CHRISTIAN Ribeiro’s stunning volley saw Oxford United come from behind to draw an absorbing clash at home to Charlton Athletic.

The full back’s left-footed effort from just inside the penalty area was a stylish way to bag his first goal for United, 18 months after signing.

It undid the damage done by a defensive error which allowed Tarique Fosu to give Charlton a cheap opening goal early on.

United’s best spell in search of a second goal came just before half-time, but Ricardinho was denied by a goalline clearance.

While the entertaining game continued after the break, neither side were able to find the moment of quality to get their noses in front on a night where two good sides in the Sky Bet League One play-off zone could not be separated.

Alex Mowatt was rewarded for his winning goal as a substitute at Bristol Rovers on Saturday with only his second league start, replacing the suspended Joe Rothwell.

United were looking for a fourth straight league win, but had their work cut out against the Addicks.

Ryan Ledson and James Henry picked up early bookings as the visitors made an assured start – and they pounced on a defensive error to take the lead on 18 minutes.

Fosu charged down Curtis Nelson’s clearance and the winger’s pace saw him reach the loose ball just before Simon Eastwood, rounding the goalkeeper to tap into the gaping net.

It was the rising star’s sixth goal in four games and he quickly laid on a glorious chance with a deep cross which Ricky Holmes volleyed over.

United looked momentarily rattled and for a while struggled to retain possession.

But the hosts cleared their heads and worked themselves back into the game.

While Charlton looked a well-drilled unit, the U’s began to find players in pockets of space as Jack Payne and Mowatt, who looked transformed by Saturday’s goal, pulled the strings.

Ledson and Henry were also influential, but the equaliser ten minutes before the break came from an unlikely source.

A neat move saw United switch play from left to right, where Henry was waiting.

His cross may have been cleared, but the ball fell for Ribeiro to thump a left-footed volley into the far corner. It was some way for the full back to open his goalscoring account for the club.

Within a minute, Josh Ruffels came within inches of making it 2-1 with a 20-yard curler which just beat the far post.

Mowatt laid on a chance which Wes Thomas skewed wide as United pushed late in the half.

They would have gone in ahead through Ricardinho’s thumping effort, but former U’s loanee Jake Forster-Caskey made an inspired block on the line.

The game continued to rattle along at an impressive tempo after the break.

Jack Payne stabbed a shot wide after burrowing into the box, before Charlton enjoyed a good spell as Holmes blasted a dipping volley just over the crossbar from 20 yards.

The dangerous attacker must have thought he was about to put the visitors back in front on 57 minutes, when Josh Magennis’s cutback fell into his path, but a combination of Nelson and Ruffels blocked the shot.

Back came United, with Ribeiro’s early cross met by Thomas, whose header from the edge of the box was tipped over by Ben Amos.

There was still half an hour remaining and although the chances began to dry up, you could not take your eye off the contest.

Both sides put in a huge amount of effort in search of a decisive moment which never quite arrived.

Karlan Ahearne-Grant curled a decent opening wide just after coming off the bench, while at the other end Ricardinho’s rising drive was just too high to pinch a winner in the final minute.

Oxford Utd (4-2-3-1): Eastwood, Ribeiro, Nelson, Mousinho, Ricardinho, Ledson, Ruffels, Henry, Payne, Mowatt (Xemi 76), Thomas (Obika 80).

Unused subs: Shearer, Williamson, Martin, Carroll, Roberts. Booked: Ledson, Henry.

Charlton Ath (4-1-4-1): Amos, Solly, Bauer, Sarr, Da Silva, Kashi, Holmes, Reeves (Clarke 66), Forster-Caskey, Fosu (Ahearne-Grant 87), Magennis.

Unused subs: Phillips, Jackson, Konsa, Aribo, Dodoo.

Booked: Kashi.

Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey).

Attendance: 7,070 (689 visitors).