Wanderers’ winning streak might have ended – but a hard-earned point at the Kassam Stadium represents a very decent return for Ian Evatt’s league leaders. 

Rigid and tense in the first half, Bolton had Nathan Baxter to thank for making two big saves at Oxford’s most potent point of the game. 

The Whites grew into it in the second period and created a succession of chances after finding their rhythm on the ball, the best falling to Dion Charles and Jack Iredale, but alas, like Baxter, James Beadle was not for being beaten. 

Wanderers finished the night top, albeit now only on goal difference from their next opponent Portsmouth. Another big night at Fratton Park awaits on Monday week. 

Bolton named an unchanged side from the one that racked up seven goals against Exeter at the weekend, the only alteration being on the bench where keeper Joel Coleman came in for Cameron Jerome. 

Having had things entirely their own way on Saturday, this was never going to be the same type of game. And it was down to the brilliance of goalkeeper Baxter that the Whites managed to go back down the tunnel on level terms. 

The football was cagey in the early stages, Wanderers struggling to build anything through midfield and worried only by a succession of cheap free kicks being awarded for any semblance of contact on home winger Kyle Edwards. 

Referee Sam Purkiss was a frustratingly constant presence, indeed, he did as much as anyone in a yellow shirt to ensure Bolton did not build up a head of steam.  

Oxford’s Achilles heel this season has been one Bolton would recognise well. Against more physical opponents, the possession-based U’s have struggled to make their game count. This season Evatt’s side has carried a much greater threat from set pieces but – for the first 45 minutes at least – their impact was minimal, and rather disappointing. 

By contrast, Cameron Branagan’s reliable right foot was causing a few moments of concern. He whipped one cross-shot against the top of the bar and then had another effort clawed acrobatically from under his bar by Baxter, who has rarely had been worked that extensively during the current winning run. 

An equally important save was made after an Oxford break left Stan Mills free, found by Billy Bodin he tried to squeeze his shot under the advancing Bolton keeper but could not direct it into the net. 

Baxter’s heroics aside, Bolton only rarely managed to knit meaningful possession together and mostly down the right side, where Paris Maghoma and Josh Dacres-Cogley did look to have the better of their markers. 

One dangerous low cross was cleared from right in front of his own goal by Elliott Moore but the half time whistle sounded without Bolton registering a shot on the home goal, the 100th goal of the calendar year looking annoyingly out of reach for the time being. 

Oxford had a couple of half-chances after the restart which continued to give their fans encouragement. 

Both fell to Mills but on each occasion, he struggled to get a shot with sufficient power to trouble Baxter. 

Wanderers had to push the envelope, and, understandably confident, they were not worried about playing football in the tightest possible areas of the pitch.  

It was going to take something more inventive to open up their hosts, and Thomason nearly supplied it with a fine looping pass over the top for Charles which caught Jordan Thorniley flat-footed. The Whites striker took a good touch and drilled a decent shot with his second but found keeper Peter Beadle in his way. 

Victor Adeboyejo had a couple of efforts charged down and Maghoma was desperately unlucky when a goal-bound shot bounced off the heel of Ciaron Brown and wide of goal. 

Jack Iredale then got space on the left side of the box to bring another save out of Beadle, with Bolton now starting to show some real menace whenever they got close to the U’s goal. 

Away fans had been singing Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s name for a full 10 minutes before he entered the field of play, and they got their wish with 25 minutes to go. 

The Icelander got involved immediately but again it was Iredale who got the best glimpses of goal – one cross-shot nearly picking Dacres-Cogley out at the far post and another nearly bundled home by Charles and then Bodvarsson in sequence. 

Oxford were pinned back and could easily have gone behind when another shot arrowed in from Sheehan, only to bounce off a boot and out to safety. 

Kyle Dempsey and Dan Nlundulu came on hoping to have the same sort of impact they did against Exeter – the game by this stage starting to open up thanks to tired legs. 

Toal made a vital clearance in front of his own goal after a couple of poor challenges allowed sub Gatlin O’Donkor down the left. It was nail-biting stuff and though Wanderers had improved dramatically in the second half, the points were still very much in the balance. 

After that flurry of chances the game reverted back to the nip and tuck affair it had been in the first half, Oxford’s substitutions robbing them of the fluency they had showed before the interval and Bolton’s attacking nous seemingly dried up. 

Then, with the last kick of the game, a long throw from Dacres-Cogley found its way to Thomason, who drove his shot at goal, only for Beadle to make the save once more. 

A valuable point, a well-deserved point and a seventh straight clean sheet, equalling a club record which has stood for 123 years. It can’t all be seven-nillers, can it?