It was honours even as Oxford United drew 2-2 with Peterborough United today. Twice.
With two games side by side it gave most of the squad a chance to get game time, although a handful of players will be added to the squad over the next 48 hours as they follow individual ‘return to play’ protocols.
With half an eye on those, Karl Robinson divided his squad to balance those who have been in full training and those who have been training in isolation; Derek Fazackerley took charge of a team on Pitch 1 and Craig Short on Pitch 2, while the Manager switched between the two games.
The first goal of the afternoon came on Pitch 2 when Harrison Burrows crashed in a decent effort off the underside of the bar but that was levelled after 30 minutes when the lively Tyler Goodrham was brought down and Mark Sykes converted from the spot. As the ball hit the net it was mirrored on the other pitch when Anthony Forde curled home a superb free kick from the edge of the box to give the U’s the lead, swiftly followed by a wonderful strike from Dan Agyei to make it 2-0 (or 3-2 on aggregate) a minute later.
Peterborough made it 2-1 on Pitch 2 from the spot soon after the break through a penalty from Ethan Hamilton but the game(s) was/were then stopped for ten minutes as lightning crackled around the ground and players and staff rushed for shelter.
The restart saw John Mousinho subbed off on his return, youngster Erien Zebeli coming on, and the games slowly regained their momentum after the enforcaed stoppage; Steve Seddon looked strong on his debut at left back and fellow new signing Ryan Williams was full of energy.
Sam Winnall then made it 2-2 on Pitch 2 with an expertly placed header but Peterborough made it 2-2 in both games when Idris Kanu slid in at the back post on the other pitch to level, but the results were not the important thing.
Both teams will be pleased with excellent workouts and the U's now move on to play Bristol Rovers away on Saturday as the season draws ever closer.
Pitch 1- Manager Derek Fazackerley: Stevens, Forde, Moore, Nosokhare, Seddon, Henry, Johnson, Brannagan, Agyei (Smith 85), Taylor (O'Donkor 81), R. Williams
Pitch 2 - Manager Craig Short: Eastwood, Watt, Mousinho (Zebeli 55), Trialist, Elechi, Sykes, Tiamuna, Osei Yaw (Spasov 65) , Goodrham, Cooper, Winnall (Osei Yaw 84)
Subs: Spasov, Trialist
Reports by Chris 'The Owl' Williams, pictures Steve Daniels.