OXFORD United produced a steely display to hold Sky Bet League One leaders Rotherham United at the Kassam Stadium.

The U’s were again missing almost half their first-team squad due to injury or illness, but withstood the Millers’ barrage before the break and had chances to win it in the second 45 minutes.

In difficult conditions, Rotherham strikers Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo hit the woodwork as the table-toppers piled on the pressure before the interval.

United were more on the front foot after half-time without finding a winner, but they will surely be happy with a draw against a side who are now 16 games unbeaten.

The U’s drop to eighth in League One, but four points from two matches with seven players isolating is a very good return.

United were limited in the number of changes they could make and there was only one alteration to the team that started Tuesday’s win over Fleetwood Town.

Marcus McGuane came in for Billy Bodin to join Herbie Kane and Cameron Brannagan in midfield, with James Henry moving to the right wing.

Sam Winnall made a surprise return to the bench for the first time since September 4, while 17-year-old centre back James Golding was among the substitutes.

The vicious wind made conditions difficult, but United were guilty of a few sloppy errors early on.

Kane – who was otherwise excellent in the first half – cleared straight to a Rotherham man on the edge of the penalty area after nine minutes, with the ball running to Smith.

The Millers top-scorer’s shot was charged down and moments later he went close again, only to see his header from Mickel Miller’s cross come back off the far post.

Ladapo also looked dangerous and headed straight at Connal Trueman, before Luke McNally got back in the nick of time to stop the forward getting a shot away.

Oliver Rathbone whistled an effort over the crossbar from the edge of the box, but for all their dominance Rotherham were yet to score.

United took until the midway point of the half to threaten, McGuane’s cross taking a wicked deflection and bouncing over the bar for a corner, before Brannagan shot off target from the set-piece.

Rotherham hit the woodwork for the second time just after the half-hour mark, with Ladapo heading against the bar from Smith’s cross.

When they had the ball, the U’s looked to move it forward quickly and utilise Gavin Whyte’s pace.

They should have made more of a counter-attack 11 minutes before the break, but Nathan Holland delayed the pass and Whyte strayed offside.

Millers midfielder Dan Barlaser was booked for dissent after a penalty appeal was waved away, before one more big chance for Rotherham.

The visitors played a corner short and Smith rose to meet the cross, only to get his angles wrong and head off target.

United registered their first shot on target three minutes after the break when Kane curled a free-kick straight at Viktor Johansson.

Ben Wiles was the next Millers man to spurn a good opportunity moments later, but the unmarked midfielder was unable to keep his volley down from 12 yards.

Barlaser then curled wide of the far post as the pressure continued, with Sam Long and Luke McNally having to clear cross after cross.

Holland forced Johansson into his first save of note just after the hour mark, cutting inside and drawing a flying stop to the goalkeeper’s left.

U’s fans increased the volume in response, before a flurry of fouls saw Wiles, Rathbone and Steve Seddon all booked.

The left back surged forward with 18 minutes left and forced Johansson into a sprawling save down to his right, moments after Dan Agyei came on for McGuane.

Meanwhile, Millers boss Paul Warne brought off Rathbone and Chiedozie Ogbene for Jamie Lindsay and Richard Wood.

United went close again with ten minutes left when a long ball caused Johansson to go wandering, but Holland’s shot was blocked and Agyei’s follow-up saved by the keeper.

Henry’s flicked header was blocked in the six-yard box late on, as the U’s finished strongest.

Oxford United (4-3-3): Trueman, Hanson, McNally, Long, Seddon, McGuane (Agyei 70), Kane, Brannagan, Henry, Whyte, Holland (Cooper 86).

Unused subs: Brearey, Golding, Bodin, Winnall.

Booked: Seddon Rotherham United (3-1-4-2): Johansson, Edmonds-Green, Ihiekwe, Harding, Barlaser, Ogbene (Wood 75), Rathbone (Lindsay 67), Wiles, Miller, Ladapo (Kayode 82), Smith.

Unused subs: Vickers, Ferguson, Grigg, Odoffin.

Booked: Barlaser, Miller, Rathbone, Wiles.

Referee: Sam Purkiss (London).

Attendance: 7,620 (1,001 visitors).