Bolton Wanderers were unlucky not to come away with three points after being held to a goalless by Oxford United at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Keith Hill’s men put in an encouraging and entertaining display in front of the home crowd as they bounced back from Saturday’s defeat to Rotherham United.
Making two changes from the trip to South Yorkshire with Will Buckley and Jason Lowe coming in for James Weir and Luke Murphy respectively.
Buckley, playing in a central role, had an outstanding evening and almost helped to pupt his side in front when he cut the ball back into the path of the dangerous Thibaud Verlinden whose shot was blocked. Almost immediately, Buckley latched onto a cross and saw his header fall into the path of Oxford ‘keeper Simon Eastwood.
Wanderers’ bright start continued and Verlinden was in the fray once again this time seeing his low centre fall into the path of the impressive Adam Chicksen, with the fullback’s powerful drive going over the bar.
Buckley was proving to be problematic for the visitors defence and he was fouled in a dangerous area with Ali Crawford’s resulting free kick being held by Eastwood.
Wanderers survived a penalty appeal when Tariqe Fosu went down in the box but immediately afterwards Dennis Politic hammered a shot over the bar when Verlinden’s cross was cleared into his path.
The woodwork came to the rescue for the visitors when Buckley sprang the offside trap to race in on goal. His shot came off the underside of the cross bar before Josh Emmanuel followed up with a shot that was blocked.
The big full back launched then an attack which saw Jason Lowe switch the play to Verlinden who cut inside on his right foot and forcing a fine save from Eastwood.
The home side were well on top at the stage and Lowe was unfortunate not to get his first goal for Wanderers when his low shot went narrowly wide after being teed up by Politic.
A rare opportunity fell to Oxford when former Wanderer James Henry hit a tame shot from the edge of the box which didn’t trouble Remi Matthews.
Matthews then made a save from Ben Woodburn after Josh Ruffels put in a dangerous cross from the left hand side.
The visitors were starting to get into the game a little more and Wanderers had Jake Wright to thank when he blocked Matt Taylor’s drive.
Matthews then pulled off a great save to thwart Rob Dickie after he was fed by Fosu.
Wright once again proved to be in the right place to deny Taylor after he slid in to dispossess the front man.
Not long after the restart and Matthew had to be alert to keep out a near post header from Brannagan,
Liam Bridcutt put in an imperious displayer in midfield and was seemingly everywhere on the park.
Eastwood held onto another effort from Verlinden who was proving to be a constant menace.
Lowe almost gave his side a deserved lead on 74 minutes when his thunderous strike was tipped over the bar by Eastwood.
Weir, who had earlier come on for the outstanding Verlinden, saw his shot deflect narrowly wide with just under ten minutes remaining.
Oxford held on and Wanderers were fully deserving of their clean sheet and on another evening would have picked up a comfortable victory.