Jul 062020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1 Play Off Semi Final




Pompey missed out on a place in the League One play-off final after losing to Oxford on penalties at the Kassam Stadium.

Marcus Harness had given the Blues a second leg advantage, only for an unfortunate Ellis Harrison own-goal to level the tie.

Extra-time failed to find a winner and so it headed to a shoot-out, with Cameron McGeehan’s miss proving decisive.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew at Fratton Park just three days earlier.

Steve Seddon and James Bolton returned to the full-back berths, while Ryan Williams was handed an attacking wide role.

That saw Lee Brown, Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon drop to the bench, with Christian Burgess claiming the captain’s armband.

As in the first leg, there was a minute of applause in recognition of the NHS and other key workers, while players then took the knee to show opposition to racism.

The hosts were first to threaten, but Alex Bass got down to keep out an early effort from Jamie Mackie.

Pompey, meanwhile, looked bright going forward, although their attacks often broke down before former Fratton stopper Simon Eastwood could be tested.

There was one perfectly-timed challenge inside the box to stop the energetic Williams collecting a threaded Harness pass.

Williams then swung in a dangerous left-footed cross that Bryn Morris was not quite able to guide on target.

Harrison thought he received a shove in the box from Elliott Moore following the mid-half drinks break.

But referee Darren England did not agree with that assessment, while a follow-up effort from McGeehan was blocked.

The visitors finally forced Eastwood into action on 36 minutes, with a decent stop preventing Harrison converting a low Williams delivery.

Bass denied Marcus Browne at the other end – just seconds before a route-one move saw the Blues break the deadlock.

The keeper’s long punt up the pitch was flicked on by Harrison, with HARNESS collecting the ball, spinning sharply and slotting a shot into the bottom corner.

It looked like Pompey would take that lead into the break, only for some sloppy play to allow Oxford to level right on the stroke of half-time.

James Henry’s corner caused problems in the box and Harrison inadvertently flicked the ball towards his own net.

Sean Raggett tried frantically to hack clear, but after a quick check of his watch, the referee signalled that it had crossed the line.


Half Time

Oxford United 1

Portsmouth 1


The hosts were quicker from the blocks once the action restarted and their opponents had to deal with some tricky balls into the box.

They were unable to make the most of their control of possession, though, with a Henry effort that flew over the bar summing things up.

And frustration boiled over when Sam Long fouled Ronan Curtis, with pushing and showing ensuing and the United defender shown a yellow card.

Curtis soon curled a free-kick off target and Jackett then decided to make a double switch on the hour mark.

It was Harrison and Seddon who made their way from the pitch, with John Marquis and Lee Brown on to replace them.

But Marquis’ first contribution was a foul on Oxford skipper Rob Dickie that saw his name added to England’s book.

The striker came close to restoring the visitors’ advantage following the drinks break, though, when he headed a Curtis cross against the post.

Harness then attempted an ambitious curling effort that did not quite have enough dip to send the ball under the crossbar.

That was his last piece of meaningful involvement in the contest, with Cannon replacing him on 81 minutes.

But it was Oxford substitute Dan Agyei who came close to a late winner, embarking on a persistent run before eventually being forced to fire wide by Brown.

The hosts also threatened from a free-kick and corner in stoppage-time, but 180 minutes of action ended with the sides all square at 2-2 on aggregate.

Full Time: Oxford 1 Pompey 1 (2-2)

An early extra-time Pompey chance saw Curtis send a free-kick over the bar after Dickie had been shown a yellow card for bringing down Marquis.

There were set-piece opportunities for the visitors, although a couple of Brown deliveries were dealt with.

But there was then a scramble at the opposite end, with Burgess forced to make a key block amidst a sea of bodies.

Pompey’s players were furious when Cannon was the victim of a meaty Alex Gorrin challenge, but England decided it only warranted a booking.

There were more frayed tempers after a brief interval when Matty Taylor was booked for catching McGeehan late.

Marquis then had a chance to put Pompey back into the lead, but could only nod an excellent Brown cross wide at the back post.

Hawkins replaced Williams for the closing stages and when he chased down Eastwood, the keeper’s clearance ricocheted against the substitute and flew wide.

But the sides could still not be separated and that ensured a mammoth play-off tie would be heading for penalties

After Extra Time: Oxford 1 Pompey 1 (2-2)

There were some impressive penalties from both sides, with Marquis, Gareth Evans – on as a late substitute – and Brown all finding the net.

But Eastwood went the right way to keep out McGeehan’s effort and although Hawkins hit the target, Oxford scored all five of their attempts.

It was Cameron Brannagan who converted the last of them to ensure it would be United who are heading to Wembley.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton (Evans 120+1), Burgess (c), Raggett, Seddon (Brown 60); Morris, McGeehan; Williams (Hawkins 114), Harness (Cannon 81), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 60)
Goals: Harness 38
Booked: Marquis, Curtis
Subs not used: MacGillivray, McCrorie, Downing, Naylor

Oxford (4-1-4-1): Eastwood; Long (Woodburn 120), Dickie (c), Moore, Ruffels; Gorrin (Mousinho 120); Sykes (Hanson 85), Henry (Forde 100), Brannagan, Browne (Agyei 85); Mackie (Taylor 63)
Goals: Harrison 45+3 (og)
Booked: Long, Browne, Dickie, Gorrin, Taylor
Subs not used: Stevens, Atkinson, Kelly

Referee: Darren England

Portsmouth FC

Jul 032020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1 Play Off Semi Final




Pompey’s play-off contest with Oxford is finely balanced after the sides drew 1-1 in the first leg at Fratton Park.

The hosts made the stronger start and deservedly took the lead through a low finish from Ronan Curtis.

But Marcus Browne grabbed a United leveller just before the interval and neither side were able to find a winner in the second half.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that drew with Fleetwood all the way back in March.

Lee Brown wore the captain’s armband, with regular skipper Tom Naylor named on an extended nine-man bench.

There were also returns for Christian Burgess, Marcus Harness and a fit-again Bryn Morris, as James Bolton, Ryan Williams and Steve Seddon made way.

A blustery Fratton Park was virtually empty, with the Covid-19 pandemic necessitating games taking place behind closed doors.

But there were still more than 1,000 fans present in the form of cardboard cut-outs, with 2003 promotion hero Svetoslav Todorov, chairman Michael Eisner and the late John Jenkins MBE among them.

Before kick-off, there was a minute of applause to celebrate the NHS and other key workers, while all players then took the knee in a powerful statement against racism.

The hosts controlled possession for much of the first half and Ellis Harrison had an early header blocked from a corner.

And the deadlock was almost broken moments later, courtesy of a drilled Curtis effort that struck the base of the post.

Both sides were clearly up for the challenge, with several meaty challenge flying in and Oxford boss Karl Robinson constantly in the ear of a beleaguered fourth official.

Neither keeper was really being put to the test and a Harness curler was blocked, while it took a diving Josh Ruffels header to deal with one Curtis delivery.

After a brief break for drinks, Cameron Brannagan and Cameron McGeehan were both booked following a spat in the middle of the pitch.

Burgess then thought he should have won a penalty after appearing to be tugged back by Rob Dickie, but appeals were dismissed by referee Gavin Ward.

Pompey’s pressure did pay off on 32 minutes, though, as CURTIS advanced and hit a low shot that crept past former Fratton stopper Simon Eastwood and nestled in the net.

That seemed to spark the visitors into life and Browne dragged an effort past the post, although Alex Bass appeared to have it covered.

The Blues could not keep their opponents at bay, though, and Browne did well to burst forward and find the net.

But Pompey did finish the half with a flourish and visiting players had to fling themselves in front of a flurry of shots in quick succession.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Oxford United 1


There was a slow start to the second period in terms of chances, although Harrison felt a challenge on him inside the box warranted a penalty.

Jackett tried to liven up proceedings with a double switch just past the hour mark, as Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon made way for Bolton and Williams.

But it was Oxford who were next to have a shot, albeit a long-range James Henry attempt that Bass held comfortably.

Williams soon showed some neat trickery, although his low cross was cut out before it could reach Harrison in the centre.

The Blues then delivered a couple of fine corners – first from Brown and then Harness – that were just about dealt with.

Jackett made his third change of the evening on 73 minutes and it was a straight substitution up front, as Harrison made way for John Marquis.

The hosts were starting to build some momentum and Brown’s effort was deflected into the side netting, while the skipper then did well to halt Browne’s break at the other end.

And Burgess went close to restoring the lead when he met Brown’s free-kick, only for Eastwood to get down and make the save.

Curtis was furious not to be awarded a late penalty after going down under a challenge from Dan Agyei, but again Ward said no.

Pompey pushed forward in search of a lead to take to the Kassam Stadium on Monday, but had to settle for a draw.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie (Bolton 62), Burgess, Raggett, Brown (c); McGeehan, Morris; Harness, Cannon (Williams 62), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 73)
Goals: Curtis 32
Booked: McGeehan
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Downing, Seddon, Naylor, Evans, Hawkins

Oxford (4-1-4-1): Eastwood; Long, Dickie (c), Moore, Ruffels; Gorrin; Henry, Woodburn (Sykes 55), Brannagan (Forde 81), Browne (Agyei 81); Taylor (Mackie 73)
Goals: Browne 43
Booked: Brannagan, Gorrin
Subs not used: Stevens, Atkinson, Mousinho, Kelly, Hanson

Referee: Gavin Ward

Portsmouth FC