Oxford United stopped the rot after three successive defeats but again struggled in front of goal as they were held goalless by Grays at the Kassam Stadium.

New signings Justin Richards, Matt Green and Michael Howard all did OK on their debuts, but there wasn't a great deal to cheer for another excellent attendance, of 4,891, as the Oxford United fans continued to show quite outstanding support for their team.

Darren Patterson made six changes altogether to the young side which lost at Exeter, with the three new signings joined by three who were suspended last week.

Grays should have opened the scoring in the 13th minute after an error of judgment from Oxford keeper Billy Turley.

He hesitated in coming to collect a long Grays ball forward and was caught in no-man's land asDanny Kedwell easily reached the ball first. But the keeper made amends with a top-class one-handed save from Kedwell's side-footed shot, and then pounced on the loose ball.

Justin Richards had a flicked header saved from Phil Trainer's free-kick before United's two new strikers combined to almost put the home side ahead on 20 minutes.

Green's overhead kick in a crowded six-yard box came off Richards' knee and it needed a good reaction save from Ross Flitney at his left post to prevent a goal.

Oxford wasted a golden opportunity when Odubade, breaking down the right, failed to see the unmarked Green in acres of space in the middle, until it was too late, and then crossed straight into the keeper's arms.

Former U's defender Jon Ashton produced a superb tackle when Green had a clear run at goal from Trainer's through pass, Oxford's new signing taking the ball too wide with his first touch.

And in first-half injury time, Patterson's men squandered another good opening when Richards completely overhit his left-wing cross when there were players waiting in the box.

Grays, who had Jamie Stuart back in the centre opf defence after missing the FA Trophy defeat by York, began trying their luck from distance at the start of the second half, and it nearly brought them rewards.

Karl Murray was the first to try his luck with a 25-yard drive that Turley plucked away from the top right corner of his goal.

And fellow midfielder Michael Standing, who had spent the first four months of this season at Oxford, fired in an even better effort from 30 yards that smashed against the angle of bar and post, after Turley had just got his fingertips to it.

Oxford midfielder Adam Murray then had a go from 30 yards with a decent hit that Flitney dealt with.

The U's brought on Danny Rose and Eddie Hutchinson to try to freshen things up, and Hutchinson put himself about up front, but was also lucky to get away with a very late high challenge on Flitney.

Two minutes from time, Scott Taylor almost snatched all three points for Grays when he got in behind United's defence, but Foster's chalenge just did enough to put him off his shot, and Turley saved.

Oxford Utd: Turley, Clarke, Quinn, Foster, Howard, Anaclet, Murray, Trainer, Odubade(Rose 65), Green (Taylor 82), Richards (Hutchinson, 65). Subs not used: Warrell, Day.

Att: 4,891.