Marvin Robinson netted for the second game running as Oxford United took another step closer to the Conference play-offs with a useful point at The Shay on Wednesday night But the main highlight for the U's was a lively debut from striker Chris Zebroski, who had signed just hours before the game on a month's loan from Millwall.

The 20-year-old is quick and frequently beat his marker with sharp turns, giving the Halifax defence a lot of problems.

In front of the Sky TV cameras, Jim Smith's side showed what an effective side they now are on their travels. They created nearly all the game's best opportunities, with Robinson pouncing in the 48th minute for his third goal of the season.

But United conceded an equaliser out of nothing in the 71st minute when Danny Forrest capitalised on some poor defending to turn sharply and fire in from 14 yards.

Oxford survived a big penalty shout three minutes from the end when Luke Foster fell onto the ground and appeared to handle the ball when it was crossed from the left, but the ref judged it accidental.

Halifax began with urgency and it needed a great tackle from Mickey Corcoran to deny Greg Strong in the second minute.

Soon Oxford got into their rhythm, though, and Zebroski was full of promise.

Showing good pace, and direct, he forced three corners in the first 15 minutes from his position on the right side of United's attack.

From the first of those, Barry Quinn's strong header was nodded off the line by Tom Kearney.

The pitch, though flat, and in places covered with sand, was lifeless, which often made it difficult for players trying to judge the bounce.

Danny Rose screwed a shot wide after a well-worked one-two, and a few minutes later the Manchester United youngster played a clever flick to his left on the edge of the box to free Carl Pettefer in space. However, Pettefer hung up his cross too high for Robinson.

Nevertheless, United were giving a much better first-half performance than on their previous visit to The Shay in the FA Trophy.

Halifax sprung to life when Lewis Killeen's driven 30-yard free-kick took a deflection off the wall and flew narrowly over Billy Turley's crossbar.

And moments later, Forest headed Gus Uhlenbeek's right-wing cross over the bar from a dangerous position.

It was a beautifully-worked six-man move that brought another corner for the U's eight minutes before half-time, and again they went close from the set piece, Foster heading over the bar from 14 yards.

Zebroski was at the heart of it when Oxford took the lead three minutes into the second half. The former Cirencester youngster reacted quickly to beat his marker and send the ball across the goal. Pettefer latched onto it, but his shot was deflected for a corner.

From Rose's flag-kick, Foster directed a powerful header against the post from ten yards, a follow-up header was blocked in front of goal, but Robinson lashed in the loose ball from three yards.

Playing in their all-yellow strip, Oxford were on top for large chunks of the second half, without being able to work any clear-cut openings.

At the other end, Forrest had a long-range drive comfortably saved by Turley who, moments later, saved well to his left when Jake Wright took advantage of Eddie Anaclet vacating his position. Wright sent in a cross which deflected wickedly towards goal, but Turley reached out with his left arm to paw it to safety., United were looking comfortable when Halifax equalised out of nothing in the 71st minute.

Killeen crossed from the left and Forrest was in too much space inside the box, from Oxford's point of view. He had time to bring the ball down and turn sharply, shooting past Turley from 14 yards.

The goal gave the Shaymen a big lift, and several of the visitors looked to be tiring.

But they got a new lease of life with a triple substitution six minutes from the end, former Oxford United striker Andy Campbell one of those entering the action.

He almost set up something straight away, but Hargreaves came in with a fabulous tackle to save the day.