Oxford United U18s lost out 3-0 to Portsmouth in the Youth Alliance League this morning. Despite controlling possession and creating plenty of chances, the youngsters fell to defeat at Northcourt Road as Fabio Lopes and Nico Jones returned from suspension
The U’s got off to a tricky start after conceding a penalty in the opening minute and fell behind early on after a Portsmouth striker tucked the ball into the top corner. Goalkeeper Max Evans dived the right way but couldn’t do anything about the penalty.
United grew into the game with Tyler Goodrham looking lively on the wing but both sides cancelled each other out defensively, meaning chances were hard to come by for either side.
United’s build up play was neat, but the youngsters struggled to create chances against Portsmouth who were organised throughout. Fabio Lopes and Nico Jones both returned to the side after suspension as United got to grips with the pace of the game.
Goodrham flashed in two great crosses in the first half; the first narrowly missing the head of Crook before a well worked set-piece routine ended with Nico Jones outstretched at the back post but couldn’t get a foot on the end of the delivery.
Just as United started to press the visitors they were caught on the break as Portsmouth struck their second of the afternoon. A forward found space in the area and drilled the ball low into the bottom left corner to double their lead.
In a game of few chances in the first half, the visitors took their chances where United didn’t and that was the difference going into the second half.
United came out the brighter side in the second half and almost grabbed a goal back from Crook. His header forced a great save from the Portsmouth goalkeeper as the U’s began to pile the pressure on the visitors.
Goodrham was next to go close with a drilled effort across goal but still United could not find that all important goal. As the U’s pushed their opponents, the U’s were caught on the break Portsmouth mounted a rare attack on goal. A forward got the better of Jones in the area and squared to a teammate who rolled the ball in for Portsmouth’s third. A cruel blow to United who looked the most likely to score.
Undeterred, the U’s still stuck to their attacking game and Crook was involved again as he rose highest in the area. His header was on target again but he couldn’t beat the opposition goalkeeper again. Edwards almost grabbed a goal back minutes later as he bundled a cross towards goal but it was hooked away on the line.
Despite the scoreline, it was an encouraging performance from the U’s who again dominated the ball and created plenty of chances but could not find the back of the net at Northcourt Road
UNITED: Evans, Gardner, Elechi, Trialist, Barnett-Grant (Nosakhare), Jones, Goodrham (Grant), Chambers-Parillon, Edwards, Lopes, Crook
REPORT: Liam Potter