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Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 2 Portsmouth 2

Henry goal helps U's draw with the leaders. Full time report

30 January 2024

Match Reports

REPORT Oxford United 2 Portsmouth 2

Henry goal helps U's draw with the leaders. Full time report

30 January 2024

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James Henry came off the bench to earn his side a point with a dramatic late goal in a 2-2 draw with leaders Portsmouth at the Kassam Stadium this evening.

Leading at the break through a Tyler Goodrham drive, United were pegged back when Colby Bishop levelled after after 68 minutes and then Lang put John Mousinho's high-flying side ahead with a clever finish on his first appearance since joining from Wigan. However, Henry emerged to force home from close range as time ran out and ensure that United's spirit and hard work got some reward at least.

In a changed 4-4-1-1 shape, the pace of Tyler Burey, starting for the first time since joining on loan from Odense at the start of January, gave United a more than useful outlet on the right during an even first half where both teams worked ferociously to close the other down.

Injuries to Joe Morrell and Fin Stevens meant a change apiece before the break, and neither keeper had made a save when Goodrham gave his side the lead in the 45th minute.

It owed plenty to the tenacity of Cameron Brannagan, who was on the floor and hurt after a challenge. A little thing like that wasn’t going to stop him making a tackle though and that allowed Marcus McGuane to send Goodrham running at the retreating Pompey defence.


Twenty yards out he let fly, and keeper Will Norris could only admire the accuracy as the ball nestled in the bottom-left corner to give United a half-time lead and the young winger seven goals and rising in an increasingly impressive season.

Keeper Jamie Cumming was forced off with what looked like a groin strain at half time, presumably seized up after being a spectator for 45 minutes, but United are fortunate to have the ever-reliable Simon Eastwood for just such a situation. A comfortable save from an Abu Kamara header eased him into things, but the game opened up after the interval and those in front of Eastwoood were coming under increasing pressure as Pompey raised their game.

The work rate was ferocious, with Brannagan and McGuane everywhere, but after 68 minutes the Pompey pressure told when Kamara powered to the line and cut the ball back for Lang. Eastwood made two good saves but a flurry of legs then tried to hack clear and the ball stubbornly refused to be cleared, with Bishop claiming the final touch to level at 1-1.

Passions grew, Des Buckingham was shown a yellow card and there were loud penalty shouts when Goodrham was upended in the box, but with ten minutes left United were behind as debutant Lang span across the penalty area with defenders chasing him. A clever turn, a flick to wrongfoot Eastwood, and 2-1 to the leaders.

Dead and buried? No way. Enter the GOAT. Time running out and Mark Harris found space to shoot from the edge of the box. Norris pushed the ball up and Henry ran in to nudge the ball over the line to earn his side a point with his first goal of the season.

Henry goal.jpg

A good game and plenty of character required against a Pompey side who have led the league for much of the season. United matched them and now have a local derby against Reading to look forward to on Saturday.

Can't wait.

Attendance 8,864 including 1,485 away

Polythene UK Fifty/50 number 115673 wins £884.50

Report by Chris Williams, images Darrell Fisher, JasonPix, Steve Edmunds, Steve Daniels. Stats by OPTA


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