Oxford United attack against Portsmouth. Photo from @_Chubarker

Match Report: Portsmouth 0-2 Oxford United

Portsmouth welcomed Oxford United to the PMC Stadium, two weeks after the reverse fixture which saw the U’s win 2-1 thanks to an injury time winner from Emily Allen. Neither side have much to play for in the league other than pride, but Jay Sadler‘s Pompey will be keen to avenge that recent league defeat.

Despite the odd cloudy spell, the sun was out and it was nearly perfect conditions for football on the south coast. Neither side were able to create any real goal scoring opportunities in the early stages of the match. Oxford’s left winger, Evie Gane, was looking dangerous and found herself through on a few occasions but Portsmouth’s right back, Ellie Kirby was able to snuff out any potential danger.

Bekah Tonks plays the ball out of defence despite pressure. Photo from @_Chubarker
Bekah Tonks plays the ball out of defence despite pressure. Photo from @_Chubarker

Portsmouth looked composed on the ball but too often they were forced to pass the ball around in their own defensive third due to Oxford’s high pressing game. Perhaps clearing the ball into the opposition’s half might have been a better option to ease a bit of pressure on those occasions.

Oxford’s pressure paid off in the 29th minute when Hannah Haughton was unable to keep out Georgia Timms‘ close-range effort out. Haughton could face that shot one hundred times and ninety-nine of them she would either catch or parry the shot away from goal. While Haughton will be disappointed but she has been superb since she joined Pompey and this was a freak occurrence!

Portsmouth immediately went down the other end through Shannon Albuery but Lucy Thomas in the Oxford goal was equal to it.

Oxford silenced the home crowd in injury time when they picked up their second goal of the game through the club’s top scorer, Emily Allen. Those closer to the goal speculated that the final touch might have gone in off a Portsmouth defender. The stadium announcer gave it in favour of the Oxford number nine but the muted celebrations made me suspect that this one could have gone down as an own goal. Allen deserved it so I’m going to give it to her as well!

Oxford's Ellie Noble puts in a corner. Photo from @_Chubarker
Oxford's Ellie Noble puts in a corner. Photo from @_Chubarker

Portsmouth began the second half brightly and they knew that the next goal was vital, if it went to Oxford then I couldn’t see the home side coming back into the game. Pompey were moving the ball forward quicker and Albuery, Katie James and Jade Widdows were benefiting. The trio looked dangerous but were still unable to really test Thomas.

Becki Bath was bright and combative in the Portsmouth midfield but her long-range efforts ended up going wide of Thomas’ post.

Widdows came closest to pulling one back when she shot from the middle of the box. Her bobbling shot looked to be creeping into the goalkeeper’s bottom right-hand corner but out of nowhere Thomas threw out an arm and prevent what looked to be a certain goal.

That was the last real chance for Portsmouth to come back into the game. I believe that they should have had the chance to pull one back in injury time when the referee missed a clear pass back by Oxford but by then it would have been little more than a consolation.

Portsmouth: Haughton, Kirby, Rowe, Southgate, James, Albuery, Bradley, Tonks, Currie, Widdows, Bath

Oxford United: Thomas, Baker, Mobbs, Simms, Bent, Allen, Noble, Haynes, Gane, Williams, Timms