GAVIN Whyte’s stunning strike saw Oxford United come from behind to claim an excellent point at Charlton Athletic.

The winger picked out the top corner from 20 yards just minutes after coming on, sending the travelling fans behind the goal crazy.

It extended United’s unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One to four games – their longest for a year – but it only came after weathering some intense pressure.

Lyle Taylor had given Charlton the lead from the penalty spot, which transformed a tight game into one where the hosts were dominant for a spell before half-time.

But United dug in and rode their luck to stay in the game, which allowed a moment of magic from Whyte to earn a share of the spoils.

The visitors even had chances to win it late on, but the result lifted Karl Robinson’s side to 21st in the table, their highest position of the campaign, and means they go into Saturday’s 125th anniversary celebrations in good spirits.

Ricky Holmes was a surprise starter for the visitors, as he recovered from a back problem to replace Whyte, while Cameron Brannagan came in for the injured Shandon Baptiste.

United matched their hosts with a diamond in midfield and for 20 minutes they would have been happy with the way Charlton were kept quiet.

The only danger came from a slip from Curtis Nelson in the tenth minute. It saw Tariqe Fosu charge forward in a three-on-two attack, but the U’s centre back did superbly to sprint back and win the ball just outside his penalty area.

United’s plans were thrown into disarray, however, when Ben Reeves got the better of Josh Ruffels. Eastwood hesitated as he came out for the loose ball and the Charlton midfielder was upended by the goalkeeper.

Despite United’s protests, referee Dean Whitestone pointed to the spot and Taylor slammed in his eighth goal of the season.

Having looked so solid at 0-0, the visitors suddenly looked unsteady.

Charlton players found space across the pitch and for 15 minutes it looked a question of when, rather than if, a second goal arrived.

Taylor flashed one cross just behind Grant, who then carved out a great chance for Joe Aribo with a cut back in the 35th minute. The midfielder was in space 12 yards out, but mis-kicked to let United off the hook.

The pressure saw Nelson, Tony McMahon and Josh Ruffels – three-quarters of the visiting back four – pick up bookings as United battled to stay in the game.

They were not helped by an inability to hold on to the ball, as the new-look front two of Jamie Mackie and Marcus Browne were kept quiet.

But late in the half the visitors finally worried the Addicks.

James Henry broke free from a Charlton corner and ran 50 yards. His cross found its way to Brannagan, whose touch allowed the defenders time to block his shot.

Holmes, booed by a section of the home fans on his return to the Valley, then curled a 20-yard effort just wide of Jed Steer’s far post.

They also made a bright start to the second half. Browne had a weak penalty appeal turned down, but the resulting corner led to the West Ham loanee having a shot from the edge of the box saved.

Their impetus faded as the dangerous Taylor got the better of Dickie. First the defender was booked for a foul on the edge of the box and four minutes later he pulled the striker’s shirt despite the ball clearly going out for a goal kick.

The referee gave him a final warning and Robinson decided to take him off before he was sent off, but Dickie was clearly fuming at the decision.

Jamie Hanson replaced him, but it was United’s second substitute who turned the game on its head 20 minutes from time.

A move which started with Eastwood saw Brannagan burst forward and find Whyte, who from near the right corner of the Charlton area curled an inch-perfect shot into the top corner.

The Northern Ireland international was sent clear down the right by Holmes nine minutes later and with Mackie calling for a cross he opted to take an extra touch and shoot, but it was blocked.

United were certainly not playing for a point and Hanson came close to a winner with a deflected shot from range which Steer did well to save.

Henry lashed a shot wide in stoppage-time, but unlike last season there was no late drama.

Charlton Ath (4-1-2-1-2): Steer, Dijksteel, Pearce, Pratley, Solly, Cullen, Reeves (Ward 74), Aribo, Fosu (Bielik 88), Taylor, Grant.

Unused subs: Phillips, Marshall, Sarr, Ajose, Lapslie.

Booked: Fosu.

Oxford Utd (4-1-2-1-2): Eastwood, McMahon, Nelson, Dickie (Hanson 60), Ruffels, Mousinho, Henry, Brannagan, Holmes (Carruthers 90), Mackie, Browne (Whyte 66).

Unused subs: Mitchell, Long, Raglan, Smith.

Booked: Nelson, McMahon, Ruffels, Dickie, Mackie.

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire).

Attendance: 9,984 (538 visitors).