Oxford United made it maximum points from two league games with an excellent 3-0 win over Portsmouth this afternoon.
Second-half goals from Wes Thomas, sub Gino van Kessel and Josh Ruffels made it six points for the U’s after the first week, and no goals against so far in League 1.
Attacking the Liontrust fence end in the first half, the U’s gave a debut to Brazilian left back Ricardinho, allowing Marvin Johnson to move further forward after a dalliance with that position in the opening couple of games.
Both sides started at a high tempo even with the sun finally remembering it is still summer; there was plenty of closing down of defenders despite the heat, although it made for a congested midfield in the first 45 minutes with both sides looking to pick a through pass beyond two well-drilled defences. Kyle Bennett had the first meaningful effort after 14 minutes with a well-struck effort from the edge of the box that Simon Eastwood touched round the post.
United were neat on the ball and prepared to stay patient; one terrific move ended only when Drew Talbot blocked Thomas just as he homed in on a James Henry through ball and Christian Burgess had to head a Ribeiro cross over on 38 and then dive in to tackle Nelson when the ball was worked into the box again from the corner.
Pompey skipper Brad Pitman did get the ball into the net in the 42nd minute but only by shunting Williamson out of the way to reach the header, but it had been a cautious first 45 minutes that rarely threatened an opener.
The second half was a different story as United assumed control. One minute gone and Ribeiro, ever keen to roam from right back, burst into the penalty area and got to the line. His cross/shot was straight at keeper McGee who half parried/half fumbled as Thomas bundled the ball into the net at the near post for his second of the season to make it 1-0.
Ref Graham Salisbury had seen enough and was off soon after, handing his cards to fourth official Marc Wilson, presumed injured rather than stroppy, but the game continued as great speed, United working so hard to regain the ball and keeping a great shape when they had it.
Williamson and Nelson are a rock solid duo at the back: two games together and not a goal conceded, but United are also very dangerous if teams over commit against them; one swift flowing move on 65 was only stopped by a brave block as the excellent Payne let fly, while James Henry poked another shot just over two minutes later as Portsmouth started to tire.
The Yellows were in control after the goal, Johnson terrorising his man on the left and sub Jon Obika powering in a terrific effort that McGee was glad was straight above him and within reach to touch over. A second goal was on the cards and on 82 Van Kessel made the perfect start to his career with the club. Cutting inside on the left he stayed calm, picked his spot and hammered it past McGee to make it 2-0 and game over.
There was still time for Josh Ruffels to seal a fantastic performance with his own second of the season, strolling through from midfield and sidefooting past McGee to make it 3-0 and job done with a splendid goal.
A terrific goal and the perfect end to a professional, disciplined performance that augurs well for what is to come.
Fifty/50 winning number 541735 wins £1274.50
Report by Chris Williams, pics by Steve Daniels, stats by OPTA