But they were probably the happier of the two sides after an uninspiring clash on a bobbly pitch at the Kassam Stadium.
Good scoring chances were few and far between, with Oxford edging the first 45 minutes and the Minstermen stronger in the second half.
Ashley Chambers' brave block prevented Tom Craddock scoring for the U's, and Michael Ingham also pulled off a fine save from Josh Parker.
York squandered the game's best chance when Matty Blair could only head Alex Rodman's cross straight into the arms of keeper Luke McCormick.
Alfie Potter set up Michael Raynes for a drive from the edge of the box in the second half, but the defender could only fire it straight at Ingham.
And when Adam Chapman did break into the penalty area late on, the midfielder lost balance just as he went to shoot.
The draw further dented Oxford's slim hopes of reaching the play-offs and means they have not won any of their last six at home in league and cup competitions.