Oxford extended their unbeaten league run to 11 games with a goalless draw despite being outplayed in the first half by mid-table Shrewsbury.
After six successive away games in all competitions, it was an at times uncomfortable return to the Kassam Stadium for Karl Robinson’s injury-hit team.
Forced to play a makeshift midfield, Oxford struggled to win the ball in the opening 20 minutes when it was all Shrewsbury.
United’s new keeper Jordan Archer was kept busy, twice saving from Dave Edwards, and James Henry cleared off the line from Aaron Pierre at a corner.
The home side did gradually get into it to enjoy decent possession, without being able to create much in the final third.
But they had the blow of seeing another midfielder, Anthony Forde, go off with a rib injury in the first half, and later also lost Henry.
Josh Ruffels nearly brought Oxford victory near the end but his low shot was kept out by Max O’Leary.