Oxford United 0 Lincoln City 0

Last updated : 10 January 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Loan signing Richie Foran missed two glorious chances as Oxford United slipped off the top of the Division Three table after being held to a goalless draw at home to Lincoln.

Foran, who joined United from Carlisle in the week, made his debut when coming off the substitute's bench in place of out-of-form striker Steve Basham with 34 minutes remaining and just ten minutes into his first appearance, the speedy striker latched on to a Dean Whitehead free kick, but saw his header come back off the post and to safety.

And moments later the ball dropped at the feet off Foran but his weak right-foot shot was easily blocked by the Lincoln defence.

With Lincoln settling for a point from almost the first minute, Oxford struggled to play their usual flowing game.

Skipper Andrew Crosby saw his header in the fourth minute blocked on the line by the Lincoln defence, while the visitors went close through Mark Bailey and Gary Fletcher as both sides went to break the deadlock.

After a fairly drab opening period, things livened up after the break, with Oxford taking control.

Substitute Mark Rawle saw his volley saved by Lincoln keeper Alan Marriott and the keeper was to ensure a share of the spoils for his team in injury time when diving full stretch to tip a Whitehead shot over the bar.

Oxford manager Ian Atkins was not too despondent despite seeing his side knocked off top spot.

"I think that is our hardest game this year," he said. "We have a tremendous home record, we haven't lost here all season, but we are not going to win all of our games." "I thought Richie should have scored with both the header and the shot but to be fair to him he has not trained properly with us this week." Lincoln's Gary Simpson, in charge while boss Keith Alexander recovers from a serious health scare, added: "We were good value for points, we played very well today.

"Oxford have the best defensive record in the League, but our defence isn't bad either so I guessed 0-0 was predictable score."