Oxford United U19s drew 2-2 with Portsmouth in the EFL Youth Alliance League this afternoon.
Harrison Bradney scored late in the first half to give the U’s the lead before Eli Grant and Koby Muttow scored in quick succession to put Pompey ahead. Louis Griffiths then scored at the death to earn United a deserved point.
Both sides struggled to create for the opening twenty in a scrappy start to the game. Richard McIntyre and Harrison Mole dealt well with Pompey’s tricky wingers and United formed the first clear chance.
Bradney found a delicate pass slid into the run of Leo Snowden whose strike from close range was blocked well by the body of Bastian Smith in the Portsmouth goal.
Monty Marriott then held on well to a volleyed effort at the back post and Aaron Lacey glanced a Bradney free kick wide.
Portsmouth had the next best chance though, just after the hour mark, but Marriott stood up to Beau Mullins’ drilled effort and then made a fantastic second save to block from yards out.
It was United who found the breakthrough in an even game of football. Tobias Brenan picked up the ball on the edge and drilled a strike towards goal. Smith parried and Bradney was on the spot to calmly slot home and give United the lead two minutes before half time.
Cameron Cooper, starting his first competitive game for the Young U’s, was full of energy on the left of the front three who pressed very well all afternoon.
United dealt with the inevitable early pressure from the away side, Marriott claiming the balls whipped into the box confidently.
With 25 minutes to play Rashane Maxwell replaced Mole who did excellently at right back.
Pompey changed shape and despite defending well after the restart, five minutes of madness left the U’s in a bad position.
In the 73rd minute Grant popped up at the back post to bundle the ball over the line despite the best efforts of Max Smith to clear it at the last second.
Then, three minutes later Mottow fired Pompey into the lead with an excellent strike from the edge into the top corner.
Straight after the goals, Chris Hackett and Pablo Haysham changed things, with Griffiths and Jacob Fowler replacing Cooper and Bradney.
The U’s reacted really well and almost levelled through Burton, whose strike in the box deflected through the bodies but was saved by Smith.
At the death, the U’s did find the deserved leveller. Griffiths, whose scheduled international duty with Wales U17s in Israel was cancelled, was found after some superb work from McIntyre.
The winger cut inside and rifled his effort into the top corner to make it 2-2 in the 89th minute.
No added time was played and the game ended as a draw to extend the U’s unbeaten run in the League to three games.
LINEUP: Marriott, Mole (Maxwell 66’), Lacey, Smith, McIntyre, Brenan, Took-Oxley, Bradney (Fowler 79’), Cooper (Griffiths 79’), Snowden, Burton