Dean Holdsworth believes Aldershot's battling 1-1 draw at Oxford can now kick-start their league campaign.
The Shots had only won one of their four League Two games going into the clash and must have feared the worst when left-back Anthony Straker was sent off in the 12th minute. They then went a goal down nine minutes later, but Holdsworth's men battled back and deservedly equalised through Luke Guttridge in the second half.
Holdsworth said: "For us to come to Oxford and go down to 10 men and battle back, having gone to extra-time at West Ham on Wednesday night, was magnificent."
He added: "Fitness is key but our character and team spirit was massive. Oxford put us under a lot of pressure but we stood toe-to-toe with 10 men against 11.
"We do that a lot in training, playing 10 against 11, and it's on occasions like this when the work pays off. I thought the red card was harsh, but then I'm biased.
"We had to regroup and then they scored. But I got them in at half-time and told the players I wanted us to break the second half down into three periods and get through each one.
"We're a very good counter-attacking side and we did that particularly well in this game and created numerous chances. To go 80 minutes against a good Oxford side with a man down and come away with a draw is a terrific achievement."
For United manager Chris Wilder it was a disappointing afternoon after the euphoria of his team's derby win at Swindon - their first at the County Ground for 38 years.
"It was a massive missed opportunity," he said. "But I don't think we deserved anything more than a point. We just tried to cruise through the second half.
"Fair play to Dean (Holdsworth) because I thought they deserved to get something from the game. We weren't clever enough to break them down, and didn't show enough desire."
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