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Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 1 Portsmouth 1

Long goal earns battling United a point. Full time report

18 April 2023

Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 1 Portsmouth 1

Long goal earns battling United a point. Full time report

18 April 2023

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Oxford United continue to keep their head above water after a Sam Long goal edged them a point closer to League 1 safety with a 1-1 draw against Portsmouth this evening.

Long's goal cancelled out an excellent opener from Marlon Pack to give United a deserved share of the spoils after a spirited 90 minutes that should give them plenty of hope for the four remaining games.

The contrast between the sonambulant first 20 minutes in Saturday’s defeat to Bolton and a far more aggressive performance this time was obvious, with Marcus Browne driving at defenders and Tyler Goodrham and Kyle Joseph adding energy out wide right from the start.

It created two early chances; Gatlin O’Donkor flicked the first into the side netting after 11 minutes and then the same player was off target six minutes later after losing his man inside the box. And if we have learned one thing from the last 15 games, it is that if you let your own chances escape then the opposition punish you. On 26 minutes captain Pack put Pompey ahead with a superbly struck free-kick that flew over the wall and into the top corner via the underside of the crossbar.

180423 portsmouth (1).jpg

Could United respond? It looked a long way back, but that was exactly what happened.

The one thing the team have shown in the last month is a fighting spirit, so going behind didn’t put them off their stride.

They had two free kick opportunities of their own, and although Cameron Brannagan was unable to match Pack’s accuracy from either, a set piece was looking their best way back. On 37 minutes it was Long who found the net when he met a Brannagan corner with a perfectly placed header that lifted the home fans and provided hope.

180423 portsmouth (4).jpg

With the visitors still chasing the play-offs, it set up a second half where both sides needed to go for three points rather than settle for one, and yet it was the U's who dominated.

Bishop bashed a header at goal that hit Pack and was cleared, but Conor Ogilvie threw himself bravely in front of Browne at the other end and Goodrham's well-struck drive was pushed round the post by keeper Matt Macey on the hour.

O'Donkor glanced a chance wide; that just made the crowd chant his name louder. United took hold of the game and the fans sang themselves hoarse to try and conjure up a second goal. It was there for the taking. Browne shouldered another cross wide, sub Billy Bodin slashed a chance over and once again the only thing missing was that elusive finishing touch.

Five draws in six games, but this was the best 90 minutes of them all. Another step in the right direction and with 360 minutes of the season left, United showed enough tonight to show that they can still turn this thing full circle.

The fans are with them. The players are together. Stand United.

Att: 8,345
Away: 1,460

Fifty/50 winning number 81268 wins £999

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Edmunds and Darrell Fisher, stats by OPTA

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