Two goals from James Henry earned Oxford United a 2-2 draw at Peterborough United this afternoon. After falling behind to an Ivan Toney goal United hit back through Henry before a Siriki Dembele piledriver put the Posh ahead. Henry then stepped up to score from the spot and make it one defeat in 13 games for the resurgent Yellows.
Against one of the form teams in the division United got off to a poor start when Toney put the Posh ahead inside ten minutes. A ball up to Matt Godden was headed in to his path and Toney strode on to it for a very calm finish from ten yards out, leaving United to show a bit of character to get back in to the game.
It would have been a lot worse for the U’s had Simon Eastwood not produced two superb saves in the next 60 seconds, stopping both Godden and Daniel efforts that were flying towards the net, but the defensive line in front of him worked hard to keep things tight with the tough-tackling Hanson setting the tone at right back.
With the ball zipping around in midfield, United were neat and tidy enough, knowing that they had the pace of Whyte and Browne to get them back into the game on the break, and that almost paid off after 27 minutes when the tremendous Brannagan won a tackle, Mousinho helped it on and Browne carried it in to the area. His low ball was flicked by Henry and looked to have made it 1-1 but a very late flag by the assistant referee ruled the ‘goal’ out and denied United their equaliser.
Encouraged, and fired up by the decision, United looked to make it irrelevant with Whyte firing into the gloves of Aaron Chapman two minutes later and the whole team working like demons to find a way back in to the game.
That came just before the break when they deservedly made it 1-1 through Henry’s ninth goal of the season. Brannagan started it, Mackie laid it back and I can think of few Oxford players I would rather see receiving the ball 25 yards out with the goal in their sights. Henry didn’t disappoint, firing past Chapman for a goal that leaves him three short of his target of 20 in a calendar year. Anyone want to bet against that?
United had deserved that and were more than a match for the promotion-chasing Posh in a high-tempo second half which saw both sides working their socks off to deny their opponents space.
Eastwood made a good save as Peterborough planted two corners in quick succession under his crossbar but it was his opposite number Chapman who made the better save when he got down smartly to deny Henry a second goal after Gavin Whyte's lightning break had opened up the space down the right.
That proved crucial because on 75 the Posh were back in front. Dembele is a tricky player who had caused problems all afternoon. In space, 25 yards out, he launched a screamer of a shot that flashed past Eastwood and into the top corner to restore the home side's lead and make it 2-1.
Surely United couldn't dig any deeper? Think again.
With time running out, Whyte reached a loose ball just before Colin Daniel, who brought him down. Henry was calmness personified as he sent Chapman one way and rolled the ball into the opposite corner to earn United a point.
Great stuff once again from a team that improves game by game.
Report by Chris Williams. Pictures by Steve Daniels and Darrell Fisher, stats by OPTA
See it all in iFollow