Karl Robinson purring over ‘sensational performance’ from calm Oxford



Posted Sunday, February 06, 2022 by PA

Karl Robinson purring over ‘sensational performance’ from calm Oxford

Oxford boss Karl Robinson praised his team’s calmness and quality after spectacular long-range goals from Cameron Brannagan and Nathan Holland earned his team a dramatic 3-2 win over Portsmouth.

Pompey were reduced to 10 men in the 16th minute when Joe Morrell was dismissed for a high challenge on Brannagan. There were also 11 yellow cards, with seven for Portsmouth.

Both managers felt the red card was harsh, and that George Hirst’s elbow on Elliott Moore a little later was more worthy of a straight red card than a yellow.

Robinson said: “We found ourselves leading then gave a sloppy goal away.

“The first one of those incidents was a harsh red, to be honest. I thought the yellow they got after that was more of a red.

“I think it was a sensational performance from us. There were a lot of very aggressive tackles in the first few minutes, which set the tone.

“But I was very impressed with the calmness we all showed, both on the touchline and on the pitch.

“We showed patience and we’d had five or six gilt-edged chances before we did get a second goal.

“But they were two wonder goals in the end to finish it.

“It’s a big win because it’s against a big team. No matter what their position in the table, Portsmouth are a big club. So we’re ecstatic with the three points.”

There was a 20-minute delay to the start of the second half after a medical emergency in the tunnel.

Robinson did not want to discuss it, except to say that it did not involve a player.

“It was something internal that I don’t want to discuss,” he said.

Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley was more forthcoming, saying: “One of their staff tripped and fell over and hit his head quite badly.

“He had to go to hospital, and we send him our best wishes.”

Cowley felt it was a harsh result for his players after the effort they put in, and after they had recovered from Luke McNally’s 10th-minute Oxford opener to lead 2-1 thanks to Michael Jacobs and Ronan Curtis.

Cowley said: “Obviously I’m very disappointed with the defeat, but also actually proud of my players for their efforts, I though they fought heroically.

“We defended resolutely, had a good shape to us and we got ourselves into a good position in the game.

“The way we were defending, it was going to take a brilliant goal to peg us back, and unfortunately for us they scored two great goals from distance.

“I agree that the second one was maybe more of a red card than the first. How the referee could say it was a dangerous high challenge when the ball is just a yard off the ground and I’m not sure he could even see it because there were players in the way.

“His foot was high because the ball was high.

“In 15 years of football management I don’t remember being in a game where so much has gone against us.

“The referee’s management of the game was so below what is to be expected of this level.

“But then I’m not impressed by the quality of officiating in our game at all levels. In the Premier League they are getting VAR decisions badly wrong.

“But it’s a tough loss for us when every single man in our team has put so much effort into it.

“Yet there’s no time for feeling we’re victims. We’ve got to get on and get over this because we’ve got another big game on Tuesday.”

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