agyei powered past Caddis and powerfully drove a left-footed shot into the far corner. It was a superb finish from the substitute to hand Oxford the points.

With five minutes of added time shown, substitute Curran scrambled home a late goal from close range – but it mattered not as Town could not find a second.

STFC starting XI: Trueman, Caddis, Conroy, Broadbent, Thompson, Palmer, Lyden, Payne, Twine, Garrick, Pitman.

SUBS: Matthews, Iandolo, Odimayo, J Grant, Curran, A Grant, Hope.

OUFC starting XI: Stevens, Ruffels, Atkinson, Moore, Forde, Gorrin, Brannagan, Kelly, Barker, Sykes, Taylor.

SUBS: Eastwood, Grayson, Hanson, Chambers-Parillon, Hall, Shodipo, Agyei.