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Portsmouth 1 Oxford Utd 1
Portsmouth and Oxford United started and finished the day level on points in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division table after a hard fought battle to end a very testing week.
Oxford took an early lead but were pegged back before the break. Pompey piled on the pressure in the second half but could not a way past a resolute U's defence.
Oxford looked the more comfortable on the ball early on, creating some good positions to test the home defence and winning free kicks in dangerous positions. It was from a set piece that they opened the score on 14 minutes. Kayleigh Hines chipped a lovely ball over the wall which keeper Hannah Haughton did well to tip on to the post but Carly Johns was on hand to tuck away the rebound.
The visitors were good value for their lead as the half continued but a defensive mix-up allowed Cherelle Khassai to steal the ball wide on the left. She found Jade Bradley who set up Shannon Albuery to turn away from a defender to curl a fine finish beyond Rose Kite on 35 minutes.
Portsmouth returned after break with greater directness playing early balls over the top for wide players to exploit. They were able to pen Oxford back far more successfully though the Oxford central defensive pair were resolute and strong in dealing with crosses. Keeper Kite made a fine leaping save to turn away an Albuery 25-yard effort on 70 minutes.
At the other end, Sarah King nearly scored with a cross-shot which bounced to safety off the bar but the attacking threat from Oxford was by now minimal against a strong Pompey defence.
Pompey continued to dominate through the final minutes forcing corners and having shots saved or blocked. Right at the very end, Kite ensured the points were shared with another acrobatic leap to punch away an Emma Jones shot bound for the top right corner,
With Southampton and Ipswich Town having 100 per cent records after four matches, both Portsmouth and Oxford United will want to gather as many points as possible in the coming weeks to keep the leaders in sight in a very competitive division.
Portsmouth: Hannah Haughton, Rebekah Tonks, Dan Rowe, Jaime Gotch, Jade Bradley, Dani Lane, Hayley Bridge, Cherelle Khassal, Evie Gane, Shannon Albuery, Sammy Quayle. Subs: Rosie McDonnell, Emma Jones, Ava Rowbotham, Freya Jones, Jazz Younger.
Oxford Utd: Rose Kite, Emily Wallace, Megan Alexander, Lauren Haynes, Gemma Sims, Riva Casley, Sarah King, Kayleigh Hines, Carly Johns, Lily Stevens, Beth Lumsden. Subs: Daisy Ackerman, Sophie Baker, Cat Beaver, Molly Childerhouse, Jade Grove.
(REPORT BY PATRICK HIGGINS)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Riva Casley slides in to challenge Cherelle Khassal;
(middle) Gemma Sims and Rose Kite combine to keep out Cherelle Khassal (centre);
(bottom) Sarah King is under pressure from Evie Gane;
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