Peterborough United suffered a bad dose of deja vu at the Kassam Stadium tonight (August 13) as a Cameron Brannagan goal gave Oxford United a 1-0 win.
It was a Carabao Cup tie rather than a League One match, but the result and scorer were the same as Saturday (August 10). Brannagan struck in the 88th minute, smashing home direct from a free kick, after Posh had been reduced to 10 men by an injury to debutant Serhat Tasdemir straight after using the last of their substitutes.
The result was harsh on Posh who had been the better side for most a contest between two much-changed sides. Home goalkeeper Simon Eastwood made three fine saves, one in the 93rd minute from Mo Eisa, and Oxford centre-back Rob Dickie sliced a Tasdemir cross against his own post.
The teams met a few days earlier in a far more important game, but there was no chance of familiarity breeding contempt as the managers made 12 team changes between them.
Posh boss Darren Ferguson was reponsible for five of them. only of them forced as Marcus Maddison was home resting a sore groin.
A midfield diamond formation was employed with Tasdemir at the tip. Naismith and Frazer-Blake Tracy started in the full-back positions with Louis Reed and Josh Knight called up to midfield.
Posh thought they had taken the lead in the 10th minute when Ivan Toney headed home debutant Serhat Tasdemir’s precise cross, but an offside flag curtailed any celebrations.
Toney also forced a fine save from Oxford ‘keeper Simon Eastwood with a 20-yard strike after a lovely exchange of passes with George Boyd.
Posh dominated the opening 20 minutes, but an injury to home striker Malachi Napa following a robust challenge from Jason Naismith knocked both teams out of their stride.
There was a six-minute delay before Napa was stretchered off.
Oxford came more into the game after that delay, but passed the ball poorly even though Liverpool loanee Ben Woodburn was the man to come on for Napa.
Posh had good chance to open the scoring in the 40th minute when the ball fell kindly to an unmarked Mo Eisa on the edge of the Oxford area, but his shot was pitfully weak and saved with ease.
Boyd, who was making his 300th Posh appearance, whistled a shot wide at the start of the second half before Oxford created their best opportunity.
Woodburn was the man to burst through, albeit at a tight angle to the goal, but Pym did well to save with his legs.
Posh went back on the attack and a sliced clearance by Eastwood was gathered by Toney who fed Knight whose shot was blocked.
Tasdemir’s cross was then sliced against his own post by Dickie on the hour mark.
Posh replaced legend Boyd with possible future legend Harrison Burrows as part of a double change with Joe Ward also coming on for Louis Reed.
Two minutes later Tasdemir hobbled off leaving Posh with 10 men for the final stages.
But Burrows, who looked very lively, almost claimed the glory after Eisa had been tripped 20 yards from goal.
Posh took the free kick quickly but Eastwood pulled off a fine save from a decent shot.
But a poor piece of control from substitute Niall Mason cost Posh the game. He intercepted a misdirected cross, but lost control and conceded a free-kick with a wild lunge as he attempted to recover.
Brannagan did the rest.
Posh rallied well with a corner provoking panic in the home area before Eisa’s header was superbly clawed away by Eastwood.
Posh: Christy Pym, Jason Naismith (sub Niall Mason, 70 mins), Frankie Kent, Mark Beevers, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Louis Reed (sub Joe Ward, 75 mins), Josh Knight, George Boyd (sub Harrison Burrows, 75 mins), Serhat Tasdemir, Mo Eisa, Ivan Toney.
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Dan Butler, Idris Kanu, Kyle Barker.
Oxford: Simon Eastwood, Josh Ruffels, Rob Dickie, Elliott Moore, Mark Sykes, Rob Hall (James Henry, 78 mins), Cameron Brannagan, Sam Long, Anthony Forde (sub Kevin Berkoe, 78 mins), Jamie Hanson, Malachai Napa (sub Ben Woodburn, 22 mins).
Unused substitutes: Jack Stevens, Alex Gorrin, John Mousinho, Kyran Lofthouse.
Goals: Oxford - Brannagan (88 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Kent (foul), Toney (foul), Mason (foul).
Oxford - Long (foul).
Referee: Ollie Yates 5
Attendance: 2,798 (238 Posh).