Oxford boss Des Buckingham felt frustrated as a late equaliser earned Reading a 1-1 draw at the Kassam Stadium.
Royals sub Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan’s strong run down the left 14 minutes from time opened up Oxford’s defence and Ciaron Brown turned the substitute’s cross into his own net.
Oxford had led the Thames Valley derby from the 32nd minute when striker Mark Harris bagged his 12th goal of the season, turning Cameron Brannagan’s pullback into the net from close range.
Buckingham said: “The last two results – two draws at home – are not the results we wanted. We wanted two wins.
“But we are going to get stronger. We had three players missing from midweek, two players making their debuts and we’ll have four players back next week.
“We’ve got 10 first-team players out, and players playing out of position – that’s not an excuse, just an explanation.
“The top teams tend to be those with settled teams but that’s been very difficult for us.
“In the first half I thought we deserved our lead. Mark Harris keeps finding himself in the areas to get goals – as we knew he would.
“But we didn’t control the game the way we wanted in the second half, and kind of played into their hands.
“It’s frustrating – Reading had just one shot on goal, that’s the same as Barnsley when they won here recently. That’s the way it’s gone in those two games.”
The lack of chances Oxford created will be a worry to Buckingham too.
Reading boss Ruben Selles hailed the impact of Ehibhatiomhan and the other subs as they helped force a draw in what was Reading’s first ever league visit to the Kassam Stadium.
Selles said: “The substitutes had an impact. Kelvin and the boys have been doing great.
“There was a moment where we were low in terms of intensity, aggression and forward playing, and we knew it’s a squad game and the players on the bench would make a difference.
“When they came on, they changed the dynamic of the game. We came here to get the three points, but the performance was there at moments in the game.
“I think a point is fair. I thought in the last five or 10 minutes we could even get a second goal.
“I’m happy with the performance but we came here to get the three points.
“We have been performing well away from home and we’ve been solid on our travels.”
The draw stretched the Royals’ recent run to just one defeat in 10 games, though they remain in the relegation places.