Centre forward Rob Duffy was sent off just 20 seconds after coming on as a late substitute against Ebbsfleet on Saturday.

In what must be some sort of record, he ran onto the pitch in the 78th minute - and was ordered to walk off it again, in the 78th minute.

He appeared to clip Ebbsfleet's Mark Ricketts as he went past him in an off-the-ball incident, and Berkshire ref Steve Creighton pulled out a red card.

It was not the start in the league that Oxford United's manager Darren Patterson was hoping for as his side failed to put away chances against the club that is being taken over by MyFootballClub.com members.

The first half was a largely scrappy affair with both teams guilty of giving the ball away far too much.

Ebbsfleet started slightly the better and Chukki Eribenne had a header from a left-wing cross, which had first flicked off Chris McPhee, saved by Billy Turley.

Good play by French midfielder Alex Jeannin set up an opening for Yemi Odubade but his shot on the turn lacked power.

Odubade then cut inside two defenders but again directed his low shot straight at keeper Lance Cronin.

Fleet posed a big threat at corners, though home fans were furious when referee Steve Creighton awarded them an extra one after the first had been caught by Turley. If he had spotted a foul, he should surely have awarded a free-kick either way.

Ebssfleet midfielder Michael Bostwick tried his luck with a speculative 25-yarder, but blazed it high over the bar.

Oxford's best opportunities usually came from Jeannin's curling crosses from the left, but his teammates were not always on the same wavelength. Kieron St Aimie headed one wide from a good position and Eddie Anaclet met another one with a header beyond the far post but it gave Cronin an easy save.

Oxford replaced the ineffective St Aimie with 17-year-old Alex Fisher at the interval and he provided some more intelligent running.

But Ebbsfleet had their best chance of the game right at the start of the second half when Stacy Long crossed perfectly from the left but Eribenne headed over.

U's centre back and captain Barry Quinn was very lucky not to see red on 55 minutes when he deliberately hauled back Eribenne when the visitors; striker was through on goal. The ref allowed advantage because Ebbsfleet still had a good goalscoring opportunity, then brought play back when it came to nothing to award them a free-kick, and he let Quinn off with a yellow card.

Odubade missed a great chance on 63 minutes when Eddie Hutchinson headed back Jeannin's corner into his path but the striker nodded over from five yards when it looked easier to score.

Gradually, though, the U's were starting to exert more and more pressure and they were desperately unlucky not to break the deadlock 16 minutes from time.

First Phil Trainer met Anaclet's cross with a firm downward header that Cronin did very well to save with a fot. As play continued, Jeannin then centred from the left and Anaclet drove against the near post.

As the game hotted up near the end, Turley produced a brilliant save from McPhee to ensure Oxford went away with a point.

Oxford Utd: Turley, Collins, Quinn, Foster, Anaclet (Duffy 78), Hutchinson, Pettefer, Trainer, Jeannin, St Aimie (Fisher h-t), Odubade (Benjamin 89). Subs not used: Warrell, Willmott.

Att: 4,655 (196 from Ebbsfleet) end