EASTER is a time for miracles and the Kassam Stadium witnessed another one as Oxford United recovered from a wretched first-half display to take a point on Good Friday.

James Henry’s 56th-minute penalty dragged the home side back into a contest which should have been beyond their reach.

Ivan Toney’s close-range effort gave play-off hopefuls Scunthorpe an early lead in a dominant display.

United were second best all over the park and looked on the verge of conceding every time the slick visitors charged forward.

Henry got away with a handball on the line, while the best in a host of other chances was fired wide by Murray Wallace.

But the introduction of Jon Obika proved a key moment for United and the striker quickly won the penalty.

There was still more than half an hour to play, but neither side was able to carve out the big chance needed to take all three points.

Given the start, it was a result which the home side will be far happier with than their opponents.

Karl Robinson made just one change for his first home game in charge, bringing in Joe Rothwell for the suspended Alex Mowatt.

They created the contest’s first chance, Wes Thomas forcing a smart save from Matt Gilks after a long passing move.

But from then on it was one-way traffic for the rest of the half, as a Scunthorpe side who had won just once since New Year’s Day played their way back into form.

They were ahead in the 12th minute, after a quickly-taken free-kick caught United out.

Hakeeb Adelakun, who was involved in a very one-sided contest with Ashley Smith-Brown, drove forward into space and fired in a shot which was turned in by Toney.

United were suddenly all over the place – impotent in possession and then wide open when they lost the ball.

Scunthorpe found space with ease, as Adelakun, Toney, Josh Morris and Duane Holmes ran their hosts ragged.

Adelakun volleyed one chance wide, Morris was denied by goalkeeper Simon Eastwood, who was then beaten by a Holmes shot which rattled the outside of his right-hand post.

The U’s then got a huge slice of good fortune.

A 26th-minute corner was net by Rory McArdle, whose header was cleared off the line by James Henry’s right arm.

Referee Darren Drysdale and his officials missed it, but United could not use it as a turning point.

Jordan Clarke was the next to see a header blocked on the line, this time legally, by Rob Dickie, while Eastwood was quickly called into action to keep out a Holmes shot.

United’s goal was leading a charmed life, none more so than on the stroke of half-time.

Thomas’s weak clearing header at a corner fell straight to Murray Wallace, but the centre back missed a sitter by dragging a shot wide from eight yards.

United will have been incredibly grateful to reach half-time still in the game – and remarkably within 11 minutes of the restart they were level.

There was little to suggest a revival was in the offing, but Obika made an impact two minutes after replacing the ineffective Thomas.

A sliced clearance from Adelakun fell for the substitute, who broke into the box and was brought down by Clarke.

Henry avoided a repeat of Mowatt’s penalty issues at Fratton Park five days earlier, coolly sending Gilks the wrong way and finding the net.

It transformed the game and it took a brave block from a combination of McArdle and Wallace to keep out a shot from Napa with the next attack.

Scunthorpe were on the back foot, but they retained an attacking threat – as shown just after the hour when Adelakun grazed the crossbar with a curling effort from 20 yards.

Driving rain made conditions tricky as the game progressed and neither team could do enough in the closing stages to nick a victory.

For United it was a point closer to safety, ahead of the trip to high-flying Shrewsbury Town on Monday.

Oxford Utd (4-4-2): Eastwood, Kane, Dickie, Mousinho, Smith-Brown, Brannagan, Ledson, Rothwell (Ruffels 79), Henry, Napa (Buckley-Ricketts 67), Thomas (Obika 54).

Unused subs: Shearer, Martin, Ricardinho, Mehmeti.

Booked: Ledson, Rothwell.

Scunthorpe Utd (4-2-3-1): Gilks, Clarke (Vermijl 72), McArdle, Wallace, Townsend, Ojo, Yates, Adelakun (McGeehan 85), Holmes (Novak 85), Morris, Toney.

Unused subs: Watson, Bishop, Hopper, Burgess.

Booked: Holmes, Toney, Wallace, McGeehan.

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).

Attendance: 7,479 (268 visitors).