Wilder’s boys fire in four

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Si­mon Weekes

OX­FORD boss Chris Wilder moved to play down any early ex­pec­ta­tions of his side, de­spite a ter­rific open­ing to the League Two cam­paign.

Wilder saw his side storm to a 4-1 win at pro­mo­tion favourites Portsmouth, who were start­ing their first sea­son of a new era un­der fan own­er­ship.

If it was sup­posed to be a car­ni­val, it seems that no­body both­ered to tell Ox­ford, who ran out wor­thy win­ners as Al­fie Pot­ter and Deane Smal­ley both scored twice to can­cel out Pa­trick Agye­mang’s opener, while Pom­pey also had skip­per Johnny Ertl sent off.

A de­lighted Wilder said:“Fair play to Portsmouth and all that they have been through and they will still be op­ti­mistic about the sea­son I’m sure.

“Guy has had to work ex­tremely hard over the sum­mer to get a team out there.

“But there was an un­be­liev­able feel­ing around the ground be­fore the start and it was a great oc­ca­sion to be in­volved in.

“I’m de­lighted for my play­ers and the un­be­liev­able trav­el­ling sup­port we had.

“We scored our goals at the right time

“I think ev­ery­one knows we do things the right way at our club and it’s game one of 46.

‘‘We’ve had a fan­tas­tic start but

that’s all it is. I have told the play­ers that no­body will be get­ting car­ried away but we’re de­lighted with the win.”

Agye­mang lit the blue touch pa­per with a bul­let header mid­way through the first half.

Af­ter a cagey open­ing to the con­test, Andy Bar­cham, one of five debu­tants for Whit­ting­ham’ side, made good progress down the left flank, floated over a cross that looked a shade too high but the much-trav­elled striker rose su­perbly to give Ryan Clarke absolutely no chance in the Ox­ford goal.

But Ox­ford had other ideas and al­ways looked a threat on the counter-at­tack through the diminu­tive Pot­ter.

The winger made the Ox­ford equaliser, scored the sec­ond, bagged the third and then laid on the fourth for Smal­ley.

A per­for­mance that will have him marked out as one of League Two’s star men this term.

Pot­ter was given the freedom of the right flank to skip past a slug­gish Dan But­ler and pick out Smal­ley who fin­ished with aplomb with a sharp turn and shot.

But Smal­ley then re­paid the favour four min­utes later as Ox­ford took the lead, chas­ing a lost cause to rob Yassin Moutaouakil out on the touch­line be­fore find­ing Pot­ter in space in the box to ar­row home an ex­cel­lent an­gled drive on the run.

With Portsmouth at­tempt­ing to get them­selves back into the con­test, their cause was cer­tainly not helped when Ertl was given his march­ing or­ders for a flail­ing arm in an aerial chal­lenge with Danny Rose.

Ref­eree Gavin Ward was no doubt in­flu­enced by the ruck of play­ers that gath­ered and pro­duced the red card.

Pot­ter made it 3-1 soon af­ter­wards with a low shot af­ter cut­ting in from the flank, while Smal­ley put the gloss on the score­line with a cool strike.

And a de­flated Pom­pey boss Guy Whit­ting­ham felt the Ertl de­ci­sion was a key fac­tor in the game.

He said:“As a player, you jump with your arms up, es­pe­cially if some­one is com­ing at you. There is no way he swung an el­bow.The guy came in and hit his el­bow as it was up there.

“If that is deemed a red card, then it’s a red card. But it has changed the game be­cause we felt we had a chance to get back into it.

“I think we played very well for the first 30 min­utes and we were rightly 10 up.

“We didn’t de­fend well enough. It’s not about the first half an hour, it’s what hap­pens through­out the 90 min­utes.” To comment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

HERO: Deane Smal­ley is con­grat­u­lated by team-mates

PIC­TURES: Robin Jones

GO­ING IN: Ox­ford’s Deane Smal­ley scores to make it 4-2

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