SOUTHEND United were held to a 0-0 draw by Oxford United in a drab encounter at a wet Roots Hall this afternoon.

The Shrimpers headed into the clash on the back of three successive wins.

But Chris Powell’s side find it hard to break down the struggling U’s, with Simon Cox’s effort against the crossbar the closest the hosts came to scoring.

With eight minutes on the clock, Blues striker Tom Hopper saw an angled effort blocked by the legs of Oxford goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell following a fine through ball from Cox.

But Cox then went even closer to scoring himself when he latched onto Jason Demetriou’s pass before slamming a powerful effort against the underside of the crossbar.

With 37 minutes on the clock, Blues were forced into making their first change of the afternoon as John White limped off and was replaced by Michael Kightly in an enforced change which saw the hosts switch to a 4-4-2 formation.

Following the alteration, the Shrimpers found it hard to create chances and there was little excitement to entertain those in attendance.

With Oxford getting more into the game, Jamie Mackie headed John Mousinho’s left wing cross wide of the right post before Blues boss made his second change of the game in the 72nd minute with Shawn McCoulsky replacing Hopper in attack.

However, the U’s threatened next with boyhood Blues fan Ricky Holmes heading Tony McMahon’s right wing cross inches wide of the left post.

In reply, Dru Yearwood fired wide of the left post from 20 yards before the U's came close to netting an injury time winner when Mousinho's header was impressed tipped wide of the right post by Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley.