A team poor at home and a team who can’t win away predictably drew at the ABAX Stadium today (December 8).
Peterborough United led twice through excellent finishes from Ivan Toney and Siriki Dembele, but Oxford United top scorer James Henry twice equalised, the second time two minutes from the end from the penalty spot.
That was a crushing blow for Posh who had forced their way back in front 15 minutes with a 25-yard strike from Dembele.
But substitute Jason Cummings missed a sitter to make it 3-1 seven minutes from time and then Colin Daniel’s clumsy challenge on Gavin Whyte gave Henry the chance to equalise again from the spot.
Players can make managers look daft sometimes.
Posh reverted to their FA Cup starting line-up and dominated the opening quarter of the game, taking the lead after 10 minutes through the in-form Toney and creating a few other reasonable opportunties against a suspect-looking defence.
Toney scored with a first-time left foot strike after Matt Godden had nodded down Rhys Bennett’s chip forward.
Within 60 seconds Toney tried to return the favour to his strike partner, but Godden’s shot was kicked away by visiting ‘keeper Simon Eastwood.
Eastwood did even better from the corner as Daniel’s low drive was deflected before the ball reached the ‘keeper.
A deep cross from Godden then reached Dembele at the far post, but the winger’s shot was wayward.
Oxford did eventually settle and were probably unlucky not to equalise on 25 minutes when Henry flicked a left-wing cross in from close range. A late, and possibly incorrect flag, ruined the celebrations.
But as Posh lost their way Oxford’s gifted ball players in the middle of the park took control and pressure started to build.
Posh ‘keeper Aaron Chapman pushed a long shot from Gavin Whyte to safety, but an equaliser arrived three minutes before the break when James Mackie took a break from his constant fouling to tee up Henry who netted from 25 yards into the top corner.
The second-half quiackly became very scrappy not helped by some baffling decisions from referee Charles Breakspear.
Chapman had to race off his line to thwart Mackie and then he produced a fine save to keep out Henry.
But the arrival of Cummings and Mark O’Hara as second-half substitutes livened Posh up. Cummings tested Eastwood in the visiting goal before Dembele’s wonder strike powered Posh in front again.
Cummings should have sealed the points when a free kick landed at his feet 12 yards from goal, but he somehow missed the target.
Oxford looked like they had run out of ideas, but they worked their way down the Posh right and Whyte was tripped clumsily by Daniel.
It did end a run of four straight defeats at the hands of Oxford, but that was a small consolation as Posh failed again in front of their own fans.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Joe Ward, Colin Daniel, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Louis Reed (sub Mark O’Hara, 71 mins), Marcus Maddison, Siriki Dembele, Matt Godden (sub Jason Cummings, 71 mins), Ivan Toney.
Unused substitutes: George Cooper, Sebastien Bassong, Conor O’Malley, Matty Stevens, Jason Naismith,
Oxford: Simon Eastwood, Gavin Whyte, Rob Dickie, John Mousinho (sub Ricky Holmes, 80 mins), Curtis Nelson, Jamie Hanson, Marcus Browne, Josh Ruffels, Cameron Brannagan, James Henry, James Mackie.
Unused substitutes: Jon Mitchell, Cameron Norman, Luke Garbutt, Sam Smith, Charlie Raglan, Sam Long.
Goals: Posh - Toney (10 mins), Dembele (75 mins).
Oxford - Henry (42 mins & pen, 88).
Cautions: Posh - Woodyard (deliberate handball), Ward (foul).
Oxford - Mackie (persistent infringements), Browne (foul), Nelson (foul)
Referee: Charles Breakspear 4
Attendance: 7,027 (534 Oxford).