OXFORD United lost further ground on the Sky Bet League One play-off places with a 1-0 home defeat to Portsmouth.

The sides’ five previous meetings had finished level at the end of normal time, but Harvey White’s header early in the second half ensured Pompey left with the points.

United had plenty of time to find an equaliser, but could not seriously threaten until stoppage time, when goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray thwarted Mide Shodipo and Elliott Moore.

It condemned the U’s to their first home league defeat since November, which sees them remain eighth in the table – but with the gap to the top six now five points.

Sam Long returned from injury to replace Anthony Forde at right back, while Josh Ruffels made his 300th United appearance on the other flank.

James Henry was promoted from the bench at Alex Gorrin’s expense in another of the four changes, which saw Cameron Brannagan drop into the deeper midfield role.

There were also two alterations to United’s front three, with Sam Winnall and Shodipo replacing Matty Taylor and Brandon Barker.

Pompey matched their opponents’ 4-3-3 formation and created the first big chance of the contest six minutes in.

The ball broke to Ellis Harrison, preferred to John Marquis up front, but Jack Stevens was out quickly to block the striker’s effort from 12 yards out.

Both sides kept a high tempo that spilled over on occasion, with Ronan Curtis the first player booked after just 14 minutes for a late challenge on Long.

Chances at both ends soon followed, with Shodipo first taking too long to get a shot away after Elliot Lee played a one-two with Henry.

The QPR loanee won a corner, but Portsmouth went straight up the other end and Stevens got down brilliantly to his right to deny Harrison’s fierce drive from the edge of the box.

A lively first 20 minutes was completed by Henry stinging the palms of MacGillivray from 18 yards, after Lee’s beautiful flick had sent him clear.

Neither team was allowing the other to settle, with the defences remaining on top for the rest of the half.

White sent a volley wide a minute before the break, before an off-the-ball altercation between Brannagan and Marcus Harness saw both players booked in stoppage time.

Neither side had given each other a sniff since halfway through the first period, but Pompey took their first chance within three minutes of the restart.

The goal was as straightforward as it gets, too, as Callum Johnson curled a cross towards the penalty spot and White headed into the far corner.

The game continued in the same vein as the first half, with Lee and Andy Cannon firing efforts straight at the opposition goalkeepers before the hour mark.

Robinson soon replaced Mark Sykes and Lee with Brandon Barker and Gorrin, with the Spaniard partnering Brannagan in the middle.

United huffed and puffed without creating any chances of note and with 16 minutes left Matty Taylor replaced Henry to bolster the hosts’ firepower.

Pompey showed their attacking options with the introduction of Ryan Williams and Marquis for Curtis and Harness but the next opening fell to White, who saw his shot blocked from inside the box.

United did not threaten again until Long headed Forde’s corner over the bar in the 89th minute, after the Irishman replaced Atkinson.

Their best chances, though, came in the dying moments.

First MacGillivray blocked Shodipo one-one-one after the loanee latched onto Taylor’s flick, before he tipped Moore’s looping header over the crossbar.

Oxford United (4-3-3): Stevens, Long, Moore, Atkinson (Forde 84), Ruffels, Henry (Taylor 74), Brannagan, Sykes (Gorrin 64), Lee (Barker 64), Winnall, Shodipo.

Unused subs: Eastwood, Grayson, Kelly.

Booked: Brannagan.

Portsmouth (4-3-3): MacGillivray, Johnson, Raggett, Nicolaisen, Brown, Naylor, Cannon, White, Harness (Williams 63), Harrison (Hiwula 86), Curtis (Marquis 74).

Unused subs: Ward, Whatmough, Daniels, Byers.

Booked: Curtis, Harness.

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).