OXFORD SCHOOL NEW-LOOK POMPEY
Wilder’s boys fire in four
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
GOING IN: Oxford’s Deane Smalley scores to make it 4-2