AN improved Oxford United were unable to punish a poor Torquay United side as a host of chances went begging in a goalless draw.

The majority of openings came in a dominant second half for the home side, when the Gulls had to defend desperately.

James Constable missed arguably the best chances at either end of the game.

Sean Rigg also had multiple efforts, while Andy Whing had one header cleared off the line late on.

The performance was significantly better than in midweek, but United will be disappointed to take just a single point from back-to-back home games.

Liam Davis came into the side at the expense of Tony Capaldi for his first start of the season as one of three changes to the U's side.

Johnny Mullins and Simon Heslop were also drafted in, with Michael Raynes and Adam Chapman dropping to the bench.

United were determined to make a better start than in Tuesday's 3-2 defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge and they had a great chance to open the scoring in only the second minute.

Tom Craddock slipped a ball into James Constable, but Martin Rice twice denied the striker.

United retained the ball and when a cross came in Sean Rigg headed straight at Torquay's stand-in goalkeeper.

The visitors, who had lost their last three away games in npower League Two, looked low on confidence and struggled to keep the ball.

As the half wore on the U's attacking threat diminished.

Their brightest moments all came down the left flank through Sean Rigg, while on the opposite wing Heslop was unable to make an impact.

At the other end United, with Mullins returning to the back four, looked untroubled.

Kevin Nicholson and Nathan Craig fired free-kicks just wide, but it took the Gulls 44 minutes to test United goalkeeper Ryan Clarke.

It came from Billy Bodin, who cut on to his left foot and let fly from 20 yards, forcing Clarke to turn the ball round the post.

Jon-Paul Pittman, on for Craddock at the break, nearly opened the scoring within three minutes of the restart.

The forward spun his marker superbly, only to lash the ball over the crossbar from just inside the box.

It was the catalyst for the game to improve markedly.

Ryan Jarvis had the ball in the net with a firm header on 53 minutes but the offside flag cut short Torquay's celebrations.

United responded with an incisive spell which brought the home fans to life.

Constable fizzed a shot narrowly over and Rigg twice fired just wide.

The winger's second chance was by far the clearer after Pittman had laid off Andy Whing's cross, but with the goal gaping Rigg missed the target.

With 20 minutes remaining Heslop and Pittman combined to set up Constable, whose shot was tipped over by Rice.

Constable should have broken the deadlock seven minutes from time. The striker turned brilliantly, but shot over the bar with his left foot from less than ten yards.

United poured forward in the final stages, battering Torquay's defence.

The referee waved away a penalty claim when James Constable was barged over, while Whing had a header cleared off the line by Craig Easton.

It was the final clear chance for United, who had to settle for only a point.

Oxford Utd (4-4-2): Clarke, Whing, Mullins, Wright, Davis, Heslop (Chapman 81), Cox, Leven, Rigg, Constable, Craddock (Pittman ht).

Unused subs: Brown, Raynes, Capaldi, Forster-Caskey, Marsh.

Torquay Utd (4-5-1): Rice, Oastler, Saah, Downes, Nicholson, Mansell, Lathrope (Yeoman 75), Easton, Craig, Bodin, Jarvis (N Thompson 68).

Unused subs: Leadbitter, Halpin, Cruise, MacKenzie, C Thompson.

Referee: Robert Madley.

Attendance: 5,773 (259 visitors).