Oxford United were comprehensively beaten in their FA Cup second-round replay at League One Southend on Tuesday night.

The Shrimpers got three goals but might easily have doubled that as they missed five or six great chances, and saw Billy Turley save a penalty.

The gulf in class was very evident. Hard though Conference side Oxford worked, they were totally outplayed, and Southend now go through to a home tie against Dagenham in the third round.

The U's also had six players booked, which will not help their cause.

Fans voted with their feet about the ridiculous ticket prices Southend were charging.

The gate of just 2,740 was nearly 5,000 fewer than for the Essex club's league game last Saturday and was their lowest FA Cup attendance since 1910.

It was a terrible start for United as they fell behind in only the fifth minute.

Mark Gower left James Clarke on his backside and his cross from the left took a slight deflection on its way to the near post, where ex-Gravesend & Northfleet striker Charlie MacDonald headed easily past Billy Turley.

Oxford were rattled and Southend almost added another moments later through Dean Morgan, who forced Turley into a good save, and then from a smart move down the right when only a fine interception by Barry Quinn saved his team.

The League One side spread the ball around beautifully, and seemed to have so much space and time on the ball. But their movement was good, and were able to control the ball instantly, something U's fans have been unused to seeing, from either their team or the opposition.

Joel Ledgister, who used to be a trainee at Roots Hall, was booked for a late tackle on Gower which left the winger in some pain.

United had another escape on 22 minutes when Simon Francis's right-wing cross flicked off the top of Luke Foster's head and smacked against the crossbar.

Turley was having a much busier time than he normally does, as only to be expected, but when he dropped a cross and then dived on the loose ball, Garry Richards went in hard for it, caught the keeper with his boot and was immediately surrounded by Turley's angry teammates.

Referee Trevor Kettle showed Richards the yellow card. Had it been a Blue Square Premier game, it would probably have been red.

Gower was having a field day, and he fired in a long-range drive which flew barely a yard past the far post.

The non-League side were not getting many sights of goal, but Yemi Odubade produced a fine piece of play by advancing positively, in a central position, and hitting a fierce 20-yard shot, which skimmed off the top of the bar.

Gower really should have made it 2-0 when Barry Quinn was turned by Alan McCormack and he only needed to knock the loose ball past Turley from eight yards. But, far too casual with the chance, he prodded it wide of Turley's left-hand post.

And the U's almost made the Shrimpers pay for that miss a minute later when Ashley Barnes showed smart close control tol beat two players and then shoot low from just inside the area.

Keeper Steve Collis stretched out his left hand to parry well, but there was no U's player near to react to the loose ball.

Turley got down well to save Peter Clarke's shot and also an effort from MacDonald as the visitors had to deal with wave after wave of attacks.

Right on half-time Southend won a penalty when Turley brought down Dean Morgan on the right edge of the box, the striker just too quick for him.

Turley was booked and it was his fifth yellow card of the season, meaning he will be suspended for the Setanta Shield tie at Aldershot.

Up stepped MacDonald and he struck his spot kick hardand low to the right of the goal, but Turley read which way he was going and saved brilliantly.

Unfortunately for him, less than two minutes later,and deep in stoppage time, MacDonald was then brought down by Quinn and again the ref pointed straight to the spot.

This time Morgan fired Spot Kick No 2 to Turley's right and the keeper couldn't get near it.

Turley got away with spilling a shot from Tommy Black. It dropped invitingly for MacDonald three yards out but he somehow missed the target!

The Oxford players tried their best to make a game of it but the gulf at times looked a lot more than the 56 places that separated the sides.

Southend's Nicky Bailey also went sprawling ion the area, but Mr Kettle wasn't impressed and booked him for diving.

When Ledgister went in hard into a tackle he was lucky to escape a second booking, and moments later he was replaced by Rob Duffy, with United's management team probably trying to save him from getting sent off.

Other bookings did follow, though.

First Eddie Hutchinson, then Barnes, then Foster, nearly always because they were simply beaten to the ball by more skilful players.

Clarke went on one excellent run midway through the second half, which ended with Barnes shooting wide when the keeper was out of his goal.

But United had had few real scoring opportunities.

Clarke became the sixth Oxford player booked near the end.

Turley made two superb saves low to his right in the closing minutes from Morgan and MacDonald.

And in injury time, MacDonald got his second goal of the night with a simple head.

But for Turley it could easily have been eight.