Oxford United have progressed to the League One playoff final after victory on penalties against Portsmouth.
Cameron Brannagan converted the decisive penalty after the game finished 1-1, with the U’s winning 5-4 on penalties.
Oxford United Secure Playoff Final Spot After Penalty Shootout Victory Against Portsmouth
Karl Robinson made two changes from the first leg, with Mark Sykes replacing Ben Woodburn in midfield while Jamie Mackie came in for Matty Taylor upfront.
And it was Mackie that almost opened the scoring inside three minutes. The veteran forward struck low from 20-yards, but Alex Bass made the save.
But, like at Fratton Park in the first leg, Pompey looked the likelier side to open the scoring, despite few efforts on goal from either side.
The pressure was building. Simon Eastwood brilliantly denied Ellis Harrison, before Marcus Browne was quickly rebutted at the other end. However, from the save, Bass launched the ball upfield and Marcus Harness picked up the ball before firing past Eastwood for the opener.
Again, like in the first leg, the goal urged the U’s on. Just on half time, James Henry whipped a ball in from a corner kick and it appeared to be swinging towards goal. Harrison met it before Bass and turned it just over his own line. With goal-line technology in play, the U’s were awarded a legitimate equaliser.
After the restart, Henry struck wide from 25-yards, which proved to be the best chance for either side in the opening exchanges.
Both managers rang in the changes. John Marquis, a second-half Pompey substitute, came close from a Ronan Curtis cross. Taylor also came on for the U’s, replacing Mackie.
Shortly after, Dan Agyei was introduced and the former Burnley man came close with an effort which sailed just wide.
Extra time began as neither side could find the winner. Little happened, other than a typical Gorrin booking, so penalties would decide the route to the playoff final.
Portsmouth went first. Marquis scored, but substitute Woodburn also converted. Gareth Evans restored the visitors’ advantage before Anthony Forde levelled. Lee Brown made it three for Pompey before Taylor also scored.
Cameron McGheehan, on loan from Barnsley, then saw his effort saved by Eastwood, before club captain John Mousinho gave Oxford the lead. Ollie Hawkins scored for Pompey, but Brannagan made sure with the final spot-kick.