A BREATHLESS game saw Oxford United get off the mark in Sky Bet League Two, but they are still waiting for a first win after sharing six goals with visitors Dagenham & Redbridge.
The game see-sawed from the moment Alex Jakubiak opened the scoring in the third minute.
At one stage United appeared to be heading for a fifth league defeat on the spin, when Jamie Cureton put the visitors 2-1 up early in the second half following Ashley Hemmings' equaliser.
But Danny Hylton, who was superb all afternoon, dragged the hosts back into the game and in the space of six minutes the striker headed an equaliser and scored from the penalty spot to put United in front.
Abu Ogogo had the final say with a stunning long-range volley to make it 3-3 and Dagenham had to survive two strong claims for a penalty in the closing stages to hold on for a point.
It was not the victory United craved, but was enough to take them off the bottom of the table.
United boss Michael Appleton made three changes to the side which started the midweek cup outing at West Brom.
George Long was preferred to Max Crocombe in goal, Alfie Potter came in for Danny Rose and Junior Brown's suspension handed Jakubiak a first start.
The on-loan Watford forward took only three minutes to take the opportunity.
Carlton Morris, who had already fired wide in a high-tempo start, showed good strength to hold off a challenge and spread the ball wide.
Joe Riley got forward well and swung in a cross which was perfect for Jakubiak to prod home from close range.
It was the first time United had been in front during a league game this season and Hylton came close to adding a quick second goal, when he headed wide at a corner.
But Dagenham responded well and hit back to level in the seventh minute, with a move which ripped apart United's back four.
Clever movement from veteran striker Cureton caused problems and his cross gave Hemmings a tap-in to deflate the boisterous home crowd.
It set the tone for a game which was wide open, as both teams allowed the other to have chances.
United noticeably looked to get the ball forward quicker than in previous games and it almost paid dividends on the quarter-hour mark.
Michael Collins played a ball over the top to Potter, whose sensational first touch took him through. It deserved a goal on its own, but although the winger's left-footed shot beat goalkeeper Liam O'Brien, it struck the foot of the post and bounced clear.
A minute later Dagenham scythed through again, with Luke Howell's shot missing the top corner by a whisker.
The end-to-end game continued. Hylton headed Tom Newey's cross over, then Ashley Chambers fired a deflected shot which missed the far post by inches.
More goals looked inevitable and it took a brilliant block on the line by Scott Doe to keep Hylton out on 33 minutes after good work by Morris and Potter.
The resulting corner was only cleared to Johnny Mullins, who forced a smart save from O'Brien.
The goalkeeper also needed to be watchful to hold on to a swerving shot from Riley late in the half.
Those saves looked valuable a minute after the restart, when Dagenham took the lead.
Cureton, who turned 39 this week, showed he had lost none of his instinct by pouncing on a half chance to shoot low across Long and into the net.
It was part of a sloppy start to the half from United, who were suddenly staring at a fifth successive league defeat at the start of the season.
But Hylton calmed nerves with a double in the space of six minutes.
First, he climbed brilliantly to meet Newey's cross and plant a firm header into the corner of the net.
Appleton responded by bringing Will Hoskins on for his home debut, replacing Morris.
Just after the hour mark Jakubiak's directness won a penalty from Doe, who escaped further punishment, and Hylton calmly converted for his fifth goal of the season.
But once more the lead did not last long and within ten minutes Dagenham were level.
The ball sat up invitingly for Ogogo 30 yards out and the midfielder unleashed a volley which beat a back-pedalling Long and dipped under the crossbar.
Incredibly, United almost retook the lead with their next attack, when only a terrific save from O'Brien denied Hylton a hat-trick.
The striker had an excellent game and thought he had won another penalty ten minutes from time, when his cross was blocked.
Referee Gary Sutton waved away the protests, as he did shortly afterwards when Hoskins appealed for another handball.
Dagenham held on in four minutes of stoppage time to ensure the spoils were shared after a thrilling game.
Oxford Utd: G Long, Riley, Mullins, Wright, Newey, Collins, Ruffels, Potter (O'Dowda 79), Hylton, Jakubiak, Morris (Hoskins 55).
Unused subs: Crocombe, Meades, Raynes, Rose, Hunt.
Dagenham: O'Brien, Partridge, Saah, Doe, Connors (Batt 65), Howell, Boucaud, Ogogo, Chambers (Labadie 90), Cureton, Hemmings (Porter 65).
Unused subs: Cousins, Gayle, Goldberg, Raymond.
Referee: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire).
Attendance: 4,391 (158 visitors).