A DISJOINTED Oxford United blew a two-goal lead as Cheltenham came from 3-1 down to claim a deserved Carabao Cup scalp after extra-time.

Mohamed Eisa bagged a stylish 98th-minute winner to send the underdogs through at the Kassam Stadium.

The striker had opened the scoring, but despite United not being near their best the hosts appeared to have dug themselves out of the hole by taking a 3-1 lead into half-time.

Marvin Johnson, Jon Obika and Xemi all found the net, but Cheltenham hit back.

Substitute Danny Wright halved the deficit with a diving header and with United hanging on, the striker equalised in the 90th minute.

It forced extra-time, where Eisa landed the knockout blow.

Pep Clotet made four changes to the side which started the 2-0 win at Oldham Athletic on Saturday, with Xemi handed a debut and Obika his first start.

Having knocked out Sky Bet Championship opposition at this stage in the previous three seasons, United’s finish last season meant they were now the scalp.

Any nerves they had about becoming a headline for the wrong reasons were jangling after nine minutes, when Cheltenham took the lead.

A foul by Christian Ribeiro on the edge of the box earned a free-kick from Jordan Cranston which was touched in by Eisa.

The visitors looked in the mood and four minutes later Carl Winchester’s dipping shot flew just wide.

It took a fortunate refereeing decision to get United going, on 21 minutes.

A forward run by Josh Ruffels caused problems, allowing Rob Hall to burst forward before he was brought down by Kyle Storer.

The Robins midfielder appeared to have a case when he insisted the foul had come outside the box, but referee Graham Horwood pointed to the spot.

While Johnson’s powerful penalty down the middle was saved by Johnathan Flatt, it fell straight back to the U’s No 11, who made no mistake on the rebound.

If that was a little harsh on the visitors, they only had themselves to blame when United went ahead ten minutes later.

Jamie Grimes made a mess of Curtis Nelson’s long ball, heading the ball into the air to set up Obika, who was rewarded for his anticipation and tucked away a neat finish.

Breathing space came three minutes before the break, thanks to a terrific strike.

Ruffels did superbly to intercept a pass just inside the Cheltenham half and play the ball inside to Xemi. The Spaniard had made little impact in the game, but grasped his chance emphatically by slamming in a shot from nearly 25 yards.

Another goal would have killed the game and Hall came closest early in the second half.

After Flatt saved the winger’s effort from 30 yards, Hall fizzed a shot just past his far post from an acute angle after good work by Obika minutes later.

But the visitors came roaring back around the hour mark.

Substitute Pell nodded a Jerrell Sellars free-kick just wide, before testing Simon Eastwood with a low shot after Ribeiro had given the ball away cheaply.

The goalkeeper also palmed away an Eisa effort, but United did not heed the warnings and a minute later Wright’s diving header met Cranston’s early cross to make it 3-2.

There was still a quarter of the game remaining and United looked distinctly uncomfortable.

They appeared to have done enough, but Wright struck again in the 90th minute turning in Nigel Atangana’s cross.

Cheltenham should have won the game as United wobbled in stoppage time, but Eastwood denied Will Boyle’s shot.

They did retake the lead eight minutes into extra time, when Eisa cut in from the left and curled a 20-yard shot into the far corner.

There were still more than 20 minutes remaining, but a rattled United never looked like salvaging their night.

Oxford Utd (4-4-1-1): Eastwood, Ribeiro, Nelson, Martin, Johnson (Carroll 67), Hall, Ledson, Ruffels, Rothwell (Henry 96), Xemi (Payne 71), Obika (Thomas 78).

Unused subs: Shearer, Williamson, Napa.

Booked: Nelson, Ledson, Ruffels.

Cheltenham Tn (4-4-2): Flatt, Forster, Boyle, Grimes, Cranston, Winchester (Pell 54), Storer (O’Shaughnessy 78), Atangana (Page 98), Sellars, Holman (Wright HT), Eisa.

Unused subs: Lovett, Bower.

Booked: Storer.

Referee: Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire).

Attendance: 3,179 (301 visitors).