OXFORD United will be in Monday night’s Emirates FA Cup draw, but to reach the second round they will have to beat Forest Green Rovers in a replay after a stalemate at the Kassam Stadium.

It is a result which the Sky Bet League Two visitors will be more frustrated about, having carved out the three best chances of the game.

After Theo Archibald and Reece Brown fired clear openings off target, substitute George Williams hit the woodwork late on.

United looked some way short of the side who have impressed in recent weeks, as they laboured in their attempts to break down Rovers.

Karl Robinson made five changes from the midweek Checkatrade Trophy tie, bringing back Simon Eastwood, Tony McMahon, Curtis Nelson, John Mousinho and James Henry.

They began with a diamond in midfield as Gavin Whyte started up front with Sam Smith.

But that plan was ditched early on, after Rovers found space too easily in the opening exchanges.

It largely succeeded in wrestling back control of the contest, although the underdogs carved out the only clear chance of the first half on the quarter-hour mark.

Tahvon Campbell got in down the right flank and cut the ball back for an unmarked Theo Archibald, who should have done better than blazing over from 12 yards.

That was the sum total of Rovers’ attacking threat before the break, but they looked an organised outfit out of possession.

United’s struggles in League One this season mean it has been a while since a visiting side to the Kassam Stadium has packed men behind the ball.

Robinson’s side had sparkled when given room by Wycombe Wanderers in midweek, but here they laboured as Rovers retreated to limit their space.

The U’s best hopes lay on the right flank, where Tony McMahon and Whyte – switched back to his more natural position – combined well.

Their best moment came midway through the half. McMahon was fouled and took a quick free-kick to Whyte, who nutmegged Archibald and flashed a ball across the six-yard box. Smith was the only yellow shirt to attack the ball, but failed to get the touch required to beat goalkeeper James Montgomery.

A drab contest threatened to get going after the break.

Montgomery blocked a low strike from Whyte, while Marcus Browne flashed a shot over from an angle.

A promising spell early in the second half continued when Smith glanced Cameron Brannagan’s cross just wide.

As the game slipped back into a stalemate, Jamie Hanson and Jamie Mackie were brought on. It completed United’s substitutions, having withdrawn Luke Garbutt for Cameron Norman at half-time.

A gilt-edged chance did arrive 20 minutes from time – and again it fell to Rovers.

Williams did well out on the left and his low cross fell perfectly for Reece Brown, who fluffed his lines to shoot well wide and let United off the hook.

After Hanson had a shot deflected just wide, the hosts breathed another almighty sigh of relief two minutes from time.

McGinley’s low cross picked out Williams, but his shot on the stretch hit the near post and bounced clear to confirm the sides will have to meet in Gloucestershire later this month.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Eastwood, McMahon, Nelson, Dickie, Garbutt (Norman HT), Mousinho (Hanson 63), Henry, Brannagan, Whyte, Smith (Mackie 63), Browne.

Unused subs: Stevens, Long, Raglan, Heap.

Booked: Mousinho, McMahon.

FGR (4-2-3-1): Montgomery, Winchester, Rawson, McGinley, Archibald, Digby, James (Worthington 88), Campbell (Williams 65), Brown, Grubb, Reid.

Unused subs: Sanchez, Gunning, Morris.

Booked: Winchester.

Referee: Nicholas Kinseley (Essex).

Attendance: 3,933 (452 visitors).