Oxford United snatched victory from Cheltenham Town and booked their place in the next round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy despite being a goal down twice during the game this evening.
Striker Darryl Duffy drew first blood in this game with the opening goal coming courtesy of some great play by both Goulding and Penn. Oxford hit back soon after through Tom Craddock but Keith Lowe's volley on 45 minutes stole the lead back. Cheltenham started the second half well but a Harry Worley equaliser put the U's back into the game and Constable put them ahead just minutes later. Peter Leven's freekick on 81 minutes guaranteed Oxford's cup progress and a disappointing night for the Robins.
This game kicked off in an energetic manner and Darryl Duffy came close to making the perfect start for Cheltenham but a soft effort was well saved by Clarke. It was end to end stuff and Oxford were giving as good as they got with Forster-Caskey forcing Brown into a good save from the freekick. An entertaining game soon produced it's first goal and it was through last season's top goalscorer. Goulding produced some elegant ball control in midfield and found Penn with a neat pass who, in turn, threaded a through ball into the path of Duffy and the Scot produced a beautiful finish with the outside of his boot to open the scoring.
It was a blow for Oxford but not one that knocked their confidence. A long ball from goalkeeper Ryan Clarke somehow found it's way through to Craddock and the forward made no mistake in stabbing the ball in behind Brown for the equaliser.It was a real battle and ag reat advert for Johnstone's Paint Trophy football and Cheltenham could have had another goal had Harry Worley not reacted quickly to Steve Elliott's strong header from the corner, clearing the ball off the line and frustrating the Robins further.
Cheltenham's dominance started to pay dividends however and they were handed an incentive when Ryan Clarke dropped an easy catch forcing his defender into a back pass which drew a freekick just outside the six yard box. Cheltenham made Oxford pay when Harrad chipped the ball towards Lowe and the defender volleyed the ball into the back of the net for 2-1. A great goal and a great lead to take into half time.
Half Time: Cheltenham Town 2-1 Oxford United
The first half was an exciting affair and Darryl Duffy almost created the perfect start for the second but his header from Penn's cross was over the bar. The Scot was involved again soon after when he was booked for a perfectly fair challenge on Ryan Clarke but Stuart Attwell deemed it dangerous enough to show a yellow card. Efforts from Goulding and Deering followed up in a good spell of dominance for the Robins but Oxford struck out of the blue on 67 minutes. Leven's corner was sailed towards Brown's back post and Harry Worley was on hand to head home. A disappointing goal for the Robins to concede. It got worse for Cheltenham on 71 minutes when James Constable, from a seemingly impossible angle, fired past Brown after picking up on the long ball. It was a fiery striker and Brown struggled to make any kind of save. Oxford ahead with a bang.
Cheltenham looked a different team after conceding two goals in quick succession and a small fight back failed to produce any results with a quarter of an hour to go. In fact Oxford looked to build upon their lead and they were gifted that opportunity on 80 minutes when Steve Elliott was adjudged to have brought down Heslop in the area and Peter Leven made no mistake in smashing the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-4.
The prospect of the next round was now clear to see for Oxford but Cheltenham did make the effort of going for it with the double substitution of Darren Carter and Kaid mohamed. There were some close efforts for the Robins but Oxford had already tightened their ranks and Cheltenham were left scratching their heads about how they managed to lose a game they had been controlling.
Cheltenham's journey in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy was over for another season and now they turn their attention back to the npower League Two.
Full Time: Cheltenham Town 2-4 Oxford United
Cheltenham Town FC (4-3-3): Brown (GK); Lowe, Hooman (Jombati 75), Elliott, Jones; Penn, Pack, Deering (Carter 80); Duffy, Goulding, Harrad (Mohamed 80)
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Graham
Oxford United (4-4-2): Clarke (GK); Boateng (Whing 62), Capaldi, Worley, O'Brien; Heslop, Leven (C), Chapman, Forster-Caskey; Craddock (Marsh 90+3), Constable
Subs not used: Crocombe (GK), Rigg, Potter
Referee: Mr. Stuart Attwell
Attendance: 1,236 (236 from Oxford)
Robins Star Man: Russ Penn - Solid enough game and created the opening goal. Good performance despite the result.