KARL Robinson refused to be too critical of his players after Oxford United’s unbeaten run came to an end at Bradford City.

Two goals in three first-half minutes from David Ball and former U’s loanee Jack Payne saw Sky Bet League One’s basement boys claim victory in front of a bumper crowd at Valley Parade.

Despite suffering their first defeat in ten games, United remain above the drop zone.

But they were left to rue a lack of cutting edge in a dominant opening 25 minutes, which saw Curtis Nelson head wide and Jamie Mackie scuff a shot after Bradford had been opened up.

Robinson’s side were then caught out by two quickfire goals as the Bantams sparked a crowd of more than 19,000 into life.

The U’s head coach recognised United’s shortfalls as the wait goes on for a first away win in the league.

But he is backing his players to bounce back tomorrow night at home to Rochdale.

He said: “I can’t be critical because it has been there.

“These are moments you have during a season.

“Now it’s another challenge I will look to lay in front of my players – where they go from here.

“Hopefully they will take it in the right way and move forward.

“I said to them Bradford have got good players, they shouldn’t be where they are.

“It’s a difficult place to go and play in.

“It was almost a full house and it was a different type of atmosphere that most teams have come up against.

“But I don’t think at any stage we were outshone by the opposition.

“The players are disappointed, frustrated, they’re honest, and it will hurt them, but that’s not a bad thing and I know I’ll get a response on Tuesday.”

United were left infuriated before half-time when referee Darren Drysdale waved away their protests for a penalty after Nelson looked to have been fouled by Nathaniel Knight-Percival.

However, Robinson felt his side’s lack of cutting edge was more telling.

He said: “I don’t think I can totally say that should be a penalty.

“But we missed so many opportunities in great areas where we know our players are that good.

“I think that’s the frustrating thing and we’ve just got to pick ourselves up from that.”