Manager Karl Robinson was pleased with Oxford’s second-half performance after he used the new five-substitute allowance to change the course of the game as his side fought back to earn a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth.
Robinson’s triple change just past the hour made a difference, and Alex Gorrin struck from the penalty spot to cancel out Sean Raggett’s first-half goal.
Robinson said: “If you have five substitutions, they have to have an impact.
“I thought their goal came against the run of play. I thought we were good without really hurting them. I don’t think we created enough or put enough pressure on their back four.
“In the second half I thought we played a bit better – we imposed ourselves a bit more.”
In a feisty encounter, tempers boiled over after the final whistle and a previously lenient referee, Tim Robinson, showed two further yellow cards in the tunnel.
But his namesake played down the incident.
Oxford boss Robinson said: “They’re two teams who really care and wear the shirt with immense pride.
“I’m not condoning it but there was emotion about the performance, they gave everything for the shirt, with a desire to win and a willingness not to concede.”
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett was frustrated his side had not taken their chances.
He said: “At the start of the second half we were on top but couldn’t put them away and you’re susceptible then when it’s only 1-0 and that was the case today.
“We had some big chances with Sean Raggett and Ronan Curtis in the second half, but we needed that second one.
“There were some good chances and for a long period we were on top but you could feel it just coming the other way as Oxford weathered the storm and just got back with the penalty.
“There was a lot right about our performance; we are frustrated because again, with Oxford, we’ve got ahead and haven’t been able to finish it off.”
In a rare moment of first-half quality, a fine Ronan Curtis cross was powered home by the head of centre-half Raggett to give the home side the lead.
But in a much-improved second half, the fresh legs gave the visitors an immediate boost and a determined run by Dan Agyei was ended illegally by Jack Whatmough and Gorrin levelled from 12 yards.
The last quarter of the game was end-to-end and punctuated by a series of stoppages as the feistiness reached new levels.
Although half-chances were created, neither side possessed the quality or composure to score the winner.