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By Danny Walter
Both sides came out in force today eager to grab those three precious points on the opening day of the season. With a sell-out crowd of 18,181, the League Two attendance record was broken at Fratton Park today. With the backing of the Pompey Supporters Trust, there were many high hopes for all Pompey fans with many bookmakers pricing them as favourites to win the league this season. Oxford, however, finished a strong ninth last year and hope to climb the table this year with promotion in sight – they’ve added former Pompey boys Dave Kitson and Ryan Williams to their ranks during the summer too!
Pompey started off the better of the two sides and it was indeed the home side who took the lead, when Patrick Agyemang headed the hosts in front with a stunning header in the 24-minute.
A strong opening half-an-hour for our community run football club, but it wasn’t long before the visitors made the scores level whenl Deane Smalley equalised with a decent turn and shot past Pompey goalkeeper John Sullivan.
And from then on things turned from bad to worse for Pompey. Alfie Potter gave Oxford the lead just four minutes after the equaliser with a shot from close range to put the away side up just before half-time.
HALF-TIME: Pompey 1 Oxford 2
Pompey didn’t really start the second half how they would’ve liked to, after captain Johnny Ertl was shown a red card for after an elbow on Oxford’s Danny Rose.
The hosts were struggling against a fit 11-man Oxford United side which resulted in Potter getting a second goal followed by Smalley making it four. Pompey tried to change the game by bringing on Padovani, Craddock and Holmes but only a small chance for Craddock came when he fired a shot wide later on in the game.
Many high hopes were shattered for many Pompey fans but considering the players have only played together for sux weeks there’s only one way forward for the Blues.
FULL-TIME: Pompey 1 Oxford Utd 4
A disappointing way to start the season considering we’ve been short-listed as League Two title contenders, but a reality check for many fans and players alike will hopefully see Pompey bounce back next weekend.
August 3rd 2013 will see Pompey continue the rebuilding of their
new era, as they host Oxford United in their maiden SkyBet League Two
fixture. The Blues spent a busy summer securing the services of many of
last years’ prized assets, while adding further strength in all areas.
Guy Whittingham’s men begin the season among the firm favourites for this year’s League Two crown, and will be eager to start brightly in front of a capacity crowd including over 10,000 season ticket holders and a large Oxford contingent.
The Pompey team is likely to be made up of preferability rather than availability as the management staff look to cement a preferred starting eleven.Younger players may find themselves on the fringes, but with a busy opening schedule the entire squad are likely to experience game time sooner rather than later.Oxford are expected to start with Pompey old boy Dave Kitson up front, who last faced Pompey just two competitive games ago during the 3-0 defeat of his then employers Sheffield United, whilst Ryan Williams could complete a loan-move to the Ox’s before tomorrow’s game.
The visitors are otherwise untroubled and are likely to be searching for that preferred XI they hope can fire them to the business end of the league.
The Blues have met with Saturday’s opponents 51 times in all competitions, with Pompey victors on the majority of occasions having won 20 times.
The sides last met in a 2-2 draw in 1998, while the last time this fixture was played in the lowest division of league football was 1983.
Possible Pompey line up: Smith; Mouatakil, Devera, Bradley, Butler; Wallace, Ferry, Ertl, Barcham; Connolly, Agyemang
Likely Oxford line up: Clarke; Batt, Wright, Raynes, Duberry; Heslop, Rigg, Davis, Leven; Kitson, Constable
PLAY UP POMPEY!