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Match Reports

Full-time: Robins 1-1 Oxford United (1-4 on penalties) - highlights & report

8 January 2019

Cheltenham Town went out of the Checkatrade Trophy 4-1 on penalties after Cameron Brannagan scored the winning spot-kick to send Oxford United through to the quarter-finals.

The Robins did well to come from behind after Brannagan had put the visitors ahead at the end of the first half.

Midfielder Kevin Dawson’s header levelled the contest in the second half as Cheltenham pressed for a winner in normal time, steering his header past Simon Eastwood from a sublime Matt Bower delivery. 

But Brannagan’s strike meant the visitors won the game 4-1 on penalties and progress to the quarter finals of the competition after Conor Thomas and Chris Clements' efforts were well saved.

Robins boss Michael Duff made three changes to the side who narrowly lost to Crawley Town on the weekend, with Craig Alcock, Kevin Dawson and Luke Varney coming into the starting line-up.

After a cagey opening quarter, Cheltenham started to find gaps down the left-hand side as Chris Hussey and Alex Addai’s link-up play created problems for the Oxford defence.

The Robins were also finding joy with balls over the top and Kevin Dawson was presented with a good opportunity after Luke Varney had beaten the offside trap to put a dangerous cross into the box, but Dawson failed to make the most of the chance after mishitting the ball.

Oxford did start to cause some problems for Duff’s side, with Marcus Browne and Gavin Whyte narrowly missing the target for the away side. Robins keeper Scott Flinders pulled off a brilliant save to keep the score at 0-0.

Cheltenham continued to exploit the left wing and it was Hussey again causing problems after his deep cross found the head of Addai in the box, but the attacker failed to test visiting keeper Simon Eastwood as his header looped just over.

But it was Oxford who seized the initiative just before the interval after a good delivery from the right was met by the head of Cameron Brannagan, who made no mistake putting the ball past Flinders to give the visitors the lead.

Both sides had chances to score at the start of the second half, but Cheltenham had the better as Addai raced forward and gave Oxford’s defence the slip, however they recovered well to block his low effort.

A very quiet period ensued, but Cheltenham responded well to being behind and managed to grab the equaliser through Kevin Dawson.

Substitute Matt Bower was left in plenty of space to put a brilliant cross into the box, and an excellent header from Dawson went beyond the reach of Eastwood in the Oxford goal to level the scores.

The visitors did start to put the ball into some dangerous areas after the Robins equaliser. Browne was the man pulling the strings for Oxford and he came within inches of restoring the visitors’ lead after dispossessing Ryan Broom on the edge of the area, before shooting just past the post.

Cheltenham were the next to threaten and hit the woodwork after good interplay down the right wing saw substitute Broom deliver a looping cross which evaded everyone, but clipped Eastwood’s crossbar on the way over.

Craig Alcock was the next player to put a dangerous cross in from the right and he did well to find Tyrone Barnett in space, but the striker’s header went just over.

Oxford finished the game the stronger of the sides and should have scored when they caught the Robins on the counter attack, but they failed to trouble Flinders and make the most of the opportunity after Whyte fired over. 

 

ROBINS: Flinders; Alcock, Forster (Bower 45’), Tozer, Hussey, Thomas, Dawson, Clements, Maddox (Broom 65’), Addai, Varney (Barnett 65’). Subs not used: Lovett (Gk), Lloyd, Duncan, Brennan. 

OXFORD: Eastwood (Gk); Garbutt, Dickie, Hanson (Mousinho 62’), Brannagan, Browne (Sykes 80’), Whyte, Henry, Graham, Raglan, Long (Nelson 80’). Subs not used: Stevens, Ruffels, Spasov, Bradbury.

REFEREE: O. Yates

ATTENDANCE: 1,288 (332 away)


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