A HUGE travelling support saw Oxford United get off the mark away from home in Sky Bet League One with a hard-fought draw at Milton Keynes Dons.

Almost 4,000 fans made the short trip to Buckinghamshire for a game where both sides came away thinking they created enough to win the game.

Both goalkeepers played well, but the pick of the saves came right at the end, when Simon Eastwood denied Kieran Agard one-on-one.

United, who had to weather a long spell of pressure either side of the break, had their moments but could not find a way past Martin.

For the first time this season, Michael Appleton was able to name an unchanged starting XI after Chris Maguire recovered from a sickness bug.

The Dons had conceded early goals in their previous three games, but here the hosts were the ones who almost made a fast start as striker Kieran Agard twice got in on goal in the opening five minutes.

While the first opportunity vanished with a heavy touch, he beat U’s goalkeeper Eastwood with the next chance, but his finish lacked power and Chey Dunkley was on hand to clear.

The visitors were backed by their largest contingent for a league game on the road for well over a decade.

While they may have been biting their nails with those early chances for the Dons, on 12 minutes the Yellow Army saw their side carve out a great chance.

Wes Thomas pinched the ball on the halfway line and sprinted forward to get on the end of Liam Sercombe’s low cross, only to see his effort smothered by Dons goalkeeper David Martin.

The heavy challenge left the front man needing treatment and although he briefly carried on, four minutes later United’s No 9 conceded defeat and hobbled off.

His replacement, Ryan Taylor, struggled to make a similar impact and was well contained by the Dons defence.

The exception was a smart one-two he played to release Joe Rothwell through the middle, but again Martin made a good save.

And as the half continued, the home side steadily forced United into retreat.

George Baldock, who played nearly 50 games on loan for Appleton, was a threat with his surges down the right flank.

The Dons’ attempts on goal began to mount up, but Eastwood’s only save of note came when he kept out Darren Potter’s header at a 38th minute corner.

The one-way traffic continued after the break with a flurry of corners and shots off target.

United desperately needed something to change the patter of the game and 11 minutes after the break it arrived.

A careless backpass put Martin in trouble as Taylor closed him down, forcing the goalkeeper to handle the ball.

Although the indirect free-kick 15 yards out came to nothing - Maguire’s shot hitting a defender – it gave United renewed hope.

The game opened up and was much more of an even contest.

John Lundstram fizzed a low shot just wide of Martin’s right-hand post, while the goalkeeper did well to cling on to a skidding effort from Marvin Johnson.

The former Liverpool stopper made an even better stop ten minutes from time to tip over a Sercombe effort after Taylor’s flick-on.

United sensed an opportunity to win the game, but in the end they were indebted to Eastwood for leaving with a point.

In the second minute of stoppage time Agard turned away from Raglan and was through, only to be denied by the goalkeeper.

And in the final seconds a deep cross caused panic at the back, but to the visitors’ relief George C Williams headed wide.

MK Dons: Martin; Baldock, Downing, Walsh, Lewington, Potter, Upson, Colclough (Carruthers 63), Reeves (GC Williams 69), Bowditch, Agard.

Unused subs: Nicholls, GB Williams, Hendry, Tshimanga, Maynard.

Oxford Utd: Eastwood, Edwards, Dunkley, Raglan, Skarz, Rothwell, Lundstram (Ledson 78), Maguire, Sercombe, Johnson (MacDonald 88), Thomas (Taylor 16).

Unused subs: Buchel, Ruffels, Crowley, T Roberts.

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

Attendance: 12,340 (3,892 visitors).