Oxford United 2-2 Bristol Rovers: A late Rovers equaliser takes FA cup tie to a replay
Above: Antony Evans Celebrates scoring against a late equaliser. (Photo taken by Alex Burstow/ Getty Images.)

With time running out, Antony Evans stepped up and placed his penalty into the top right corner to tie the game and take the cup tie back to Bristol for a replay.

The Gas twice came from behind to draw level in what was an electric cup tie. In the first half Matty Taylor gave Oxford United the lead after nine minutes, before Sam Finley equalised on the stroke of half- time.

After the interval, Marcus McGuane restored the home sides' lead but with four minutes to play, substitute Aaron Collins was tripped in the area and Evans buried the penalty to level the cup tie.

 

  • Teams

The home side opted to make a few changes from their victory over Morecambe, with James Henry, Nathan Holland, and Herbie Kane all not being risked by manager Karl Robinson.

Oxford United: Eastwood; Long, Moore, Thorniley, Seddon, Brannagan, Rodriguez, McGuane, Sykes, M. Taylor, Whyte

 

Joey Barton welcomed midfielder Josh Grant back into the side after an injury as well as Sam Finley, who missed last week's trip to Harrogate through suspension.

Bristol Rovers: Belshaw; Harries, C. Taylor, Kilgour, Grant, Coutts, Finley, Whelan, Anderson, Evans, Nicholson

  • Story of the match

After a fairly tepid opening ten minutes at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford took the lead and sparked this cup tie into life.

Former Bristol Rovers and Bristol City man Matty Taylor tapped home close range following the Gas defence switching off and allowing Sykes to escape down the left channel and square the ball to the Oxford number nine.

Rovers, however, did not let their heads drop and they were twice inches away from an equaliser. 

Firstly, Antony Evans' volley from the edge of the box smacked against the Oxford post with U's keeper Simon Eastwood beaten all ends up.

Moments after that. Sykes managed to scramble a Connor Taylor header off the line following a lovely corner from the left-hand side.

Rovers' hard work was rewarded in the first minute of six added on at the end of the first half. Sam Finley, back from suspension, reacted first to a poor headed clearance and guided his volley past Eastwood and into the Oxford net. 

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The U's responded brilliantly after half-time and restored their lead six minutes after the interval. Marcus McGuane escaped in behind the Rovers right and bent his strike beyond Belshaw and into the Rovers net.

Moments later and things almost got better for the home side. Ryan Williams' cross was met at the far post by Gavin Whyte but the Nothern Ireland international failed to convert and headed wide of the post.

The home side continued their search for a third goal, Taylor being twice denied his brace by the woodwork.

The Blues rode their luck and were rewarded four minutes from time, James Hanson tripped Aaron Collins in the area and referee Paul Howard had no choice but to point to the spot.

Evans, who joined the club in the summer, confidently dispatched the penalty past Eastwood, much to the delight of the 747 strong travelling support.

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After three minutes of stoppage time the referee blew up for full time meaning that these two sides will meet again to decide who progresses into the second round of the FA cup.

  • Takeaways

U's made to rue missed chances

Despite dominating much of the second half, Oxford will be kicking themselves that they were not more clinical and didn't put the game to bed.

Twice striking the up right and forcing Gas keeper James Belshaw into some decent saves, but the home side could not find the third goal that would have finished Rovers off.

Resolute Rovers ride their luck

For a long spell in the second half, Rovers were on the ropes. They relied on luck and the good performances of centre halves Connor Taylor and Alfie Kilgour.

However, they held on and were rewarded for some strong defending with a penalty at the other end. 

 

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