JAMIE Mackie came off the bench to create one goal and score another as Oxford United hit back from two goals down to claim a point at Fleetwood Town.

The Cod Army looked well on their way to claiming a ninth victory from ten meetings with the U’s when Wes Burns and Paddy Madden struck in the opening half-hour.

United had been neat in possession but toothless up front before the break, but their forlorn hopes were turned around by Mackie’s introduction.

The veteran striker’s cross was converted by James Henry for his 12th goal of the season to get them back in the game.

And he bagged the equaliser himself just after the hour mark and United looked the side more likely of going on to win the game in the closing stages.

The point was not enough to lift them out of Sky Bet League One’s relegation zone, but they will take plenty of heart from the second-half fightback.

Mackie was only fit enough for the bench and with no new signings, the visitors again named Gavin Whyte as a makeshift centre forward.

The last thing they needed was to concede with Fleetwood’s first meaningful attack, but the hosts did just that.

United were sliced open by James Wallace’s pass, which gave Burns time to pick his spot past an exposed Simon Eastwood.

It was a disastrous start, but the visitors responded well.

In tricky wet and windy conditions they kept the ball well and had some joy down their right flank through Jordan Graham.

They forced five corners in quick succession, but Fleetwood looked well organised defensively and goalkeeper Alex Cairns was not troubled.

While United were patient in possession, the home side looked to spring forward at pace and caused problems.

And on 26 minutes they punished Karl Robinson’s side for the second time from a quick counter-attack.

Madden exchanged passes with Ashley Nadesan before sweeping a shot into the top corner from just inside the box.

It was a reminder of just what United were missing at the sharp end – even with Ched Evans suspended Fleetwood had the luxury of naming Conor McAleny and Ashley Hunter on the bench.

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The game continued much as before, with the visitors seeing plenty of the ball without much anything to show for it.

Jamie Hanson came closest to troubling Cairns, who palmed his effort over the crossbar late in the half. It was a wayward cross, but the success-starved away fans chanted “we had a shot”.

United did start the second half with a striker, bringing Mackie on for Marcus Browne.

Robinson turned to his bench again seven minutes after the restart, bringing Sam Long on for the injured Jamie Hanson.

It looked like the latest setback in a bleak afternoon, but within seconds the U’s had a lifeline.

Whyte, now playing in his favoured position, pounced on James Wallace’s loose pass and fed Mackie, whose low cross was turned in by Henry.

United needed Eastwood to have his wits about him to prevent Fleetwood restoring their two-goal lead almost immediately.

The goalkeeper kept out Nadesan’s shot after Curtis Nelson gave the ball away, while he was also tested by Rob Dickie, who inadvertently diverted Lewie Coyle’s cross goalwards.

They proved crucial, as just after the hour mark United drew level.

Graham did well on the left and switched play to find Whyte, who used Long’s forward run as a decoy before crossing left-footed to find Mackie. The striker looked like he might have been offside, but turned the ball past Cairns and celebrated with the travelling fans behind the goal.

United had the momentum and pushed for a third goal.

Graham almost did that with a free-kick from the left which found the side netting, while Whyte forced Cairns into a smart save with a left-footed shot from 20 yards.

The visitors looked the most likely to bag a winner in the closing stages, forcing a host of corners.

They could not find a way through, but the point was a bonus considering United’s position at half-time.

Fleetwood Tn (4-3-1-2): Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Morgan, Husband, J Wallace, Holt (Sheron 89), R Wallace (Biggins 88), Madden, Nadesan (Hunter 77), Burns.

Unused subs: Jones, McAleny, Marney, Rydel.

Booked: J Wallace.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Eastwood, Hanson (Long 53), Nelson, Dickie, Ruffels, Mousinho, Henry, Brannagan, Graham, Whyte, Browne (Mackie HT).

Unused subs: Stevens, Norman, Garbutt, Raglan, Sykes.

Booked: Hanson, Mackie.

Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear).

Attendance: 2,789 (away not given).