KARL Robinson praised both sets of players for avoiding an abandonment as promotion rivals Oxford United and Ipswich Town eventually played out a goalless draw.

Reaching the final whistle looked unlikely at one stage during the first half, when referee Tom Nield halted play after a sustained period of torrential rain.

Read also: Oxford United 0, Ipswich Town 0

Standing water, especially in the centre circle, was interfering with the game and there were concerns about player safety.

Robinson thought the contest came close to being called off, but the two teams’ desire to get the game on led to only a suspension, which allowed conditions to improve.

United’s head coach said: “You don’t know how close that was.

“I think it was two really honest groups of players and I think the referee was backed into a corner.

“The right outcome came. We did our best in terrible weather conditions.”

He added: “It felt in that five-minute period the pitch was becoming a bit unsafe.

“It was heavy in patches, but I thought the two sets of players were very honest.”

During the stoppage, which ran to 16 minutes, Ipswich stayed on the pitch while United’s players headed to the changing room.

Midfielder Shandon Baptiste said: “We were just preparing for the game to stay on. Everyone had the right mindset so if we did have to go back out we were ready.”

“I think we showed that.

“It was a big game and we dug deep to play the conditions well. We’re happy we’ve got a point.”

The draw was a good response to Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Rotherham United and left United just four points off the Sky Bet League One leaders.

Robinson said: “We’re getting closer to them and it’s a pleasing point.

“At the end of the season we’ll look back and remember that night we dug out a point against Ipswich Town at home.”

The biggest talking point came late in the first half, when James Norwood had a strong penalty claim waved away.

Both managers said the referee later told them it was a foul, but that he felt the striker had already committed an offence on John Mousinho.

Ipswich boss Paul Lambert said: “It was a foul before, but two wrongs don’t make a right. He admitted it was a penalty.”