Colchester United's Youth Team have lost 4-3 in the FA Youth Cup
It was Oxford who struck first through Spasov, but Jake Hutchinson levelled to make it 1-1 with his header midway through the first half.
Andre Hasanally put the U's ahead two minutes into the second period, but it was a lead that only lasted six minutes as Lopes made it 2-2.
Hallett saved a fifty ninth minute Oxford penalty, but was beaten by a second spot-kick two minutes later as Spasov doubled his tally for the night as he put Oxford ahead.
Things got harder for the U's with twenty six minutes remaining, as Marshall-Miranda got a second yellow card, and the subsequent red.
With eleven minutes left, it was all square, as the ten men of the home side scored through Diogo Freitas-Gouveia.
It was the hosts that looked more likely to score late on, and Oxford keeper Evans kept his side in it in added time with a superb save, and then saw his teammates win it at the death.
Adam Smith was the visiting hero, heading in from a corner to make it 4-3 and putting his Oxford side into the third round.
Oxford started the game the brighter, having the ball in the net in just the third minute, after Connor Ferguson controlled the ball well from a cross, before smashing it beyond Chandler Hallett in the U’s goal. He looked up to realise he was offside, so the goal did not count.
Just six minutes later, Oxford did take the lead. A defensive mix up between Al-Amin Kazeem and Joseph Joseph allowed Tyler Goodhram to nip in and take the ball in the penalty area. He squared to Slavi Spasov who tapped home to give the away side the lead.
It was a lead that was almost doubled in the eighteenth minute. Had it not been for Hallett in the U’s goal, Fabio Lopes would’ve put his side 0-2 up, but a brilliant save down to his right prevented this.
Colchester had a great chance to get back level in the twenty fourth minute, after Jake Hutchinson won a penalty for the U’s. From a corner, he was having his shirt pulled by Nico Jones. Stepping up to take the spot kick himself, Hutchinson saw his effort saved well to the right as Max Evans confidently punched the ball away.
It wasn’t long before Hutchinson did get his goal. Al-Amin Kazeem used his pace to break down the right flank, before delivering a devilish ball to the U’s number nine in the middle. Hutchinson headed the ball through the legs of Evans and it was 1-1 with thirty two minutes on the clock.
It was an end to end first half, as the teams went into the break level.
The young U’s got off to a flying start, scoring just two minutes into the second half through Andre Hasanally. Marley Marshall-Miranda worked the ball into the area well before finding Hasanally at the far post to smash the hosts into the lead.
Marshall-Miranda was booked five minutes later after fouling an Oxford player in the middle to prevent a counter attack.
On fifty eight minutes, Oxford were awarded a penalty, for a very similar incident to that which led to the earlier U’s penalty. Like the U’s penalty, it was saved, as Hallett stopped well from Lopes. Just two minutes later, Oxford had another penalty and another chance to retake the lead. This time Goodhram was fouled, and Slavi Spasov stepped up and fired Oxford into the lead.
A few moments later, the game became much harder for the U’s youngsters, as Marshall-Miranda was sent off. The referee decided that his challenge on Goodhram was worthy of another yellow card and the midfielder was dismissed.
Colchester did get their reward with ten minutes left on the clock, as Diogo Freitas-Gouveia smashed the ball in off the post. After knocking on the door for ten minutes before, the U’s winger capitalised on a poor clearance and set himself before firing a shot in off the woodwork and levelling the scores once again.
Hutchinson had a great chance to give the U’s an unlikely lead, as he pinched the ball from Jones in the Oxford defence, and sprinted towards goal. He could only strike wide, and crumbled to the floor with head in his hands, knowing a good chance had gone begging.
One final chance came and went for the U’s, as a fiendish ball was whipped across goal before Evans made an unbelievable save to keep his team in the game. Oxford went up the other end and immediately forced a save from Hallett, showing they were not out of the game.
It was heartbreak for the U’s with injury time almost up. A corner was put across to substitute Adam Smith, who made no mistake and nodded into the back of the net sending the away players and bench wild with delight. It proved to be the very last touch of the game as there wasn’t even enough time to kick off again.
Oxford United progress to the Third Round of the FA Youth Cup, rewarded with a home tie, while the U’s youngsters will have to wait until next year for another chance in the FA Youth Cup.