Accrington boss John Coleman labelled the red card for Dion Charles “bizarre” after seeing his 10 men go down to a 4-1 defeat at home to Oxford.

Last season’s League One play-off finalists took the lead after 45 minutes – their first league goal of the campaign – when Dan Agyei played in a low cross and James Henry slid the ball home.

Stanley equalised after 72 minutes after keeper Simon Eastwood caught Harvey Rodgers as he came out to clear and Watford loan striker Ryan Cassidy slotted home the resulting penalty.

From the kick off, Joel Cooper’s cross was cleared by Mark Hughes but bounced off Joe Pritchard for a 73rd-minute own goal.

Stanley went straight down the other end but, after a goalmouth scramble, referee Ross Joyce consulted his assistant and Charles saw red.

Matty Taylor volleyed home after 85 minutes and headed in his second two minutes later to give a flattering look to the scoreline.

“There were some strange decisions, I have no idea why Dion was sent off, I think they said he stamped on someone’s head but Dion is not that type of player,” Coleman said. “If I am wrong he will be punished. It was bizarre.

“But it was never a 4-1, that flattered them. At 1-1 there was one team in the ascendancy but then they got a fluke goal, you can’t legislate for that.

“They got the last two as we were chasing the game with 10-men.

“But in football, sometimes decisions go in your favour and sometimes they go against you and we won’t get too downbeat about it.

“We are only a young side and we know there are areas to improve on. We will get better.”

It was a first win of the season for Oxford who had to overcome some mechanical issues on the way to the Wham Stadium.

An alcohol-based spray was used to help with Covid-19 precautions once everyone was on board the team coach but it triggered the breathalyser used by the driver as a safety measure. 

When the driver blew into it, the engine disabled with the coach unable to move for six hours. 

“Our coach broke down at the hotel so we had to get cars and taxis to the ground but it’s just one of those things,” said boss Karl Robinson.

“We started on the front foot and led at half-time. We made a mistake for the penalty and then had a bit of luck for the second goal but that was due to our work ethic.

“Then Matty Taylor has scored with a top striker’s finish and then I would expect him to score the fourth.”