TRANMERE Rovers were beaten 3-0 away to Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium in Sky Bet League One on Saturday afternoon.

The hosts were ahead on 22 minutes through James Henry’s penalty after Liam Ridehalgh fouled Tariqe Fosu.

Cameron Brannagan found the net for the Yellows with 70 minutes played, slamming home into the far corner after profiting from a cut-back.

Henry notched his double with his second penalty in second-half injury-time.

The result in Oxfordshire ended TRFC’s unbeaten run of two matches in the third-tier, with the Wirral outfit still searching for the first victory on their travels this term.

Manager Micky Mellon made two changes for the fixture from last weekend’s 2-2 home draw with Gillingham, as Calum Woods and Rushian HepburnMurphy came in for George Ray and Ollie Banks.

Rovers began brightly and went close inside two minutes when Hepburn-Murphy flashed his strike across goal from the rightside of the penalty area which was pushed out by goalkeeper Simon Eastwood to David Perkins, who saw his well-struck drive charged down.

Forward Paul Mullin was next to try his luck for Tranmere shortly after, but he could only bend his effort from the left straight into Eastwood's grasp.

Oxford's first sight of goal came through Fosu, who received a lofted pass down the left, to cut into the box and saw his shot hit the side-netting.

Karl Robinson's Us were awarded a penalty by referee Robert Lewis on 21 minutes when Ridehalgh fouled Fosu after a swift counter attack.

Up-stepped midfielder Henry to convert the spot-kick from 12-yards right-footed into the bottom right-corner, sending Scott Davies the wrong way.

In response, Rovers caused problems down the right when Hepburn-Murphy’s cross found Mullin unmarked at the back post, though he could not steer his attempt on target. After the break, good build-up play finished in Connor Jennings laying off substitute Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to shoot just past Eastwood’s upright.

Up the other end, frontman Jamie Mackie glanced over a header for Oxford after connecting with a right-sided floated cross.

Oxford's second of the afternoon came with 70 minutes on the clock, when Brannagan drove in from 10-yards via a deflection which beat Davies to find the far corner.

Referee Lewis pointed to the spot again after Shandon Baptiste was fouled, with Henry converting the penalty, rolling the ball right-footed into the bottom left-corner.

A disappointed Rovers' boss Micky Mellon said: "We couldn't really get that spark and it spiralled from there.

"The penalty was a turning point in a game which was nothing really.

"It was a big turning point and my group are really disappointed but the referee has changed the course of the game but you have to get over that and put that behind you and try and move on.

"It was a bit of a drab game and there was nothing much to shout about, and the referee’s decision has changed that.

"We need to work on the things we speak about every day, we need to be much better at taking responsibility.

"It is a continual development and we needed to accept that as a group, it's a development and learning thing and we have to take responsibility and move on." 

Tranmere are in League One action against Peterborough United at Prenton Park on Tuesday night (7.45pm) and at home again on Saturday, against Burton Albion (3pm).