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Irish-eligible Harness scores but Portsmouth miss out on play-off final spot after penalties

Oxford United will progress to the final in Wembley later this month.

Cameron Brannagan scores the winning penalty for Oxford United.
Cameron Brannagan scores the winning penalty for Oxford United.
Image: PA

OXFORD UNITED ARE heading to the League One play-off final after edging out Portsmouth 5-4 in a tense penalty shootout in the second leg of their semi-final clash.

The tie ended 1-1 and 2-2 on aggregate after 90 minutes, with Cameron Brannagan slotting home the decisive penalty to secure victory for the hosts and send them through to the final in Wembley. 

They will take on either Wycombe or Fleetwood in that decider which will take place on Monday 13 July. The second leg between those two sides is already underway.

It was Portsmouth who took the lead in the first half of normal time. The Irish-eligible Marcus Harness put Portsmouth in front on 38 minutes, firing the ball past Oxford goalkeeper Simon Eastwood from the edge of the penalty box.

Harness has declared for Ireland and has been scouted, although he has not yet been selected for the international side.

Oxford were back on level terms just before the break following an Ellis Harrison own-goal to leave the scoreline reading 1-1 and 2-2 on aggregate at half-time.

Both sides failed to add to their tally after the restart and extra-time was required at the end of the 90 minutes.

The sides were still level by the end of the two periods of extra-time and penalties followed. 

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The teams were still inseparable after three penalties each before Eastwood kept out a shot from Cameron McGeehan to give the edge to Oxford. 

John Mousinho added to Oxford’s advantage by converting his spot-kick while Oliver Hawkins scored to keep Portsmouth in the hunt. Brannagan then stepped up to score and put the result beyond doubt.

The result sees Portsmouth bow out of the play-offs at the semi-final stage for a second consecutive time, after their defeat to Sunderland last year.

Ireland’s Anthony Forde came off the bench to feature for the victorious Oxford side, while Feyenoord loanee Liam Kelly was among the subs. Ireland’s Ronan Curtis played the full game for Portsmouth with Harness coming off in the second half.

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