Oxford United drew for only the second time this season, picking up a point after a 0-0 draw with Ipswich Town at the Kassam Stadium this evening.
United created the better chances throughout but just couldn't find a way to win the game, although they will be happy with a first clean sheet and a performance high on conviction.
There were a couple of early touches for keeper Jack Stevens, preferred in goal to Simon Eastwood, with Mide Shodipo stretching the game wide on the left on his recall to the side and gradually, pushed forward by some neat touches from Marcus McGuane and Liam Kelly, United started to open up the visiting defence.
A Josh Ruffels drive on 17 minutes was tamely struck, a Rob Atkinson touch from a free kick soon after rolled wide and Eliott Moore nodded a corner just wide on 21 minutes. The best chance came for James Henry after some excellent possession play from the U’s and a deep cross from Matty Taylor. Henry did well to head goalwards but keeper Cornell and the left-hand post kept the ball out of the net and left it at 0-0 at half time.
Ipswich worked hard and closed down space but their only real moment of danger in the opening 45 minutes came on 27 when Stevens was smartly off his line to take the ball from the toes of the advancing Aaron Drinan. Other than that United looked comfortable and gradually they started to create clearer chances.
An Atkinson volley on 56 was beaten away before the first really clear chance came for Shodipo, only for his goalbound effort to fly wide off the torso of a sliding defender. From the corner Henry danced through and smashed in another good shot which Cornell just about pushed away.
A McGuane drive span away for another corner via the chest of the covering Mark McGuinness before Taylor found Cornell just too quick off his line as they raced towards a ball in no-man's land.
Ipswich saw Jon Nolan lean back and send a long-range effort well off target on 75 and an Andre Dozzell corner caused Stevens a few anxious moments as it dipped alarmingly towards the goal, but The U's had fully deserved their clean sheet and the only frustration was that they couldn't find a winner to cap a very determined 90 minutes.
It almost came on 88 when McGuane was once again denied by two brave defenders throwing themselves in front of him, but Ipswich had probably deserved their point on stubborness alone. A second goalless draw in a row between the teams at the Kassam, this one not played in rain of biblical proportions.
A point, no goals against and the fans starting to join them next game. Settle for that, regroup and start again. Reunited.
Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Daniels, stats by OPTA