Oxford United beaten at league leaders in action-packed clash

Callum Lang made it two goals in two games against the U’s for Pompey this season, when he struck after just two minutes.

However, Cameron Brannagan brought United level from the penalty spot four minutes later, after a foul on Owen Dale.

Christian Saydee, on as a substitute, restored the Portsmouth lead midway through the second half when he latched onto a ball through the middle and finished past Jamie Cumming.

Des Buckingham made four changes to the side which lost 2-1 at home to Leyton Orient, as Sam Long, Stephan Negru, Jay Matete and Tyler Goodrham were replaced by Fin Stevens, Elliott Moore, Marcus McGuane and Dale respectively.

Long was unavailable due to illness, while Goodrham picked up a knock during training in midweek, so both players were left out of the matchday squad.

The game saw an early goal at each end, with the home side going in front after just two minutes.

Abu Kamara slipped the ball through for Lang, whose low shot was spilled into the back of the net by Cumming, with the ball trickling over the line.

Conor Shaughnessy then headed over from a wicked left wing free kick, before United pulled themselves level in an action-packed first six minutes.

Mark Harris pounced upon a loose ball in the centre of the pitch, and fed Dale down the right-hand side.

The winger, who spent last season on loan at Fratton Park from Blackpool, was tripped, allowing Brannagan the opportunity to coolly slot home from 12 yards.

Cumming looked to make amends for his earlier error, when he made a great save to tip behind a Colby Bishop shot following a clever reverse ball from Marlon Pack.

Harris then cracked a shot against the post from 20 yards, after 13 minutes, in what was an end-to-end opening section of the game.

Stevens drew a save out of Will Norris when he shot at the back post from Dale’s cross, before Josh Murphy drifted an effort wide after Ruben Rodrigues slid a pass through.

The chances kept coming, and with 20 minutes on the clock, Kamara cut inside and bent a shot into the gloves of Cumming.

Brannagan fired over a left-footed, 25-yard strike at the other end, before Dale burst into space and almost deceived Norris with a low shot which was ultimately claimed by the Pompey goalkeeper.

As the half-time whistle approached, Pack saw a low 20-yard free kick held by Cumming.

Five minutes into the second period, the U’s once again hit the post. Rodrigues squared the ball to Murphy on the left, who saw his initial effort deflected, before seeing the rebound fizz against the woodwork.

United then needed the returning Moore to make a brilliant tackle, which took the ball off the toe of Paddy Lane as he looked to get a shot away in the penalty box.

Rodrigues and Brannagan saw Pompey defenders put their bodies on the line during a frantic passage of play around the home side’s penalty box.

The hosts went back in front though, when Saydee, on as a substitute just minutes earlier, shrugged off the attention of Ciaron Brown and kept his composure to finish past Cumming after racing through on goal.

Buckingham made his first changes with quarter of an hour to go, as Billy Bodin and Will Goodwin replaced Rodrigues and Harris.

Connor Ogilvie then shot wide, before Murphy forced a strong save out of a stretching Norris with a powerful strike.

James Henry came on for McGuane with seven minutes to go, however a raucous home crowd helped drag Pompey through five minutes of stoppage time.

Portsmouth (4-2-3-1): Norris; Rafferty, Raggett, Shaughnessy, Ogilvie; Pack, Peart-Harris (Moxon 79); Kamara (Martin 87), Lang (Saydee 63), Lane; Bishop (Yengi 87).

Unused subs: Macey, Towler, Sparkes.

Booked: Lang, Ogilvie, Kamara, Bishop.

Oxford United (4-2-3-1): Cumming; Stevens, Moore, Brown, Leigh; McGuane (Henry 83), Brannagan; Dale, Rodrigues (Bodin 75), Murphy; Harris (Goodwin 75).

Unused subs: Eastwood, Thorniley, Bennett, Matete.

Booked: Harris, Rodrigues, Henry.

Referee: Ben Toner (Lancashire).

Attendance: 20,303 (1,382 away).

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