Oxford secured their place in the League One play-off final after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Portsmouth on Monday night.
The two sides could not be separated across the ties, with a 1-1 draw at the Kassam leading to a 2-2 aggregate scoreline in their semi-finals. But it was Oxford who won through after a 5-4 shoot-out victory.
Marcus Harness had put Pompey ahead on the night, but an Ellis Harrison own goal soon levelled things up. And they could not be separated until Cameron McGeehan’s missed spot-kick, allowing the U’s to win through.
For Portsmouth it was more semi-final misery. They lost at this stage last season and maintained their record of never winning a single play-off tie in their history – with five draws and three defeats in total.
For Oxford, though, it was delirium. They will go on to play Wycombe or Fleetwood in the final at Wembley next Monday night for a place in the Championship.
Oxford reach the League One play-off final
Much like in the first game, Portsmouth took the lead in the second leg. It came in route-one fashion on 38 minutes as Alex Bass launched a ball up to Harrison, who nodded it on to Harness. He then turned on the edge of the box before finishing low past Simon Eastwood.
Harrison and Bass also combined for the second goal of the game, but not in the way they would have hoped. From an Oxford corner with the last kick before the half-time whistle, the pair went up for the same ball in the six-yard box, with Harrison somehow managing to nod a header past his goalkeeper and just over the line. Sean Raggett got back to try and clear it, but the referee’s watch told him it had crossed.
The second half was extremely cagey as both sides started to tire after so long without football. Eventually the game drifted into extra time and then penalties.
John Marquis, Gareth Evans and Lee Browne all stepped up and scored for Portsmouth, who responded with efforts from Ben Woodburn, Anthony Forde and Matty Taylor.
McGeehan then saw his effort saved by Eastwood, and John Mousinho nudged Oxford in front. Oli Hawkins then piled all the pressure on Cameron Brannagan, but he slotted home to send the home side into rapturous celebrations.
Man of the Match – Cameron Brannagan
The game felt destined for penalties from the off, almost. It was a nervy affair at the Kassam Stadium and while Portsmouth may have shaded some of the play, Oxford were resilient through out. It’s a testament to Brannagan that he played the full 120 minutes and was also entrusted with such a vital spot-kick.
Oxford will face Wycombe or Fleetwood in the Sky Bet League One play-off final on Monday, July 13.
Watch the game live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm on Monday: Kick-off is at 7.30pm.