Portsmouth keeper Alex Bass cleared of blame for Oxford United calamity goal

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Alex Bass wasn’t at fault for the horror goal which proved key to Pompey’s play-off downfall.

That’s the view of Blues goalkeeping coach, John Keeley, who leapt to the defence of the promising young academy product after Ellis Harrison’s own goal dealt a hammer blow to his side’s bid to reach the Championship against Oxford United.

Keeley admitted Bass should’ve done better for Marcus Browne’s strike at Fratton Park in last Friday’s semi-final first leg, however, before the eventual penalty shootout loss on Monday.

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It’s Monday’s goal on the stroke of half-time which has been under the spotlight, though, as James Henry’s corner somehow ended up in the back of the net.

But Keeley has cleared Bass of any fault for an incident which played a defining moment in the season.

He said: ‘There’s been a lot of keeping mistakes since the lay-off. There’s been a long lay-off and then straight back into games.

‘Whatever you do in training you can’t replicate in games.

‘Even so, I felt he could’ve done better with the goal at home.

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Alex Bass (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)Alex Bass (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)
Alex Bass (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

‘On Monday, though, he’s called early enough for the ball and it’s just unfortunate that he’s gone into him.

‘What can he do? He’s called nice and early, it’s his ball all day long and Ellis has gone into him. ‘It’s not Alex’s fault. He’s called and he’s gone to catch the ball.

‘Ellis is only trying to clear the ball as well, but if Alex calls you’ve basically got to leave it and let him deal with it. It’s just one of those things, unfortunately.’

Keeley is adamant he will give an honest appraisal of the performances of the keepers he works with and isn’t blindly backing Bass over the own goal incident.

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He also pointed out former Pompey keeper Simon Eastwood could’ve done better with both goals he conceded over the two legs

Keeley added: ‘It’s like anything in life. You don’t go through life without making mistakes or these things happening.

‘The one at Oxford wasn’t a mistake and he could have done better with the other one, but what nobody has said is their keeper made two mistakes for their goals.

‘I’m good friends with Easty and I’ve worked with him at two clubs, but nothing has been said about that.

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‘The one that Bassy let in during the first leg was like the one Marcus (Harness) scored at their place.

‘I will stick up for my keepers all day long, but I’m also honest. If people can do better I will say to them.

‘He could have done better for the goal in the first game, but he’s called early enough for the other one.’

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