WILL Goodwin was denied a winner with his first Oxford United goal as the U’s conceded a stoppage time equaliser at home to Northampton Town.

Josh Murphy had earlier given United the lead with just six minutes on the clock, when he arrowed a smart strike inside the near post.

Will Hondermarck’s header brought the Cobblers level with 10 minutes to go until the break though.

Goodwin looked like he had the final say when he grabbed his first U’s goal, on his home debut, with nine minutes left to play, however substitute Tony Springett brought the visitors level for a second time, two minutes into stoppage time.

Des Buckingham made two changes to the side which battled to a goalless draw at Wycombe Wanderers, as Joe Bennett and Billy Bodin came in for Jay Matete and Tyler Goodrham.

It meant a shuffle in formation, as United switched from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 set-up.

With Bennett at left back, Greg Leigh pushed further forward into an advanced role on the left, while Bodin and Ruben Rodrigues played in front of Cameron Brannagan in the midfield three.

The U’s made a fast start to the game, taking the lead with six minutes on the clock.

Murphy collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area, just right of centre, and arrowed in a super strike which caught Louie Moulden out as it whizzed past him at his near post.

The goal took any potential sting out of the match though, with both sides unable to carve out any chances or even make particular progress in the final third.

Murphy was more and more coming infield from the right-hand side, just to get on the ball more, and he played a delightful through ball for Bennett, whose low cross was claimed by Moulden.

The visitors found an equaliser pretty much out of nothing, with 10 minutes to go until the break.

Bodin’s pass infield was far too casual, and was picked up by the Cobblers. The swift counter-attack resulted in Marc Leonard swinging in a delightful cross, which Hondermarck headed past Jamie Cumming.

In the closing stages of the first half, Brannagan saw a 25-yard piledriver palmed away by Moulden, with Bodin’s effort from the rebound blocked on the edge of the box.

A low 25-yard shot from Murphy was then easily held by Moulden, as the sides entered the half-time break on level terms.

Leigh had the first attempt of the second period, collecting a pass from Ciaron Brown, before running into space and sending a 20-yard shot just wide.

Bodin then smashed a rising 25-yard shot over the crossbar, while Brannagan’s crack from distance sailed harmlessly away from goal, as United looked for a sharp response in the second half.

There was a break in play for a few minutes as Brannagan received treatment close to the halfway line, with a Murphy effort driven at Moulden when the game restarted.

Goodrham replaced Bennett in Buckingham’s first alteration, 20 minutes into the second half. The young winger went out on the left, with Leigh dropping into full back.

Buckingham made a triple change seven minutes later, as Josh McEachran, Owen Dale and Goodwin replaced Brannagan, Murphy and Mark Harris.

Sam Long headed over from a McEachran corner, prior to United nudging back in front.

The move saw two of Buckingham’s substitutes combine, with Dale doing superbly down the right, to beat his man and then hook a cross in for Goodwin to stoop and head past Moulden.

Matete soon replaced Bodin, to help shore up the U’s midfield, with eight minutes then added on in stoppage time.

The Cobblers found a second equaliser two minutes into that injury time, when Springett was afforded space in the middle of the area, before seeing his strike take a nick as it went past the stretch of Cumming.

Oxford United (4-3-3): Cumming; Long, Negru, Brown, Bennett (Goodrham 65); Rodrigues, Brannagan (McEachran 72), Bodin (Matete 83); Murphy (Dale 72), Harris (Goodwin 72), Leigh.

Unused subs: Eastwood, Thorniley.

Booked: Rodrigues.

Northampton Town (4-3-3): Moulden; Willis, Sherring (Moore 85), Guthrie, Brough; Leonard, Fox (McWilliams 62), Hondermarck; Bowie (Appere 62), Simpson (Hoskins 80), Pinnock (Springett 85).

Unused subs: Dadge, Gape.

Booked: Hondermarck, Simpson, Pinnock, Hoskins.

Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)

Attendance: 8,732 (1,268 visitors).