VICTOR Adeboyejo's first League goal for the Brewers could not prevent Albion slipping to a 2-1 away defeat at Oxford United
The former Barnsley striker gave Albion hope of grabbing a result on the road when he halved Oxford's lead with thirteen minutes to go with a well taken finish and Joe Powell was the width of the crossbar away from grabbing an equaliser after a battling performance from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's side at The Kassam Stadium.
Albion's propensity to concede early goals in each half came back to haunt them when, after a subdued first half from both sides, Oxford grabbed the lead inside three minute of the second half getting under way when Cameron Brannagan pounced to score when Kyle Joseph's effort deflected off Sam Hughes to bounce off the crossbar and into the former Liverpool youngster's path. Joseph then added a second with twenty minutes left but Adeboyejo's goal ensured it was far from a comfortable victory for the home side.
Looking to build on Tuesday evening's victory in the Papa John's Trophy over Leicester City's under-21s the Albion starting eleven showed just a single change and that one enforced by the departure of Gassan Ahadme to Ipswich Town on transfer deadline day. His place went to Davis Keillor-Dunn. Loan signing Elliot Thorpe, on loan from Luton Town, was brought straight onto the bench and he was joined by Academy scholars Finn Delap and Dylan Scott, handed their first experience of senior matchday action.
Oxford almost found themselves a goal to the good just a minute in as Adeboyejo's defensive header skewed towards his own goal and had to be tipped over the bar by Viljami Sinisalo.
After a spell of Albion pressure it was the hosts who went closest as Brannagan found space on the edge of the box to send in a curling effort that Sinisalo got down to, pushing it away from danger.
Albion had kept the home side quiet for most of the first twenty minutes in what was quite a scrappy opening to the game although Joseph did make a probing run that resulted in a low angled shot that Sinisalo had to beat away at his near post before James Henry found the side netting from a similar position.
The Brewers quickly threatened and Powell's cross found the head of Adeboyejo at the near post but the ball flew across the face of goal. Albion maintained the pressure and when an Oxford man flicked a cross into the path of Sam Hughes the big defender stabbed an effort just wide of the post.
Joseph made a real nuisance of himself inside the Burton penalty area on the half hour as a free kick was allowed to bounce and bobble around in the six yard bounce and the former Wigan man managed to get a shot off only for it to be deflected over the bar as Albion continued to hold firm.
Tom Hamer had to produce some alert defending when Sam Long found space at the back post to head a free kick across the six yard box with Albion's right wing-back in the right place to clear his lines.
The Brewers finished the first half on the front foot with a late spell of pressure but the teams went in level at the break.
Half time: Oxford United 0-0 Burton Albion
Three minutes into the second half and Oxford had a huge stroke of luck to take the lead. Joseph's speculative shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection that took it onto Sinisalo's crossbar and BRANNAGAN was quickest to run onto the loose ball taking a touch before smashing home from close range.
Powell was close to an almost instant equaliser when a ball bounced up on the edge of the box and he sent a dipping volley just over the crossbar.
And Davis Keillor-Dunn was also unable to keep his effort down when a Burton corner caused problems in the Oxford defence and landed with him at the back post.
Terry Taylor required treatment for a wrist injury as Albion looked to attack just after the hour mark but fortunately the Welshman was able to continue after attention from Nick Fenton.
The second Oxford goal with just under twenty minutes to go was harsh on Albion. Sam Hughes landed awkwardly after an aerial challenge and as he tried to get to his feet James Henry pushed the ball into the path of JOSEPH who darted through the middle and slotted home.
Thorpe got his first run out in a Burton shirt with juts over a quarter of an hour remaining and he was joined by Tyler Onyango who perhaps should have scored with his first touch when Powell sent a teasing cross into the box, the Everton loanee unable to adjust his feet to steer the ball home.
Charlie Lakin was also brought on and a minute later Albion had a lifeline when a long ball up the line from Powell allowed ADEBOYEJO to use his strength to outmuscle a defender and work his way into the box before drilling an unstoppable effort beyond Simon Eastwood in the Oxford goal.
Powell rattled the Oxford crossbar on 82 minutes with a curling free kick that had Eastwood beaten all ends up but symptomatic of Albion's luck the rebound did not fall kindly to a black shirt as it had done for Oxford's opener.
Despite seven minutes of added time there was to be no clear cut chance for Albion to grab an equaliser and the Brewers must now look to back to back home games to try and kick start their season.
ALBION: Sinisalo; Hughes, Brayford (Thorpe, 74), Oshilaja; Hamer, Taylor, Butcher (Onyango, 74), Borthwick-Jackson; Powell; Adeboyejo, Keillor-Dunn (Lakin, 76).
Substitutes: Garratt, Gilligan, Delap, Scott.
GOALS: OXFORD - Brannagan (48), Joseph (71) ; ALBION - Adeboyejo (77)
Referee: Robert Madden
Attendance: 7,560 (141 away)