Report: Oxford City 2-2 Cheltenham
A late Bobbie Dale goal forced a second round replay between Cheltenham Town and Oxford City as the game finished 2-2.
Marlon Jackson looked to have grabbed the winner four minutes from time before Dale's first goal
of the season.
Bradley Bubb broke the deadlock in the 64th minute before Niall Rowe had drawn the game level.
Gary Johnson handed debuts to eight different players in the game as he opted for a much-changed Robins side.
Lead by, captain for the day, Jack Barthram, Cheltenham made a bright start to the game and came close to breaking the deadlock in the first minute. After James Dayton was fouled inches outside of the box, James McCarthy played in the free kick from the right only for Adriano Santiago to head clear in the six yard box.
Santiago then should have put City 1-0 up just six minutes later with a close range header however a heroic block from Niall Rowe cleared the danger.
The strike partnership between Lewis Thompson and Bobbie Dale looked dangerous in the opening exchanges, especially when Dale played an unmarked Thompson through with an inch-perfect pass only for the Youth Team captain to send the chance wide. Ryan Jennings, whose loan spell is up at the end of January, was found unmarked on the edge of the box but his shot skied left and didn't trouble Laurie Walker in the Oxford goal.
Connor McDonagh was left unmarked at the back post for Oxford but when Marlon Jackson's cross from the left fell to him, his outstretched leg could only gear the ball into the side-netting.
A goal mouth scramble in the 25th minute almost saw City in front, only for Calum Kitscha to palm the ball to Rowe who then cleared it off the line and allowed Kitscha to regather. Right-back Luke Coulson looked a dangerous player for City, putting in a number of crosses in the opening half hour- luckily for the travelling Cheltenham support Calum Kitscha managed to deal with them all.
For a team that hasn't played since Boxing Day due to postponements, Oxford had the best chance of the half. Connor McDonagh's beat two Cheltenham defenders in a foot race and unleashed a powerful shot from outside the box however it went just wide of, an outstretched, Kitscha's goal.
Right on the stroke of half-time Bobbie Dale made a driving run into the Oxford City box and managed to make a bit of space for himself only for his curling shot to go wide of the goal. At the break, there was little to separate an inexperienced Cheltenham side from their hosts.
Matt Bower replaced Cian Harries at half time to become the sixth debutant in the match alongside Jordan Lymn, James McCarthy, Niall Rowe, Sam Mendes and Lewis Thompson.
The first chance of the second half fell to Oxford in the 51st minute, McDonagh hit a half volley from just outside the box forcing Kitscha to get down low and palm it away for a corner. Cheltenham reacted with a chance of their own, James Dayton cut in from the right hand side but his shot at the near post went into the side netting.
Karnell Chambers and Alex Dinsmore replaced Dayton and Thompson respectively in the 62nd minute with both of the substitutes making their debuts too.
With the score at 0-0 and the chance of a replay this coming Tuesday looming, Oxford finally broke the deadlock. A long ball deflected off Jordan Lymn's head which allowed substitute Kynan Isaac to latch onto the ball down the left and play in fellow sub Bradley Bubb who finished from close range.
Sam Mendes was left unmarked inside the box but it took an age to get the ball out of his feet and when he went for the shot it was closed down and deflected away for a corner.
With seven minutes to go Cheltenham drew the game level thanks to a goal from Niall Rowe. The ball fell to the centre-half on the right side of the box who collected the ball and hit a fierce shot into the top corner.
Within minutes, however, Oxford were back in front and looked to have wrapped the game up. After the ball pinballed around the box, the ball fell to Marlon Jackson who finished emphatically from close range to regain the lead.
With seconds left on the clock Cheltenham grabbed the equaliser, the ball fell to Bobbie Dale who finished at the back post and will see the teams do battle again at the World of Smile Stadium on Tuesday night.
Cheltenham Town: Kitscha, Lymn, Rowe, Harries (Bower 46'), Barthram (c), Jennings, Mendes, McCarthy, Dayton (Chambers 62'), Dale, Thompson (Dinsmore 62')
Subs not used: Tetek (C), Sterling-James
Oxford City: Walker, Coulson, Lapoujade, Santiago, King, Arzamendi (Bubb 62), Jackson, Pond (c), McDonagh (Benjamin 80'), Lafuente, Pifarre (Isaac 57')
Subs not used: Fleet, Henderson
Referee: Mr S Ross