A second-half collapse saw Peterborough United slump to an embarrassing League One defeat at home to Oxford today (September 30).
The visitors, who had lost their previous three matches, romped to a 4-1 victory at the ABAX Stadium after Posh had led at the break through Jack Marriott’s ninth-goal of the campaign.
Posh made four changes to the team upset at lowly Oldham on Tuesday, with Jermaine Anderson’s return to start a game for the first time in almost 13 months the headline appearance. The 3-4-1-2 formation was retained with Leo Da Silva Lopes replacing Liam Shephard as right wing-back.
But it was a man who might never get replaced who struck an early blow for Posh.
Marriott raced onto a terrific pass from Anthony Grant, a midfielder not renowned for passing the ball like Glenn Hoddle, to finish expertly on 14 minutes. It was the first, first-half goal in September for Posh, on the last day of the month.
Posh could have had further goals as Ricky Miller poked over the bar after Andrew Hughes nodded Grant’s deep cross back across goal and Steven Taylor was denied by a fine save by Oxford ‘keeper Simon Eastwood following a precision free-kick from Marcus Maddison.
Posh were generally comfortable in the first-half against a neat-passing visiting side, unless on-loan Huddersfield forward Jack Payne was running menacingly with the ball, or home skipper Jack Baldwin was trying to self-destruct.
Payne robbed a dithering Baldwin in the early stages and created a decent opening for Wes Thomas which was spurned and a crazy pass out from the back from the skipper gave Joe Rothwell the opportunity to burst into the penalty area in added time, but he criminally failed to get a shot away.
But Oxford didn’t have long to wait after the break to seize control. As they improved their tempo, Posh became lethargic and weary in comparison.
A short corner routine led to the impressive Payne crossing deep for Josh Ruffels to head home at the far post on 48 minutes and Miller striking the base of a post at the other end within minutes proved a false dawn.
Baldwin and Ryan Tafazolli decided to compete for the same headed ball which left Oxford striker Thomas free to accept a forward pass and he finished expertly.
And two goals in six minutes became four goals in 35 minutes as Posh collapsed. Regular formation changes didn’t help as Posh players adopted a confused look.
Three simple passes led to an easy finish for Rothwell 15 minutes from time and a fourth followed for substitute Agon Mehmati after Jonathan Bond had thwarted the irrepressible Payne.
That was the signal for Posh fans to stream out, some probably won’t return.
They did miss Marriott forcing a fine save from Eastwood and the same player hitting the crossbar from the corner that followed.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Steven Taylor, Jack Baldwin, Ryan Tafazolli, Leo Da Silva Lopes, Anthony Grant, Jermaine Anderson (sub Michael Doughty, 64 mins), Andrew Hughes (sub Danny Lloyd, 70 mins), Marcus Maddison, Jack Marriott, Ricky Miller.
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Chris Forrester, Idris Kanu, Liam Shephard, Alex Penny.
Oxford: Simon Eastwood, Christian Ribiero (sub Canice Carroll, 73 mins), Curtis Nelson, John Mousinho, Ricardinho, Rob Hall (sub, Ryan Ledson, 10 mins), Josh Ruffels, Joe Rothwell, Jack Payne, Wes Thomas (sub Agon Mehmati, 80 mins), James Henry.
Unused substitutes: Scott Shearer, Mike Williamson, Alex Mowatt, Agon Mehmeti, Gino Van Kessel.
Goals: Posh - Marriott (15 mins).
Oxford - Ruffels (49 mins), Thomas (54 mins), Rothwell (75 mins), Mehmeti (84 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Miller (foul).
Oxford - Nelson (foul), Richardinho (foul).
Referee: Tom Nield 7
Attendance: 6,153 (757 Oxford).