Report: Cheltenham 0-3 Oxford City
Cheltenham Town are out of the FA Trophy after losing 3-0 to Oxford City.
Goals from Marlon Jackson, Bradley Bubb and Darren Pond were enough to send the visitors into the next round.
This much changed Cheltenham team carved out few clear cut chances against the impressive National League South side.
Oxford City will now play Woking in the next round on 6th February.
Contrary to the game it was the hosts who had the better of the earlier chances. Three minutes in and Omari Sterling-James, making his first appearance of the season, had a great chance to put the Robins in front- the ball was crossed to him at the back post but his point blank header went straight at Laurie Walker in the City goal.
Lewis Thompson also had a chance to score just six minutes later, after good work from Karnell Chambers down the right he cut back and squared it to Thompson but it ricocheted off his leg and was cleared away by the Oxford defence.
Seconds later and Marlon Jackson, who scored in the first meeting, could have had City in front- Luke Coulson played a good ball into the box which Jackson latched onto but sent the shot wide.
It was Sterling-James again who went close to breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute- his run managed to split Jon Arzamendi and Luke Coulson, which allowed him to clear on goal but, under pressure, sent his shot over the bar.
Cheltenham could have had a penalty in the 25th minute, Cian Harries looked to have been fouled in the box when attacking James McCarthy's in swinging free kick but referee Mark Pottage waived the claims away. Karnell Chambers looked Cheltenham's most dangerous player in the first half- the winger gave left-back Jose Lapoujade a torrid time in the opening 45 minutes.
On the half hour mark the visitors took the lead- Marlon Jackson, whose goal gave Oxford City a 2-1 lead in the original tie, fired in a shot from 20 yards out that went past Calum Kitscha low into the bottom left hand corner.
City looked to the ramp up the pressure straight after they scored, both Luke Coulson and Kynan Isaac had efforts that troubled Kitscha but luckily for the captain and his defence they were left unscathed. At the break the visitors were certainly on top- they restricted Cheltenham in the final third and looked dangerous when going forward.
Three minutes into the second had and Bobbie Dale had the chance to equalise with a stunning effort, as the ball was flicked on to him from a corner he pulled off an acrobatic volley with his back to goal- unfortunately for the striker it hit the bar and went out.
On the 54th minute Oxford doubled their lead. An impressive Luke Coulson crossed in from the right hand side where Bradley Bubb met the ball and finished from close range. Identical to Jackson, Bubb also scored in the previous encounter between the two teams.
Omari Sterling-James' game was up in the 64th minute as the winger was replaced by Alex Dinsmore, while Lee Henderson replaced Adrian Santiago for the visitors.
As the Robins went in search of a comeback, centre half Cian Harries hit a curling shot on target from just outside the box but his effort went straight at Walker. Cheltenham's inexperienced defence were caught napping in the 70th minute and hadn't it been for Calum Kitscha could have been 3-0 down. An unmarked Darren Pond hit a volley from just inside the box but Kitscha was equal to it and saved well down low.
Marlon Jackson had the crossbar to thank for not getting his second and Oxford's third as City looked to wrap up the game. The winger hit a venomous shot which beat Kitscha but also grazed the top of the bar.
Minutes later and the game was all but up for this young Robins side- Captain Darren Pond hit a low driven shot which went past Kitscha into the bottom corner and would surely send Cheltenham out of the FA Trophy.
After giving out eight first team debuts in the original fixture Joe Hance and Josh Thomas came on with little over 10 minutes and were handed their first team debuts by manager Gary Johnson.
With their fate sealed with more than 10 minutes to go the hosts failed to carve any chances on goal in wet conditions.
To compound the misery centre back Niall Rowe was taken off on a stretcher after a collision in the Oxford City.
Oxford City now travel to Woking in the next round on 6th February.
Cheltenham Town: Kitscha (C), Lymn, Bower, Harries, Rowe, Chambers (Thomas 79'), Mendes (Hance 79'), McCarthy, Sterling-James (Dinsmore 64'), Dale, Thompson
Subs not used: Tetek (Gk), Cordell
Oxford City: Walker, Coulson, Lapoujade, Fleet, Arzamendi, Santiago (Henderson 62'), Jackson, Pond (C), Bubb (Lafuente 68'), McDonagh, Isaac (Benjamin 70')
Subs not used: Pifarre
Referee: Mr M Pottage