DANNY Hylton ended his barren run in front of goal as Oxford United came from behind to earn a point against Hartlepool United.

The Football League's bottom club were a different proposition under new boss Ronnie Moore and they exerted all the pressure before the break.

United had to defend well to reach the interval goalless, but Joe Ironside put the hosts in front early in the second half.

The lead only lasted 12 minutes as Hylton netted for the first time in seven games to level, sweeping in a cross from Tareiq Holmes-Dennis.

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But they were unable to find a winner in the time remaining and needed a top save from Ryan Clarke to preserve the point.

Michael Appleton handed John Campbell his debut as one of three changes to the side which started the midweek FA Cup defeat at Tranmere Rovers.

Wes Burns also came in as Alfie Potter and Callum O'Dowda dropped to the bench, while Andy Whing replaced Josh Ruffels.

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United skipper Jake Wright wins this header against Marlon Harewood

Moore's first game in charge did not get off to a good start, with Matty Dolan picking up an injury in the warm-up.

Nicky Featherstone was promoted from the bench and despite the late reshuffle, the new Pools boss got just the start he would have demanded.

The hosts, six points adrift at the foot of the table, were pumped up and hassled United all over the pitch.

Moore had compared the U's to Real Madrid in the build-up, but they could not get their passing game going in the face of Pools pressure.

Instead they had to weather a host of balls into the box, with Jake Wright making a couple of important early contributions to clear the danger.

On 25 minutes his central defensive partner Johhny Mullins was forced off after falling awkwardly following a collision with Wright.

In his place, Chey Dunkley came on for his debut.

It took time for Pools to turn their pressure into something more threatening than an aerial bombardment.

The clock had almost reached the half-hour mark before Ryan Clarke had to save a shot, from Joe Ironside.

The goalkeeper had more difficulty a few minutes later to keep out a volley from Michael Woods which almost squirmed under him.

At the other end, Campbell fed on scraps and struggled to hang on to the ball.

Pools goalkeeper Scott Flinders was completely redundant until the 38th minute, when he saved Hylton's header after Dunkley had climbed well to meet a Danny Rose free-kick.

It was the cue for the game to open up in the closing minutes before the break.

The clearest chance of the half fell to the experienced Harewood, but Clarke raced off his line to make an excellent block.

Hylton had another attempt on the stroke of half-time which Flinders dealt with, but there was no doubt United were the happier of the two sides to reach the interval with the game still goalless.

The break appeared to do them good, because when play restarted the visitors were on the front foot.

But just as the home fans began to get nervous, they had a goal to celebrate.

A long ball forward from Neil Austin was not cut out by Dunkley and found Ironside, who drove a low shot past Clarke from just inside the box.

Some had questioned Appleton in midweek for not making any substitutions at Tranmere, but here he reacted quickly.

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Oxford winger Wes Burns takes on the Hartlepool defence

Jon Meades came on for Campbell, which saw Hylton pushed forward into the line striker's role.

Meades slotted in at left back, allowing Holmes-Dennis to play further forward on the left wing.

Within ten minutes of the change, United were level.

Meades surged forward with purpose and laid off to Holmes-Dennis, whose low cross was brilliantly finished first-time by Hylton on his left foot.

It was the 13th goal of the season for United's top scorer, who had seen an easier chance smothered by Flinders minutes earlier.

With 25 minutes remaining, it set up the game nicely for both sides to find a winner.

Hartlepool, who had lost their previous five games in all competitions, wobbled briefly.

Rose and Michael Collins blasted over with tricky sights of goal as United began to knock the ball around with confidence.

But Hartlepool found a second wind in the closing stages and it took an excellent block from Wright to deny substitute Scott Fenwick when the ball fell kindly in the box.

They came closest to winning it in stoppage time, as Clarke was forced to make a smart save low to his left to keep out a skidding shot from Jonathan Franks.

Hartlepool Utd: Flinders, Austin, Bates, Jones, Holden, Schmeltz (Compton 74), Woods, Featherstone, Franks, Harewood, Ironside (Fenwick 79).

Unused subs: Maxted, Richards, Lanzoni, Green.

Oxford Utd: Clarke, Riley, Mullins (Dunkley 31), Wright, Holmes-Dennis, Whing, Rose, Burns, Collins, Hylton, Campbell (Meades 55).

Unused subs: Crocombe, Ashby, Ruffels, Potter, O'Dowda.

Attendance: 4,070 (297 from Oxford).

Referee: Trevor Kettle (Leicestershire).

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