REPORT | Oxford United 0 Wanderers 0

Baxter Evatt applause

Wanderers’ winning run came to an end but there was no knocking them of the top of League One as they secured another clean sheet to make it seven in a row for the first time since 1900, writes Pete Oliver.

Nathan Baxter made two excellent first-half saves to earn a share of the club record as the Whites remained leaders of the pack.

Ian Evatt’s men then went on to dominate the second half with an impressive performance against one of their potential promotion rivals.

Wanderers bombarded the Oxford penalty area but found the U’s on-loan Brighton keeper James Beadle equally determined to make his mark.

With the Whites for once unable to conjure up a goal - for only a second time this season - there was to be no ninth successive win but extending the unbeaten run again underlined Wanderers' resilience and Evatt’s side now turns their attention to back-to-back cup ties with their promotion push still very much in forward gear.

Baxter control

Not surprisingly, Wanderers named the same side that started Saturday’s 7-0 beating of Exeter City as they extended their winning run.

Oxford’s own decent run had been interrupted by just a second defeat in 11 league games at the weekend which had seen the Whites leapfrog them into top spot.

And with so little between the teams, it was understandably close in a cagey first half short of real chances in the opening half-hour.

Wanderers gave as good as they got and worked a couple of decent openings around the U’s box without being able to pick out a white shirt in front of goal.

And it was Oxford who then went closest to going ahead before the interval with two efforts that produced superb saves from Baxter.

Charles chance Oxford

The Whites’ keeper had put himself on the verge of history with his recent run of shut-outs and showed his determination to prolong the sequence by denying Stan Mills and then Cameron Brannagan.

For the first, Baxter dashed out to thwart Mills who was through on goal and then made an even better stop to somehow react and keep out a superb free-kick from Branagan which looked destined for the top corner.

They had been the two closest calls but at the start of the second half Wanderers created a couple of opportunities of their own as they began to build the pressure and get on top.

George Thomason twice picked out Dion Charles for efforts on goal, the second of which was well saved by Beadle.

Dacres-Cogley Oxford

Victor Adeboyejo and Paris Maghoma then saw efforts blocked as Wanderers picked holes in the U’s defence with an hour gone and Beadle again had to make a smart block to keep out an angled drive from Jack Iredale after Thomason had again provided the ammunition.

With Wanderers beginning to dominate, Iredale was suddenly a key man as the regular outlet down the Whites’ left side and twice he fired the ball across the face of goal where Josh Dacres-Cogley and then substitute Jon Dadi-Bodvarsson couldn’t capitalise.

The Whites did everything but score as Oxford could barely get out of their own half.

But Josh Sheehan also saw a goalbound effort blocked as the U’s packed their penalty area and in the dying seconds Thomason went close to a dramatic winner with an effort saved by Beadle as Wanderers were just denied yet another victory.

Wanderers: Baxter; Jones, Almeida Santos, Toal; Sheehan; Dacres-Cogley, Maghoma (Dempsey 78), Thomason, Iredale; Charles (Nlundulu 83), Adeboyejo (Bodvarsson 67). Substitutes: Coleman, Mendes Gomes,Forrester, Morley.

Booked: Thomason, Baxter

Oxford United: Beadle; Stevens, Moore, Thornley, Brown; Mills (Negru 78), McGuane, Brannagan; Harris (O’Donkor 78), Bodin (Murphy 67), Edwards (Goodrham HT). Substitutes: Eastwood, McEachran, Goodrham, Rodriguez Gorrin.

Booked: Mills, Bodin

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Attendance: 8,899

Read Time: 4 mins