KARL Robinson was delighted to see an Oxford United side short of match practice come through their Carabao Cup tie at Burton Albion.

The U’s head coach made eight changes to his starting line-up for the first round clash, while the Brewers’ XI showed just one alteration from their weekend win at Shrewsbury Town.

Nine of the 14 United players who got on the pitch have spent time self-isolating in the last three weeks, while Leon Chambers-Parillon and John Mousinho’s pre-seasons were disrupted by injuries.

Read the match report here

It made for a disjointed display in stages, but the U’s recovered from John Mousinho’s last-minute own goal to win 4-2 on penalties and set-up a repeat of the 1986 Milk Cup final against QPR in the second round.

Robinson was proud of his players, who were roared on by 429 United supporters.

The U’s head coach said: “We didn’t look as free-flowing, we looked a little bit ordinary at times – but I expected that type of performance.

“We made eight changes, they made one.

“When you put all this together, it’s a team who beat Shrewsbury and with momentum against a team where 90 per cent of my outfield players have played two games in three weeks.

“You could see that in Marcus (McGuane), Alex (Gorrin) and Dan (Agyei).

“A tremendous testament has to go to my players and to the travelling fans – that is tremendous for a Carabao Cup game on a Wednesday night.”

Watch highlights of last night's game

With Elliott Moore ill and Mousinho beginning on the bench, Marcus McGuane was made captain on his first start since injuring his thigh in January.

Robinson added: “Marcus has been out for eight months and he had Covid.

“He’s had a very difficult period.

“Even I need to realise what he’s been through in the last six months and it’s a long way to come back from that.

“I thought my players showed tremendous attitude to cope with the demands of a Burton Albion team that everyone struggled to beat last season.”

It was a big night for Luke McNally, who recovered from Covid to make his first competitive appearance for United since joining from St Patrick’s Athletic in January.

The 21-year-old centre back overcame a shaky start to produce a much-improved display after the break.

Robinson said: “I thought he was poor first half and I went for him at half-time.

“It was one of those moments as a manager, sometimes you lose your rag with a player but it’s pre-meditated.

Ratings: Each United player marked out of ten

“You want to see if they’ve got the fortitude to cope with the negative criticism.

“He stood up in the second half in a tremendous way.

“In the second half he became a man mountain, winning every single header.”

Other milestones included full debuts for Chambers-Parillon and Billy Bodin, while Nathan Holland scored 15 minutes into his second U’s spell.

The move for United’s goal included 16-year-old Josh Johnson, who came off the bench to make his first senior appearance – one day after returning from isolation himself.

Robinson added: “I thought JJ came on and showed that little bit of self-confidence.

“He needs to learn to stop dangling his leg and work his feet a bit more, so there are little components we know we can work on.”