Oxford United had a first league win since November cruelly snatched from their grasp at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

They led for most of the match after Yemi Odubade struck in the 40th minute with his seventh goal of the season.

But with four minutes remaining, Gavin Johnson lost track of where he was as he tried to defend a cross and Shots substitute Kirk Hudson lashed home a thunderbolt from the right edge of the area to bring the home side a draw.

It was desperately unfortunate for the U's, who gave a very hard-working performance and dictated large chunks of play.

But whatever they do, it seems, they cannot secure that long-awaited first Conference victory since they beat Tamworth 2-1 way back on November 25.

The late equaliser was tough on Johnson too, for he had been a strong attacking force with a succession of decent left-wing crosses and free-kicks, especially in the first half.

After Odubade had struck it really did look as though Oxford were going to reignite their promotion campaign on a very heavy surface.

The pitch, which had only just passed a midday inspection, cut up badly late in the game after further steady rain, adding to a sodden surface after the previous days' snow had melted.

United made a very bright start and were practically camped in and around the Shots' penalty area for the first 15 minutes.

The visitors looked sharp, were quicker to the ball and showed great desire.

And with the home fans making a lot of noise, it was that rare occurence of a Conference match with a great atmosphere.

Odubade almost got on the end of a chipped cross from Martin Foster, which keeper Nikki Bull turned for a corner, under severe pressure.

Then Eddie Anaclet cut in purposefully from the right, with Foster making a good decoy run to his right, and - his confidence boosted by last week's goal - drove left-footed over the bar.

Moments later, Chris Hargreaves met Johnson's free-kick with a header that Bull saved low by his near post.

By this time, Rob Duffy had to go off with a facial injury after a clash with Aldershot centre back Rhys Day. The referee checked with his assistant that the collision had been accidental, but Duffy seemed less sure.

After trying to continue for a few minutes, Duffy came off and was replaced by Kris Grebis.

Jim Smith had been playing an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with Marvin Robinson alongside Duffy and Odubade on the left, and with his change of strikers, Odubade moved to the right and Robinson to the left of the Latvian.

United had been dominating the midfield, with Danny Rose, Hargreaves and Foster looking the business, and Johnson, back in the side to replace the suspended Rufus Brevett, seeing a lot of the ball, and delivering some useful crosses.

Aldershot's first really dangerous raid came in the 18th minute when Karl Beckford cut in from the left and scooped a shot just past the far post.

Another Oxford chance came when Chris Hargreaves's cross from near the left touchline evaded everyone and Odubade struck a first-time shot, but Bull got behind it.

Midifelder Mark Molesley tested Chris Tardif with a 20-yard shot after a strong run from midfield, but the keeper dealt with it comfortably.

Seven minutes before the break, the home side should probably have scored, very much against the run of play.

Beckford was unmarked in the middle as Ryan Williams swung over a centre from the right, but he planted his header inches wide of Tardif's left post.

The heavy conditions played a part in United's breakthrough five minutes before half-time.

Kris Grebis missed Johnson's low left-wing cross, and as he lay on the ground, he managed to poke the ball out towards Odubade, who lashed it high into the net from ten yards.

The lead was the very least the U's deserved, and they should have made it two a few minutes later when they had a two against one break.

Odubade sprinted down the left wing, and crossed to Rose, who shot early, but saw his left-footed drive flash narrowly wide.

Both sides went close in the opening minutes of the second half as the rain teemed down.

Bull punched out a Hargreaves header from Foster's free-kick, before Robinson was flagged offside, and at the other end a minute later, the Shots had a goal disallowed for offside.

Aldershot went close to equalising after poor play from Grebis. He made a pitiful attempt to get past Day, who immediately released Jonny Dixon for a run on goal.

Dixon poked the ball past Tardif, but Anaclet cleared the danger from inside his own six-yard box.

Ryan Scott was yellow-carded for a horribly high tackle on Mickey Corcoran.

Soon afterwards, Foster soon joined him after a collision with Williams.

Aldershot piled on pressure and missed one good opportunity following a poor punch by Tardif at a corner, which travelled only a couple of yards.

Andy Burgess replaced Rose for the last 20 minutes which the U's played sensibly, keeping possession and maintaining their attacking pressure.

Robinson met an excellent free-kick from Burgess with a thumping header, but sent it over the bar.

The ref took no notice of Louie Soares's appeals for a penalty when he went down with Anaclet close by, and booked Soares for diving instead.

Aldershot's 86th-minute equaliser stunned the visitors, and in a frantic last few minutes both sides went hell for leather for a winner.

The Shots came closest to achieving it, Dixon ending a bout of head tennis with a headed effort from four yards that Tardif saved just under the bar.

It had been a richly entertaining match, played at a high tempo with skill and huge endeavour. A wonderful advert for the Conference.