OXFORD United hope their hard-fought goalless draw at Rochdale will prove an important point when it comes to their battle against relegation.

The Spotland stalemate will have come as a frustration, particularly in the wake of Saturday’s late defeat at Gillingham.

It kept them in the Sky Bet League One relegation zone, on a night where a win would have taken them up two places.

But it might have been worse, with Curtis Nelson making three last-ditch tackles to keep out a Dale side who would have moved above the U’s with a victory.

The defender said: “That’s what I’m paid to do, stop goals.

“It’s pleasing for me to keep a clean sheet, as it is for the back four and the rest of the team.

Also read: Rochdale 0, Oxford Utd 0 - match report

“It’s not just down to me, all the boys defended really well and we kept a clean sheet.

“It was a very tough night in difficult conditions.

“At the end of the day I think it’s a good point, and we can build on that and go again on Saturday (at home to Bradford).”

Nelson also came closest at the other end, seeing his header turned on to the crossbar by Rochdale goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.

He said: “I had already wheeled away celebrating. It was a great save, but they defended their set plays quite well.”

Jamie Mackie skippered the side as John Mousinho was only fit enough for a place on the bench.

The visitors named a more attacking line-up than in their previous three games, but drew a blank up front and had to rely on one superb double save from Simon Eastwood to keep them in the game.

The forward said: “Easty was absolutely magnificent and kept us in the hunt.

“Sometimes it’s the forwards that get the accolades, but it could be saves like that which keep us in the league.

“We know we need wins to get us out of the place we’re in, but we didn’t play for a draw.

“We tried to win the game but you make sure you come out of here with something.”

Boss Karl Robinson added: “When we look good and don’t make the keeper make a save or we don’t ask a question of a ruthlessness in ourselves and chances go, we look nervous.

“We could have got more out of the game, but we haven’t.

“It’s a better point for us than the opposition.”