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Portsmouth FC

Pompey suffer promotion setback at hands of Oxford

Portsmouth 0 - 1 Oxford United

Portsmouth were dealt a blow to their chances of automatic promotion in the form of a 1-0 defeat to fellow table toppers Oxford United at Fratton Park.

Substitute Jordan Bowery came off the bench to score the only goal of the game late on to seal the win for the visitors.

Paul Cook made two changes to the side that knocked out Ipswich in the FA Cup replay earlier in the week.

Young loanee, Ryan Fulton, replaced the injured Brian Murphy in goal, while Christian Burgess made way for Matt Clarke in the heart of the defence.

The game began at a frantic pace as Portsmouth looked to continue the momentum picked up in the Ipswich win, while Oxford looked to bounce back from the disappointment of losing to promotion rivals Bristol Rovers the week before.

There were early chances for Oxford but it was the hosts who almost broke the deadlock in the 19th minute after Gary Roberts and Marc McNulty exchanged passes in the box, with McNulty forcing a goal line clearance from Jake Wright.

Kyle Bennett then went close with a free kick which deflected narrowly over the bar.

That was the last significant action of the first half with the exception of a Liam Sercombe effort that was driven well wide of Fulton’s goal.

Early in the second half the ball was fed behind the Pompey defence, for striker Danny Hylton to chase.

He duly obliged, and after getting there first, was brought down by Fulton, giving referee Neil Swarbrick no choice but to point to the spot.

The Liverpool youngster atoned for his error though, saving Sercombe’s spot kick before acrobatically stopping the rebound as well.

Oxford wouldn’t be stopped however, and on the 76th minute, the deadlock was broken.

Bowery collected Wright’s long ball and guided his shot past a helpless Fulton, into the bottom corner.

Pompey pushed in vain for an equaliser, the closest they came was an Adam McGurk header aimed straight at United goalkeeper Sam Slocombe.

The result leaves Pompey seven points off the automatic places, with one game in hand.

After the match, manager Paul Cook said: “In the first half Oxford were very strong and caused us no end of problems.

“We stuttered today. For as strong as we looked on Tuesday night (in the FA Cup against Ipswich), it was probably as weak as we’ve looked today.

“That’s football, I’ve been down this game long enough to know what makes you good can also make you weak.”

Lineups

Portsmouth

Substitutes

Oxford United

Substitutes

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