SCOTT Shearer saved two penalties in a rare start as Oxford United won a shoot-out to reach the Checkatrade Trophy quarter-finals.

The goalkeeper kept out spot-kicks from Johnnie Jackson and Stephy Mavididi, before Reeco Hackett-Fairchild blasted over.

Alex Mowatt and Jon Obika netted and despite Ryan Ledson’s effort being saved, Agon Mehmeti confidently converted to send United through.

It looked an unlikely outcome after a first half where the hosts were in control.

But their lead, provided by Karlan Ahearne-Grant, was a slender one and Wes Thomas levelled early in the second half.

Simon Eastwood, linked with a move to Barnsley, missed out with a shoulder injury, which saw Shearer make only his second start for United.

There were three other changes to the XI which started Saturday’s 1-0 win against Blackpool, with Mike Williamson, Ricardinho and Alex Mowatt brought in.

Ricardinho is serving a three-game ban in the league, but will have wished it also covered the Trophy after making an error which laid on the opening goal in the seventh minute.

His attempted cross-field pass from near the halfway line was horribly mis-placed and with Canice Carroll slow to react, Ahearne-Grant latched on to the loose ball just outside the box.

The 20-year-old still had work to do, but he cut inside and curled a precise shot into the far corner which gave Shearer no chance.

Buoyed by the lead, Charlton went on to control the half.

The hosts were given room to play and took advantage by dominating possession against a disjointed United.

Ahmed Kashi made the most of the space by unleashing a wobbling 25-yard shot which Shearer unconvincingly palmed wide.

Ezri Konsa was the next to try his luck, lashing off target from just inside the box after the visitors had failed to clear a corner.

United’s play going forward was as poor as it had been on Saturday and a weak Gino van Kessel effort from the right corner of the box was all they could muster on goal before the break.

Charlton lost Ahearne-Grant to an injury and given their grip on the game they will have been frustrated to not be further in front at the break.

The closest they came to making it 2-0 in the first half was from another set piece, which was cleared by Ryan Ledson under his crossbar – a couple of feet from where he made the same intervention in the league game last season.

It meant United were still in the game, allowing Thomas to equalise nine minutes after the restart with their first real opening.

A clearance from Addicks goalkeeper Dillon Phillips was won by Ledson and his header saw the striker do well to hold off Konsa and score as he slipped in the penalty area.

U’s boss Pep Clotet brought on Malachi Napa, who was quickly involved with a flurry of chances.

The 18-year-old tested Phillips with a low shot, before teeing up Jack Payne to fire a first-time shot from 20 yards which fizzed just wide.

Napa’s best chance came midway through the half, when Jon Obika’s shot was parried by Phillips into the winger’s path. He kept his shot low and on target, but Johnnie Jackson blocked on the line.

There was still a quarter of the game left for either side to find a winner.

Charlton looked the more likely in the closing stages, with substitute Stephy Mavididi grazing the outside of the far post with a low shot in the final seconds of stoppage-time.

It proved costly, as the visitors emerged victorious from 12 yards.

Charlton Ath (3-4-2-1): Phillips, Konsa, Dijksteel, Jackson, Marshall, Kashi (Lapslie 59), Aribo, Da Silva, Reeves, Ahearne-Grant (Hackett-Fairchild 33), Magennis (Mavididi 64).

Unused subs: Amos, Holmes, Lennon, Mascoll.

Booked: None.

Oxford Utd (4-4-2): Shearer, Carroll, Martin, Williamson, Ricardinho (Tiendalli HT), Van Kessel (Napa 57), Ledson, Mowatt, Payne, Obika, Thomas (Mehmeti 74).

Unused subs: Stevens, Raglan, Xemi, Henry.

Booked: Carroll.

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear).

Attendance: 1,146 (122 visitors).