Mitchell Cole netted against his old club as Oxford United Reserves drew with Southend Res in their opening Football Combination fixture at Didcot Town.

In front of watching boss Chris Wilder, Cole put the U’s ahead after nine minutes from the penalty spot after finding Alfie Potter inside the box.

Potter was brought down by Bilel Mohsni and Cole made no mistake from the spot.

United, who gave a trial to former Chelsea youngster Liam Bridcutt in midfield and included Mark Creighton, Sam Deering and Simon Clist in the line-up, were indebted to keeper Nathan Silver for two fine saves in the first half.

He foiled both Mohsni and Elvis Hammond, but it took the crossbar to deny Mohsni’s header before the break.

Southend equalised on 51 minutes through Harry Crawford, who drilled home a low shot past Silver.

Potter went close with a glancing header just past the post, but a draw was a fair result.

Oxord Utd Res: Silver, Purkiss, Creighton, Franks, Kinniburgh, Bridcutt, Clist, Deering (McDonagh 83), Potter (West 83), Philliskirk (Woodley 72), Cole.

Attendance: 117.