OXFORD United’s injury list grew on a frustrating afternoon where they were unable to find a way past stubborn Shrewsbury Town.

Karl Robinson’s side were already depleted, but lost key men Anthony Forde and James Henry to knocks.

The Shrews, managed by former U’s trainee Sam Ricketts, who had his team well organised and set up to stifle.

It worked well, as the Sky Bet League One’s second best attack took 81 minutes to muster a shot on target.

At the other end Jordan Archer was rarely troubled on his debut, but while the goalkeeper could be satisfied with a clean sheet it was only worth a point.

Archer came straight into the side a day after signing as cover for the injured Simon Eastwood.

The other issue was in central midfield, where Alex Gorrin’s suspension on top of several injuries forced Henry into a makeshift defensive role.

United were quick out of the traps, Chris Cadden winning a corner in the opening minute which led to Tariqe Fosu having a shot from the edge of the box saved by Max O’Leary.

It was a promising start, but proved to be the hosts’ only effort of any kind on goal in the first half.

Shrewsbury arrived with a clear game plan to press United high up the pitch and it worked well early on.

They looked the more dangerous side, with Donald Love finding plenty of space wide on the right to whip in a couple of dangerous balls.

Henry cleared off the line when Aaron Pierre rose highest at a tenth-minute corner, while Archer made his first save to keep out Dave Edwards’ glancing header from a Scott Golbourne cross.

United had hardly been allowed to string two passes together by this point, but gradually they began to get a foothold in the game.

It was all a little laboured, though, allowing Shrewsbury to keep everything in front of them.

The U’s had rested Matty Taylor, Tariqe Fosu and Henry in midweek, but the trio, who have 26 goals between them, failed to trouble the visitors.

Henry’s changed role meant he was too deep, while Fosu looked out of sorts and Taylor was kept quiet as the supply lines to him were cut.

United were not seriously threatening O’Leary’s goal and Robinson may have been considering changing something at the interval.

Instead, it was forced on him as Forde came off second best after diving in and fouling Love.

The Irishman looked to be holding his ribs and could not carry on until the break. He was replaced by Elliott Moore, which pushed John Mousinho into midfield and in turn freed Henry to play in his natural position further forward.

It failed to change the overall pattern of the game, though, as the second half began in a similar vein with Shrewsbury frustrating.

United looked low on energy and ideas, growing increasingly irritated at the officials who let plenty of robust challenges go.

Jamie Mackie was brought on to rouse the home side, who midway through the half almost unlocked the door.

Rob Dickie got forward and his cross sparked an almighty goalmouth scramble in the six-yard box which Town eventually smuggled behind for a corner.

But United’s afternoon got worse with 20 minutes to go, when Henry added to their injury woes and had to come off.

It saw Sam Long brought on and Chris Cadden pushed into a more advanced role, which nearly reaped dividends nine minutes from time.

The Scot got in round the back after good work from Taylor and his cross was met firmly by Josh Ruffels, whose shot was just turned round the post by O’Leary.

Fosu had a thumping volley blocked by a defender late on and the winger had the final effort with a free-kick in stoppage time which was saved by O’Leary.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Archer, Cadden, Dickie, Mousinho, Ruffels, Forde (Moore 45), Henry (Long 72), Sykes, Hall (Mackie 62), Taylor, Fosu.

Unused subs: Stevens, Jones, Goodrham, Agyei.

Booked: Dickie.

Shrewsbury Tn (3-5-1-1): O’Leary, Pierre, Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Love, Norburn, Goss (Walker 90), Laurent, Golbourne, Edwards (Giles 85), Okenabirhie (Udoh 76).

Unused subs: Murphy, Beckles, John-Lewis, Cummings.

Booked: Ebanks-Landell, Edwards, Pierre, Williams.

Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey).

Attendance: 6,931 (383 visitors).