DES Buckingham was delighted with the spirit his Oxford United side showed in battling back to earn a point against Sky Bet League One leaders Portsmouth.

Tyler Goodrham handed the U’s a first half lead with a sumptuous low strike, however goals from Colby Bishop and Pompey debutant Callum Lang ensured the visitors were in front as the game ticked into the final 10 minutes.

James Henry, on as a late substitute for Marcus McGuane, popped up with a 90th minute equaliser for United, gambling on a rebound after Mark Harris struck a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The late point was made all the more sweeter as the U’s lost both right back Fin Stevens, and then goalkeeper Jamie Cumming, to injury.

Stevens was replaced by Oisin Smyth towards the end of the first half, while Cumming was unable to carry on in the second period, so Simon Eastwood came on at half-time.

United head coach Buckingham said: “I’m very happy with what I’ve just seen. I think we’ve been chucked a lot of challenges over the last few weeks, in different areas.

“The squad is very stretched at the moment, but regardless of that, I thought at half-time, we deservedly were 1-0 up.

“We lost Fin just before half-time at right back, and put Oisin on. He’s not a right back, but he’s done a fantastic job for us.

“And then at half-time, Jamie Cumming tightened up with his groin, so we had to change with Simon Eastwood as well.

“We knew they’re a good team, and they’re top of the table for a reason, and they’re always going to push for goals.

“The pleasing thing for us was the changes we made showed how this group sticks together.

“That was there to show in abundance, how together they are and how hard they work for each other, and I thought we more than deserved a result out of that game.”

He added: “Rather than problems, you have to find solutions. We’ve been trying to do that over the last few weeks.

“I’ve said that with players coming back in, we should get stronger every week as we go forward.

“If we can show what we’ve just shown there, in the first half with the ball, and the full game in terms of the intensity and desire to press, and to work.

“We’re not naive, we know there are areas we need to get better, but when you come up against what is the best team in the league so far, it’s a good point.

“The pleasing thing for me was that at 2-1, the heads didn’t drop.

“You have to find ways to win games, and to get back into games, and I’m extremely proud with the reaction we got.”