The Tiger era started with a draw if not quite a roar as Oxford United stopped the rot of three successive defeats with a 0-0 stalemate at Northampton Town on Saturday.
Both strugglers had their chances to nick the win, with United weathering a first-half storm before dominating the second period.
But for the U’s, who started the weekend just five points above the relegation zone and four ahead of the Cobblers, avoiding defeat at Sixfields was imperative.
Caretaker boss Derek Fazackerley was relieved to get the new era for the club under way with a clean sheet and an important point.
He said: “Keeping a clean sheet, getting a point and keeping the points difference between us and Northampton in an away game was important.
“The players deserved it. It would have been cruel if we hadn’t got something out of the game.
“One or two decisions we made in the attacking third maybe cost us at times but in general I’m reasonably pleased with the performance, particularity the defending.
“If anyone was going to win the game towards the end I thought it would be us.”
Chris Long missed a hat-trick of chances for Northampton, including two inside the first 18 minutes, while, at the other end, Richardinho’s goalbound shot was blocked on the line by Brendan Moloney.
In the second half Isaac Buckley-Ricketts clipped the top of the crossbar as Oxford grew into the game with Ryan Ledson also whipping a long-range effort narrowly wide.
The best opening of the entire game fell late on to Wes Thomas, who should have won it for Oxford but missed the target from six yards.
Skipper John Mousinho was delighted to secure a first clean sheet in nine games.
“We have been working a lot on our defence work and from that point of view we were really pleased”, he said.
Oxford remain 15th but moved six points clear of the League One relegation zone.
They host 20th-placed Fleetwood Town, who are a place and a point above the trap door, in another huge game on Saturday.