DEFENCES were on top as Oxford United were held to a goalless draw at home to York City.

The home side had the better of the game, but lacked the guile to take advantage.

Josh Parker came as close as anyone in yellow to breaking the deadlock, forcing York goalkeeper Michael Ingham into a superb save with a fierce drive.

The hosts pushed forward in search of a goal after the break, but clear opportunities became increasingly difficult to forge.

York, who arrived bottom of League Two's form table, were far happier with the result.

Their best chance also came before the break, when Matty Blair saw a close range header saved.

Alfie Potter and Michael Duberry returned to the squad but were named among the substitutes as U's boss Chris Wilder had the luxury of naming an unchanged side for the first time since August.

Parker was given another chance after deputising well for Potter at Plymouth last week and he was quickly in the action.

The winger found Sean Rigg in the fourth minute and his pull-back fell to Tom Craddock, whose shot was well blocked.

Adam Chapman curled a free-kick wide a minute later, before York got a grip on the game.

It was not until the 25th minute that either goalkeeper was stretched, when Ingham dived to his left to tip a fierce Parker drive around the post.

The kick-off was held up for five minutes after officials discovered the goal at the Oxford Mail Stand End was not level.

The problem was quickly rectified, but the work was hardly needed, as York barely threatened.

Apart from wild efforts from long range, they created just one opening before the break, although arguably it was the clearest chance either side created.

A lung-bursting run from Lanre Oyebanjo opened up the U's back four and when the cross came in Blair could only head straight at Luke McCormick.

It was a waste and the forward knew it, holding his head in his hands as York boss Gary Mills did the same on the touchline.

United finished the half on top, with Craddock heading wide and Constable shooting over.

York started the second half well and Ashley Chambers had two efforts on goal.

Both missed the target, but his second, a curler from 20 yards, almost caught out McCormick as it dipped on to the roof of the net.

United brought on Potter and Deane Smalley for Craddock and Rigg in a bid to freshen the hosts up.

It had a limited impact, as Ingham was rarely troubled after the break.

The City goalkeeper did well to take a whipped cross from Parker under pressure, but was otherwise not really tested.

United had opportunities from which to create, including a host of corners, but they could not break City's stubborn resistance.

Unfortunately for the hosts their best opening of the closing stages fell to Michael Raynes. Potter teed him up well on the edge of the box, but the defender's volley lacked power and was easily caught by Ingham.

It was the final good opportunity, as United were forced to settle with a point.

Oxford Utd (4-4-2): McCormick, Batt, Raynes, Wright, Davis, Parker, Chapman, Montrose, Rigg (Smalley 65) Constable, Craddock (Potter 54).

Unused subs: Crocombe, O'Brien, Duberry, Heslop, Whing.

York (4-5-1): Ingham, Parslow, Smith, O'Connell, Oyebanjo, Kerr, Rodman, McGrath, Blair, Walker (Rankine 90), Chambers (Bullock 81).

Unused subs: Musselwhite, McDaid, Potts, McLaughlin, Allan.

Attendance: 5,808 (319 visitors).

Referee: Tony Harrington.