United's FA Trophy adventure ended in an entertaining and exciting second-round replay at The Shay last night.

All three goals came in an eight-minute spell either side of half-time but it was a match, played by two sides giving everything and trying to play good football, that could have seen many more.

The U's ultimately paid the price for failing to kill Halifax off at home last Saturday.

And after their exertions on a very heavy and slippery pitch in Yorkshire, the hope will be that it hasn't taken too much out of them for Saturday's more important Conference game at Grays.

There was a dramatic late change when the teams took to the field as Shane Smeltz started in place of Darren Stamp in Halifax's attack.

Stamp was the one who struck the 87th-minute equaliser at Oxford to earn his side a replay.

While Halifax boss Chris Wilder switched back to 4-4-2, Jim Smith chose to continue with the 4-4-3 system, which had looked good on Saturday, the only changes being Rufus Brevett replacing Matt Day at left back, and Chris Hargreaves taking over from Gavin Johnson in midfield.

The rain was teeming down as the game got under way, and almost immediately the home side got on top.

They forced three early corners, and only a brilliant save from Billy Turley kept the U's level in the early stages.

Centre back Neal Trotman met a left-wing cross with a firm header, but Turley dived at full stretch to his left and pushed the effort away with a strong left hand.

United eventually got into the game and in the 11th minute, Rob Duffy had a header blocked in front of goal when he connected with Danny Rose's free-kick. Marvin Robinson tried to eke the ball out of a mad scramble in the mud to get in a shot, but couldn't.

Halifax continued to do most of the pressing, though, and had a great chance when Danny Forrest ran through on the right of Oxford's penalty area, only for his shot to deflect off a defender's foot and over.

Moments later, good defensive work from Rose saved the day for the visitors as he tracked back and did enough to block Forrest's header at the far post.

It was becoming end-to-end, and United suddenly found themselves with four against three on the break. Duffy took the ball on himself, but drove over the bar from the edge of the box, when he should have at least got it on target.

The biggest cheer of the half came when referee Andy Halliday fell backwards and over.

Halifax took the lead three minutes before half-time when Oxford gave the ball away with a misplaced crossfield pass and they charged down the left.

The ball reached Forrest, whose shot from the right struck Georges Santos's foot, and Smeltz slid in the loose ball.

It was a hammer blow just before the break, and Oxford found themselves two down four minutes into the second half.

Nathan Joynes had just struck the outside of a post with a right-footed crossfield drive, and in Halifax's next attack, U's defenders backed off enough for him to curl a low, left-footed shot around Turley.

At 2-0 down it looked hopeless for the visitors, but they raced straight down the other end to pull one back. Odubade crossed superbly from the right and Duffy headed in from six yards.

There was more movement from United in the second half, but as the rain got heavier, conditions became more difficult.

And Turley came to their rescue again when Santos played a dangerous ball across his own six-yard box that sub Matt Day wasn't expecting. Lewis Killeen nipped in, but Turley spread himself to pull off a great stop.

Billy Beechers came on for the last 15 minutes, his first senior appearance under Jim Smith, and forced Mawson to a fumbling save when he got on the end of a great run and cross from Odubade.

Duffy and Odubade also brought saves from the Halifax keeper in a frantic finish.