For the second time in three days, Shots showed magnificent character to earn a result, this time, in the most difficult of circumstances, down to ten men for 77 minutes of this League Two match. James Constable volleyed Oxford in front on 21 minutes, but a 66th minute equaliser from Luke Guttridge gave Shots a richly deserved share of the spoils, after Anthony Straker had been sent off on 13 minutes for a professional foul on Deane Smalley.
Shots manager Dean Holdsworth made two changes from the starting line-up that were victorious at Upton Park on Wednesday. Micheal Rankine returned up front, in place of Jake Taylor and Jermaine McGlashan came in for Peter Vincenti, who along with Taylor, took up a place on Shots five man bench, which once again did not include a goalkeeper.
Both teams came into the match on the back of hugely significant away wins. Oxford had previously won 2-1 at local rivals and promotion favourites Swindon Town.
There was little in the early exchanges, a chance each for both sides in the first 10 minutes and then a hammer blow (excuse the pun) for Shots. Deane Smalley burst clear of the defence and bore down on Shots goal. Straker, trying to maintain pace with him, nudged him from behind and Smalley fell to the ground. The referee, well placed to be fair, showed no hesitation in producing a red card. Harsh? Yes, maybe, but probably correct.
Holdsworth made a tactical change, taking off Rankine, leaving Shots with a 4-4-1 formation, Hylton up top on his own. Vincenti came on and into midfield, with Jamie Collins dropping to left back.
On 21 minutes Shots went behind....Young somewhat surprisingly choosing to punch rather than collect a cross, with no other player near to him. The ball dropped invitingly to the lethal James Constable, who volleyed it back over Youngs head for his third goal in two games.
After that Shots coped pretty well with being down to ten men and in truth,m created as many chances in the rest of the first half as the home side did. Lewis Guy went closest for U's, Rodman and McGlashan for Shots. So, 1-0 at the break and all to play for still for Shots.
They begun the second half well - earning a corner, from which McGlashan shot wide. Vincenti tried desperately to steer the shot back towards goal, but miss-kicked. But Shots looked comfortable with ten men and even began to dominate as the second half wore on.
On 66 minutes, Shots were level - a flowing team move resulting in a left foot shot from Guttridge 18 yards out, which flew across goal and into the far corner. 1-1.
And that, largely, was it. Oxford struggled to make their extra man count. Shots defended brilliantly and even managed to find a creative side at times. Until the final five minutes, Shots looked the only team likely to go on and win the match. In those dying moments, Oxford managed 4 corners, but had only an Alfie Potter volley to show for them and Shots held on for a morale boosting point.
Shots: Young 6 Herd 6 Jones 7 Morris 7 Straker n/a McGlashan 7 (Bubb) Guttridge 8 Collins 7 Rodman 7 (Pulis) Hylton 7 Rankine n/a (Vincenti 7).
Att: 6673 (with 435 Shots fans)