Oxford United and Forest Green Rovers will have to do it all over again after a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup. The two teams will meet again on Tuesday 20th November after a tough encounter which sets up an intriguing replay at the New Lawn.
The first half was slow going with both sides showing a healthy respect for each other. Possibly too much. It was the League 2 side who should have taken the lead after 15 minutes though when left-back Theo Archibald was granted the freedom of the penalty area but got under his right-footed effort to send the ball well over the fence when he really should have given Simon Eastwood no chance.
However, United saw more of the ball than their visitors in the first half with Gavin Whyte and Tony McMahon sending in a number of dangerous crosses and Cameron Brannagan and James Henry moving the ball nicely. Marcus Browne’s tame effort straight at the keeper was the first, and only, effort on target at either end in the first half though.
United raised the tempo after the break with Whyte forcing a good save out of Montgomery with a low drive and both Browne and Smith getting in to good positions but not hitting the target before a double substitution shortly after the hour mark saw Jamies Hanson and Mackie given their chance to move United through to the next round; Mackie curled a sly effort just wide after 67 before Whyte again had a decent effort which was flicked just past the post by a covering defender as it seemed destined for the far corner.
In between those efforts Forest Green had once again wasted the best chance of the half. This time it was midfielder Reece Brown the culprit, firing wide from 12 yards with the whole goal to aim at and Eastwood scrambling to get across his goal.
Further clipped efforts from Brannagan and Henry went over, Browne dragged a shot wide on 77 and the visitors then hit the post in the 89th minute when sub George Williams slid in at the near post but couldn't steer the ball on target.
Three let-offs for the U's then but also plenty of decent approach play without a finishing touch. The visitors had earned a chance at home but United are still in the hat, also stretching their unbeaten run to eight games.
We look forward to the rematch.
Report by Chris Williams, pictures by Steve Daniels