Portsmouth 1-1 Oxford United: Browne solo-goal keeps tie level after first-leg 
Marcus Browne celebrates his equaliser at Fratton Park (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

An impressive solo-goal from Marcus Browne helped Oxford United to a draw in their EFL League One play-off semi-final with Portsmouth on Friday.

Browne's effort drew the visitors level at Fratton Park after Ronan Curtis had put Portsmouth ahead midway through the first half.

Story of the match

Pompey's bright start

The hosts dominated proceedings in the opening stages with 72% possession across the first 20 minutes. 

They were almost in front just six minutes into the half when Andy Cannon found Curtis on the edge of the area, but the winger saw his low shot clatter against the near post.

Sean Raggett then looked to capitalise from Marcus Harness' free-kick minutes later but sent his over just over the bar.

Curtis makes the breakthrough 

Kenny Jackett's men were eventually rewarded for their efforts as they made the breakthrough on 32 minutes.

Curtis was played into a crossing position down the left by Cannon but he thought otherwise and fired low past goalkeeper Simon Eastwood at the near post.

Browne brings Oxford level

However, Portsmouth's hard work was undone against the run of play as the visitors grabbed the equaliser 11 minutes later.

Cameron Brannagan found Browne on the halfway line and, after a fantastic solo run, the 22-year-old also struck low to find the bottom left corner for his fifth goal of the season.

Second half frustration

After an entertaining first 45 at Fratton Park, both sides struggled to get going again after the break.

Curtis continued to cause problems for the Oxford backline and played through Lee Brown on 78 minutes, but the full-back could only find the side netting.

The visitors then immediately found themselves inside the Pompey penalty area through Browne's counter-attack, but he was unable to get a shot on target.

Man of the Match: Ronan Curtis

Curtis continued his impressive campaign in 2019/20 by grabbing the game's opening goal and his 14th of the season.

A constant threat down the left, the winger will be vital next Monday (July 6) if Portsmouth are to make it to Wembley. 

Match Stats

Portsmouth 1-1 Oxford United

Bass, McCrorie (Bolton, 62') Burgess, Raggett, Brown, Morris, McGeehan, Curtis, Cannon (Williams, 62') Harness, Harrison (Marquis, 73')

Unused subs: MacGillivray, Downing, Seddon, Naylor, Evans, Hawkins

Eastwood, Ruffles, Dickie, Moore, Long, Gorrin, Brannagan (Forde, 81) Browne (Ageyi, 81') Woodburn (Sykes, 55') Taylor (Mackie, 73') Henry

Unused subs: Stevens, Mousinho, Hanson, Atkinson, Kelly 


Failing to capitalise

Portsmouth boss Jackett may feel slightly frustrated with that result. 

After what looked to be a dominant performance in the first half, the hosts failed to capitalise on a number of chances created and were limited to minimal efforts after the break.

Strength in defence

The U's will have plenty to thank Browne for following the midfielder's outstanding solo equaliser and will hope that he can have a similar impact on the second leg.

But after initially struggling to settle at Fratton Park, an impressive defensive performance led by captain Rob Dickie saw the visitors become difficult to break down.

Manager Karl Robinson will be looking for more of the same on Monday, especially with home advantage at the Kassam Stadium.