OXFORD United sealed their place in the last 16 of the EFL Trophy thanks to Tyler Goodrham’s strike early in the second half.

Goodrham scored four minutes into the second period, in what was a competitive tie, particularly after the interval.

Des Buckingham made nine changes to the side which won 2-0 against Grimsby Town in the second round of the Emirates FA Cup, as just Jordan Thorniley and Ruben Rodrigues retained their place in the starting line-up, while Joe Bennett made his U’s debut.

The opening exchanges saw very little action in either penalty area, as both sides sussed each other out.

With 22 minutes on the clock, Bennett made a great block to get in the way of a Harvey Bunker strike, before Rodrigues shot straight at Jamie Searle at the other end.

That U’s move began when Goodrham strode past three Forest Green players and found James Henry, who then played the ball to Rodrigues.

Gatlin O’Donkor then slammed a shot into the leg of Dom Bernard, prior to what was arguably the first threatening moment of the first half, on 37 minutes.

Troy Deeney got down the right-hand side and crossed for Charlie McCann, who hit a difficult shot first-time across his body, but still managed to get the ball to spin narrowly over the crossbar.

Rodrigues then clipped a pass through for Goodrham, who was eventually crowded out in the penalty box amid muted shouts for a penalty.

Straight up the other end, Rovers came the closest to an opener.

Oisin Smyth, playing at right back, made a goal line clearance to hook away a McCann shot from inside the box, before Teddy Jenks then fired across goal and wide from a central position in the penalty area.

Towards the end of stoppage time, the ball fell to Deeney 25 yards out, but his attempted dipping volley lacked venom and flashed wide.

Buckingham brought on Josh Murphy for Henry at the break, and the former had an instant impact.

The ex-Cardiff City winger chased down his own flick round the corner, beating Inniss to the ball before crossing into the box, where O’Donkor couldn’t bring the ball under control.

Fortunately for United, Rodrigues was able to lay the ball off for Goodrham, who arrowed a shot into the bottom corner.

Rovers immediately went about looking for an equaliser, with Tyrese Omotoye drifting a shot wide and Jenks going close from the edge of the box.

Murphy used his pace to good effect again though, when he got down the left and crossed for O’Donkor, who blazed over.

Fin Stevens replaced Bennett just after an hour had been played, in a like-for-like change which saw the Brentford loanee line up at left back.

McCann spun on the halfway line and played the ball over the top for Omotoye, who was met by Simon Eastwood, who kept himself big to thwart the striker.

Former Watford centre forward Deeney then went close with a 25-yard free kick, whizzing the ball narrowly past the post.

Elliott Moore and Mark Harris entered the fray for the final 20 minutes, replacing Josh McEachran and O’Donkor as the U’s switched to three at the back.

Both sides had sights of goal in the closing stages, without carving out anything clear-cut, although Rodrigues sent a shot over from a difficult angle near the six-yard box.

United managed to see out a frantic final few minutes though, keeping a third consecutive clean sheet in the process.

Forest Green Rovers (4-4-2): Searle; Bernard, Inniss (Robertson 67), Moore-Taylor (Dabo 72), Robson; Jones, McCann, Bunker (Welch 67), Jenks; Deeney, Omotoye (Morton 72).

Unused subs: Pagel, Johnson, Bendle.

Booked: Inniss, Omotoye.

Oxford United (4-2-3-1): Eastwood; Smyth, Negru, Thorniley, Bennett (Stevens 62); Gorrin, McEachran (Moore 71); Goodrham (Mills 86), Rodrigues, Henry (Murphy 46); O’Donkor (Harris 71).

Unused subs: Beadle, Golding.

Booked: Gorrin, Negru.

Referee: Ollie Yates (Staffordshire).

Attendance: 494 (147 away).