DES Buckingham rued the small margins after his Oxford United side hit the post twice and ran Sky Bet League One leaders Portsmouth close, but still left Fratton Park with nothing.

Cameron Brannagan’s penalty levelled out Callum Lang’s opener inside a frantic first six minutes, before both Mark Harris and Josh Murphy hit the post for United.

The U’s were punished in the harshest manner, as substitute Christian Saydee restored the Pompey lead midway through the second half.

United then struggled to carve out the sort of opportunity they did earlier in the game, and were forced to leave the south coast with nothing.

U’s head coach Buckingham said: “The frustrating thing is that we’ve created more than enough chances to not only win that game, but a couple of games, but we leave here with nothing.

“If we can perform to that level, and if we can perform and create what we just have, and play the way we have in the next 10 games, I’ll be extremely happy.

“Obviously I want the result, but we’ve spoken about having a performance, and that for me was as good as a performance since I’ve come through the door.

“As frustrating as it is to leave here with nothing, we need to make sure we approach next week the same way we have this week, and if we do that, we’ll position ourselves very strongly for Saturday.

“That was the first chance we’ve had to really work on things, and to come here and play that way against the league leaders, I’m extremely happy with that.

“The frustrating thing is that we’ve hit the post twice, and had two or three where the keeper’s made some good saves, but that’s football and you have to take your chances. They certainly did, and that’s why they are where they are.”

Portsmouth’s early opener came when Jamie Cumming spilled Lang’s effort over the goal line, while Saydee was able to run through on goal, shrug off the attention of Ciaron Brown, and apply the finish.

On the goals his side conceded, Buckingham said: “We got off to the worst possible start and shot ourselves in the foot a little bit.

“A quick throw caught us out, and then the sun has played a big factor in Jamie spilling it.

“For the second goal, the ball rolls down towards the corner flag and actually hits the corner flag, and stays in.

“Then there were a couple of mistimed things in behind, but they were two switches off, and nothing more than that from what I can remember of the game.”