Oxford United lost for the first time in pre-season as two goals from new signing Jonathan Panzo gave Coventry City a 2-0 win at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon.
Panzo, a former Chelsea Academy player, scored in both halves on his debut to make it five wins from five friendlies for Mark Robins' side this summer, while the new-look U's found their Championship opponents a hard side to break down.
United, in their brand new home kit, gave Jerome Sinclair a chance to impress as a trialist up front and he almost made the most of that after ten minutes when some slick passing from James Henry allowed the striker to work enough space to curl a clever shot across visiting keeper Ben Wilson.
Unfortunately the ball came back off the left-hand post and was cleared by the relieved Sky Blues defence, who then had most of the possession for the rest of the half.
It took a superb save from Simon Eastwood to deny Matty Godden, skipper Elliott Moore made two brave blocks from Viktor Gyokeres, injuring himself in the second and being replaced by youngster James Golding, but Coventry were applying pressure and after half an hour were ahead when new signing Panzo found space to plant a header past the exposed Eastwood.
Gyokeres went close with a low drive soon after but United rallied after the break and Cameron Brannagan fired just wide of the mark as they sought a way back into the game.
Again, having gone close, they then conceded. They were fortunate on 54 when Golding crashed a clearance into Ciaron Brown and Eastwood had to claw the ball back from on the line as it looked destined for the net, but as we approached the hour mark Panzo powered home a Gustavo Hamer corner and it was 2-0 to the Championship side.
Ciaron Brown forced Wilson into a good save on 70 as the centre-half's towering header powered towards the roof of the net, but for once United hadn't created their usual glut of chances, understandable against a side from the division above.
No great harm done in defeat and lessons learned from a tough 90 minutes in the punishing sun. Our best wishes to Coventry for the new season.
United now take on West Bromwich Albion at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night, with all profits going to the Joey Beauchamp Trust Fund.
Eastwood, Forde (Sade 84), Moore (Golding 26), Brown (Mousinho 81), Seddon, McGuane (Davis 84), Henry (Smyth 67), Brannagan (Johnson 81), Bodin (Spasov 81), Sinclair (Jones 67), Browne (Goodrham 67)
Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Daniels and Steve Edmunds