Oxford United 1 Forest Green Rovers 0
We may have been more lithe, but we also had added sophistication and class. Their strategy was to use their bulk to unsettle us and maybe get something - a goal - they could defend when they tired. It worked, to a point; we couldn’t settle on the ball and the referee couldn’t distinguish between a genuine tackle and a foul. As a result, we couldn't control the game in the first half and they threatened to snatch a goal.
We just needed to weather the storm, if we could avoid conceding and not tire from the battering, we could press home our quality advantage late in the game. The risk was that they wouldn’t tire (although the way they started, it always it seemed likely they would), that we would concede (we didn't) and that we were effectively planning to find a winner in a 30 minutes game. Of course, when you have a magician in your side, you've always got a chance.
So they leave having given it a good go, we scrape through and avoid the humiliation of a giant killing; which pretty much fitted the template of this kind of game.
Oxford United 3 Yeovil Town 2
Even now, just two positive results from Wembley, it is kind of difficult to get excited about the JPT, that said, I did go, which might suggest something is stirring.
Millwall in the next round offers something interesting; Nathan Cooper's passionate pre-match denunciation of the tie made an interesting point. Promotion from League 2 will not see a significant improvement in crowds - there are few 'glamour' clubs. What's more it's a heavily 'northern' division, meaning very few big away followings. So really, promotion only really means something - in a business sense - if you're aiming for the Championship, where things really will improve financially.
Survival in League 1 is not really enough to justify the investment currently being made by the owners, so, if we do get promoted this year, we've got to compete and beat the likes of Millwall next. The tie will be a really interesting test of how close we are to doing that.