A sensational extra time strike sent Oxford United crashing out of the Carabao Cup first round on Tuesday (8/8).
The U’s came from behind against Cheltenham Town to establish a 3-1 lead at half time, only to squander their two-goal cushion in the second half and lose 4-3 in extra time.
Striker Mohamad Eisa fired the decisive goal with a strike worthy of winning any match in the 99th minute.
League Two Cheltenham opened the scoring within 10 minutes when Eisa, who scored his first Football League goal on Saturday, flicked a Jordan Cranston free kick beyond Simon Eastwood.
The U’s were back on level terms on 20 minutes after the marauding Ryan Hall was felled in the box by Robins captain Kyle Storer.
Johnson had his initial penalty saved by Jonathan Flatt but the stand-in left back powered home the rebound to level the scores.
Nigel Atangana threatened for the visitors with a deflected effort – but United hit back before half time.
Oxford took the lead just after the half hour mark when a prowling Jon Obika capitalised on a weak Jamie Grimes back header to lash the ball home for a debut goal.
Former Barcelona man Xemi was hungry for goals and got in on the act with a debut goal of his own 10 minutes later, arrowing the ball emphatically into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
United had the better of the start of the second period with Hall in particular causing problems down Cheltenham’s left.
But the game turned in the Robins’ favour around the hour mark when sub Harry Pell (twice) and Eisa threatened for the Gloucestershire side.
And it was no surprise when a Danny Wright diving header pulled the away side back into contention on 66 minutes.
Josh Ruffels tested Flatt with a curling effort but United looked uncomfortable until the very moment Wright bundled home an equaliser in the final seconds.
Cheltenham could have even snatched it at the death but Eastwood spread himself well to thwart Will Boyle from point-blank range to send the game to extra time.
Substitute Jack Payne missed a golden opportunity for the U’s shortly after the restart but it was Cheltenham who looked the most threatening.
And the winner came nine minutes into extra time when Eisa skilfully cut in from the left and curled a sensationally-struck 20-yard effort into the top corner.
Oxford fans applauded the fine finish – but it was the goal that sent United crashing out of the first round of the league cup at the hands of lower league opposition.