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Report: Portsmouth 2 Oxford United 1

Defeat at Fratton Park. Full-time report

2 March 2024

Club News

Report: Portsmouth 2 Oxford United 1

Defeat at Fratton Park. Full-time report

2 March 2024

Oxford United were beaten 2-1 at league leaders Portsmouth in Sky Bet League One this afternoon despite a valiant display that saw them cause Pompey plenty of problems.

Portsmouth took the lead through Callum Lang after just two minutes, but Cameron Brannagan was on the spot to equalise with a penalty after Owen Dale was fouled just four minutes later. Portsmouth substitute Christian Saydee grabbed the winner midway through the second half to leave United rueing missed chances.

United made four changes to the side that had lost to Leyton Orient last Saturday; Fin Stevens and Elliott Moore came back into defence, with Sam Long suffering from illness and Steph Negru making way for the returning skipper, Marcus McGuane replaced Jay Matete in midfield, and Dale started in the front three in place of the injured Tyler Goodrham.

The one thing you don’t want to do when playing at the league leaders is to concede early, but the game was in just the second minute when Lang’s shot squirmed past Jamie Cumming to open the scoring and give the home crowd early hope.pompey goal.jpg

The one thing you do want to do when going behind at the league leaders is to have a quick response, and that came just four minutes later when Sean Raggett upended Dale as he charged into the box. If there’s one person to trust with a penalty in a pressure situation, it’s Brannagan, and he stepped up to send Will Norris the wrong way from the spot for his ninth goal of the season.

brannagan goal portsmouth 1.jpg

As the game opened up, Cumming was forced into a sharp save from Colby Bishop. The U's went up the other end, where Mark Harris’s shot came back off the post, Josh Murphy curling the rebound just wide. A minute later Dale’s cross came back out to Stevens whose shot was palmed away by Norris.

The first half whizzed by, with both teams looking to attack with pace, although clear opportunities were at a premium. Dale brought a sprawling save out of Norris five minutes before the interval, and a couple of minutes later Myles Peart-Harris drove a shot straight at Cumming.

After a quick start to the first half, United were almost at it again in the second 45. Four minutes in, Murphy found himself with the ball at the back of the six-yard box; his initial shot was blocked but he was quickly onto the loose ball to rattle the post with his follow-up attempt.

Portsmouth responded, and Moore made one excellent last-ditch tackle to take the ball off the toe of Bishop as he shaped to shoot. 

Oxford continued to look the brighter side but were made to pay for not taking advantage when in the 67th minute Moore slipped while tackling substitute Saydee, allowing him a clear run on goal. He made no mistake, burying his shot past the helpless Cumming.

portsmouth goal 2.jpg

United didn't give up and had three great chances in the space of a minute. First, Murphy's piledriver was beaten away, the ball falling for Dale, whose shot was blocked on the line. From the corner, Moore rose to power his header goalwards, but Saydee went from goalscorer to goalsaver and flung himself in the way to clear off the line.

Despite plenty of good football and attacking play, Oxford were unable to find the equaliser that perhaps they deserved on the day. Defeat on the road, but plenty to be positive about as the U's prepare to welcome Cheltenham Town next.

Attendance: 20,303 including 1,382 away

Report: Martin Brodetsky

Pictures: Steve Daniels, Steve Edmunds, Darrell Fisher

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