DANIEL Bachmann was unbeatable in the penalty shoot-out as Oxford United were knocked out of the Carabao Cup.

Watford’s goalkeeper, who had made several good saves in normal time, denied Anthony Forde, Marcus McGuane from the spot.

Ken Sema, Domingos Quina and Stipe Perica were successful to get the visitors out of jail.

The tie was taken to spot kicks by Sema’s scruffy late equaliser, but it should have just been a consolation.

United had the chances to be out of sight by half-time, after Rob Hall’s blistering strike gave them the lead.

The Championship visitors were then run ragged for 15 minutes, as Derick Osei, Cameron Brannagan, Joel Cooper and Elliott Moore came close.

At the other end, goalkeeper Jack Stevens made several good stops, even after Watford were reduced to ten men in the closing stages when Marc Navarro limped off.

But Stevens was powerless in the shoot-out and Watford progress to a third-round tie at Newport County next week.

Both sides made eight changes, but it was the visitors’ fringe players who made the livelier start.

Just seconds were on the clock when Jerome Sinclair mugged former teammate John Mousinho and squared for Stipe Perica, who was denied by Stevens.

The Croatian striker came close to a debut goal again on 11 minutes, but saw his firm header clip the crossbar from Toby Stevenson’s excellent delivery.

United responded with growing confidence – and went on to take a grip on the game midway through the half.

Cooper’s directness had already impressed on his full debut and when Sam Long intercepted a pass on 26 minutes and fed the winger, he charged forward.

While he lost control of the ball on the edge of the box, it fell for Hall to unleash a thunderbolt which gave Daniel Bachmann no chance.

The Austrian goalkeeper only just dealt with Osei’s powerful low strike just after the half-hour mark after more good work from Hall.

It came in a 15-minute spell where United battered their Championship opponents.

Brannagan’s rising drive forced a superb save from Bachmann, who watched with relief as Moore’s stabbed effort from the resulting corner hit the near post.

United’s dominance warranted a second goal – and it should have arrived seven minutes before the break.

Cooper again caused problems, twisting away from two defenders in the centre circle and sending in Long.

The full back’s shot was smothered by the on-rushing Bachmann, but rebounded to the Northern Irishman, who skied his effort from eight yards with the goal gaping.

Half-time suited Watford, who will have been mightily relieved to get in only a goal down.

They made a double change at the break and looked more settled after the restart.

Perica had another glorious opportunity just before the hour mark when Marc Navarro’s pass released the striker through one-on-one.

Stevens though stood tall and blocked the striker’s attempted dink.

United then made a planned double change as Marcus McGuane and Liam Kelly came on, but their third substitution was enforced.

Mousinho, who had been in the wars, came off and was replaced by Kyran Lofthouse.

Watford quickly suffered an injury of their own, but having made all their substitutions they played the final 18 minutes with ten men after Navarro limped off.

The depleted visitors rallied and claimed a late equaliser when Sema tapped into an open net after Joao Pedro missed his kick.

They had the momentum – and swept through to claim an unlikely victory on penalties.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Stevens, Clare (McGuane 65), Moore, Mousinho (Lofthouse 70), Long, Brannagan (Kelly 65), Forde, Hall, Agyei, Osei, Cooper.

Unused subs: Eastwood, Jones, Lofthouse, Asonganyi, Napa.

Booked: None.

Watford (3-5-2): Bachmann, Agyakwa (Kabasele HT), Sierralta, Wilmot, Navarro, Chalobah (Sema HT), Phillips, Quina, Stevenson, Sinclair (Pedro 59), Perica.

Unused subs: Parkes, Ngakia, Pussetto, Murray.

Booked: Navarro.

Referee: Leigh Doughty (Lancashire).