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Kick off 17:00 (UK)

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06 July 2020 Venue The Kassam Stadium Attendance

Kick off 17:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW Oxford United v Portsmouth

A guide to tonight's play-off semi final second leg

6 July 2020

Oxford United welcome Portsmouth to the Kassam Stadium tonight in the Sky Bet League 1 play-off semi final second leg.

TEAM NEWS
United will wait on the fitness of Cameron Brannagan after he collided with Josh Ruffels in the first game. The former Liverpool man is expected to recover and be available.

United were given a clean bill of health after another round of Covid-19 tests on Saturday morning all came back negative meaning that the only real decision is whether forward Malachi Napa is on the bench for the second leg having missed out on Friday but otherwise United name an unchanged squad.

THE OPPOSITION
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett agreed with Karl Robinson's assessment that the game is perfectly balanced after the first game ended honours even.

 “It’s very evenly poised and we have to recover now because we want to be the fitter team if we can” he said. “I don’t think there was too much wrong with what we did on Friday and so we’re looking for more of the same.
 
“The best side on the day usually wins and I always felt it was going to be a close contest between two sides who finished the season on 60 points. Oxford’s been a very positive place in recent seasons and they’ve got an impressive home record, but – like it was for us – they won’t have that usual support.
 
"The crowd advantage would have obviously kicked in for us in the first leg and now it’s the same situation for them. Looking at results elsewhere in recent weeks, there hasn’t been much to suggest there’s home advantage.”


TICKETS
We are sure we don't need to remind you but tonight's game is behind closed doors.
 
There will be no admisson without the required health checks and accreditation.
 
We ask fans to please help the club and to keep the players and staff safe. When we play, please stay away.
 
COVERAGE
The game is live on SKY TV, which means that we cannot stream it live to iFollow although you can hear commentary. Overseas fans should check whether the game is being broadcast in their country: if it is broadcast then it also cannot be shown live on iFollow.
 
You can follow the whole game on twitter through @OUFCOfficial or on our Instagram page and we will have a full report and Gallery right here at the final whistle.
 

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Match Reports

REPORT United Through On Penalties

U's head for Wembley after penalty drama

6 July 2020

Oxford United's season will continue with a trip to Wembley after a dramatic penalty shoot out win over Portsmouth this afternoon. Trailing to a Marcus Harness goal, United were level when Ellis Harrison headed into his own net in first-half injury time but then an incredibly tight play-off second leg just could not be decided from open play, leaving the whole season to be decided from the spot. Step forward Cameron Brannagan.

As with the first leg, it was the home side who pressed until the first drinks break, this time United. Jamie Mackie forced keeper Alex Bass in to a good early save and James Henry drifted a ninth-minute drive wide as the Yellows got any early nerves out of their system.
 
Mackie, in for Matty Taylor up front, worked tirelessly for the cause, never giving Portsmouth’s defence a moment’s rest while Mark Sykes, preferred in midfield to Ben Woodburn, was easy on the eye and quick to get on the ball but all of United’s forward players were also quick to get back as well, Marcus Browne making one or two early challenges as the U’s tried to stop the flow of passes towards the dangerous Ryan Williams on Pompey’s right wing.
 
The tightest of games started to open up, slightly, after the first break and Simon Eastwood needed to be alert to make a good save from Harrison before Harness found a way to put Pompey in front from the simplest source. A long straight ball, a flick from Harrison and Harness took a touch then fired past the flying Eastwood to edge his side in front.
 
United had seen an Elliott Moore header and another Henry drive at the other end but just like the league game between the sides, or the first leg, it was Kenny Jackett’s side in front and United having to chase. Could they do it? Why ask?
 
Injury time at the end of the first half and a Cameron Brannagan drive was headed away for a corner. Whipped in by Henry and heading for the gloves of keeper Bass it instead flicked the head of Harrison and was in the back of the net for an own goal that changed the team talk for both managers.
 
It didn't change the flow of the game too much; there really hasn't been much to choose between these sides all season and it stayed that way through a nerve-wracking second half that left the fans gnawing their nails to papier-mache.
 
if you remember that both squads had sacrificed so much to get themselves ready for this fixture then it's little wonder that tempers started to boil and frustration started to show in an attritional next 45 minutes. Both managers went for broke, throwing on John Marquis and Matty Taylor in quick succession, with the former hitting the woodwork immediately.
 
A Brannagan effort went wide, a Taylor half chance was blocked, Ruffels headed over and United had all the pressure but Portsmouth stood firm, holding sub Dan Agyei literally at arm's length to keep the scores even and set up extra time.
 
Portsmouth had half chances, United had opportunities to break but the importance of the occasion won through and so to penalties...
 
Marquis scored, Woodburn levelled. Evans made it 2-1, Forde made it 2-2. Brown thumped home for 3-2, Taylor scored for 3-3. McGeehan was denied by Eastwood, Mousinho drilled home for 4-3. Hawkins levelled leaving Brannagan with the moment...
 
Even the cardboard fans tried to turn away.
 
A year ago this week United kicked off pre-season against similarly kitted opposition: Glasgow Rangers. To have shared the adventure over the last 12 months has been unforgettable. We'll be back. At Wembley.
 
Report by Chris Williams, images by Dave Fleming and Rex Shutterstock
 

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