A Daniel Bachmann masterclass saw Watford beat Oxford United on penalties at the Kassam Stadium to progress to the third round of the Carabao Cup after a 1-1 draw in normal time.

The goalkeeper saved all three of United’s spot kicks, while the Hornets scored all of theirs to send the visitors through with a 3-0 scoreline in the shootout after clawing the game back from the brink of defeat.

A first-half Rob Hall strike looked like it had been enough to separate the two sides, with the Hornets squandering a number of good chances, before finishing the match with only ten men, after an injury to Marc Navarro came with all three substitutes having already been made. However Ken Sema’s equaliser at the death meant the game had to be decided from the penalty spot.

Vladimir Ivic made eight changes to the team that beat Middlesbrough on Friday night, handing debuts to Derek Agyakwa, Francisco Sierralta, Toby Stevenson and Stipe Perica. Elsewhere, Bachmann started in goal in place of Ben Foster, Navarro replaced Kiko Femenia, Dan Phillips started in midfield instead of Tom Cleverley and Jerome Sinclair got a first start for the Hornets since January 2017, against the side he scored four times for on loan in the 2018/19 season.

The Hornets almost took the lead within 45 seconds of kick off, after Sinclair picked the pocket of John Mousinho who was trying to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick. The striker slipped a pass into the feet of Perica on the edge of the six-yard-box, but his shot was kept out by a smart reaction save from Jack Stevens.

A second big chance came Perica’s way just after ten minutes when the ball was worked out to Stevenson on the left-hand side. His sweeping cross from deep was perfect for the Croatian, but his header flicked off the top of the crossbar.

It was the home side who took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, when Nathaniel Chalobah’s crossfield ball aimed at Navarro was cut out by Joel Cooper. The United midfielder charged to the edge of the area where the ball flicked up nicely for Hall, who planted it emphatically into the far corner, well beyond the reach of Bachmann.

Watford soon had a chance to reply, again with Perica finding space in the box, this time from Ben Wilmot’s searching ball from deep, but the striker’s touch gave Stevens nothing to worry about.

At the other end, there was plenty of concern for Bachmann in the Hornets’ net when Phillips was wrestled off the ball by Hall, who slipped a neat through pass into the feet of Derick Osei. The striker drilled an effort at the Watford goal and Bachmann did well to turn it behind for a corner.

The Austrian had to turn another shot behind shortly after when Sierralta’s attempted clearance went straight to the feet of Cameron Brannagan, whose shot was destined for the top corner, but for the goalkeeper’s acrobatics. From the resulting corner, Elliott Moore stuck a hopeful toe out and prodded the ball against the foot of the post, with fortune taking over Bachmann’s duties for the time being.

It was simple good luck again that kept the score at one as Oxford stepped up their attack with the Hornets firmly on the back foot.

Cooper worked the ball out to Long on the left-hand-side where Bachmann dived at the feet of the advancing United player and smothered the shot, only to divert the ball back into the path of Cooper, who somehow put the ball over the unguarded net from the penalty spot.

Ivic made two changes at half-time with Ken Sema replacing Nathaniel Chalobah and young Agyakwa making way for the more experienced Christian Kabasele.

Watford started the second-half as they had the first, with Perica wasting opportunities. It was Navarro this time who provided the delivery for the attacker, but the former Udinese man misjudged the flight of the ball and headed over, under no real pressure in the centre.

Navarro again found Perica in space shortly before the hour mark, with a perfectly measured through ball that saw the striker evade Oxford’s offside trap. However, he seemed in two minds about the best way to finish off the one-on-one situation and was thwarted by Stevens.

The home side absorbed the pressure from Watford and got themselves back on the front foot. Osei ought to have turned home a cross from Long, who skipped away from Navarro with ease, only for the striker to completely miss the ball inside the box.

With 20 minutes remaining, the Hornets were dealt a cruel blow when they were reduced to ten men. In an attempt to catch the pacey Osei, Navarro tweaked his hamstring and, having made all three substitutions, with Joao Pedro replacing Sinclair minutes before, the visitors were forced to finish the game with a numerical disadvantage.

Another miss, with five minutes left on the clock, seemed to have given the game to the home side, with Sema’s in-swinging corner from the right finding Perica’s head, but Stevens was equal to it at the near post and beat it away before the home side scrambled the ball clear from the ensuing melee.

However, with just 90 seconds remaining Watford finally found an equaliser. Stevenson’s ball from deep again found the head of Perica, but this time instead of shooting, he nodded back across goal to Pedro. The Brazilian missed the ball, but Sema was lurking and converted the tap-in, sending the game to penalties, but not before Bachmann’s extraordinary save to his left prevented Hall from putting Oxford back in front.

The Austrian produced more heroics in the penalty shootout, denying Anthony Forde, Marcus McGuane and Hall from the spot, while Sema, Quina and Perica converted their efforts to send the Hornets to Rodney Parade for the third round of the competition, after Newport County beat Cambridge United 1-0.