CAMERON Brannagan’s volley proved the difference as Oxford United’s attractive display saw them beat Peterborough United.

The midfielder was in the right place to latch on to a poor clearance, hammering a volley into the net after 12 minutes.

United put together some excellent approach play without reward and had to weather a brief spell of pressure at the start of the second half.

But Peterborough, who are well-fancied to win promotion, never quite hit their stride.

They should have been out of the game midway through the half but after James Henry hit the crossbar, Ben Woodburn fired the rebound wide.

But United defended well to ensure the miss was not costly – and when added to last week’s opening point at Sunderland it made for a very decent start to the season.

The game came too soon for new signing Dan Agyei, who was introduced to the crowd before kick-off.

Instead, boss Karl Robinson named the same XI which drew at Sunderland a week earlier and they largely picked up where they had left off on Wearside.

Tariqe Fosu, scorer at the Stadium of Light, came close to making it two goals in two starts as he fired a shot from a tight angle which rattled Christy Pym’s near post after only four minutes.

When Josh Ruffels crossed the resulting ball back into the box, Jamie Mackie headed the ball over.

Peterborough named a line-up full of attacking threat, but with the wind at their backs they found it tough to create chances.

United looked by far the more dangerous side and when a big opening arrived on 12 minutes, they took it.

James Henry sprung the offside trap and although his cross from the right was cleared, the ball landed straight to Brannagan, who lashed a left-footed volley low into the net from 15 yards.

Brannagan was at the heart of everything for a spell, although the adrenalin got the better of him with a couple of over-hit free-kicks and ragged challenges.

It saw the midfielder cautioned and he walked a fine line just before the half-hour mark by conceding a set piece on the edge of United’s box.

Brannagan received a ticking off before Marcus Maddison, who had been fouled, chipped the resulting free-kick wide.

The U’s midfielder also saw plenty of the ball, linking up intelligently with Ben Woodburn, Henry and Fosu.

Woodburn poked a shot wide on the half-hour mark, before rolling an inviting ball across the six-yard box which just needed a touch.

United were playing some excellent football, although Pym was not tested after the goal.

And the hosts had to survive a nervous finish to the half, as Peterborough forced three successive corners.

The late flurry did not change Darren Ferguson’s view of the half, though, as he made two changes at the break.

And the visitors started the half like they had been on the receiving end of a rocket from their manager – Maddison forcing Eastwood into a smart save as United came under pressure after the restart.

The home side steadied themselves to get back into the game, although they were forced into a change on the hour – Brannagan brought off before he was sent off.

Midway through the half they should have had the cushion of a second goal.

Dickie’s clearance sent Mackie clear and when he found Henry the midfielder’s delicate chip hit the crossbar. It fell for Woodburn, who from close range fired well off target.

It was a glaring miss and the teenager was not let off the hook by an offside flag.

He set about making amends and from much further out forced Pym into an unconventional save with his chest 12 minutes from time.

United were robust when they needed to be in the latter stages to see the game out, but Eastwood was hardly tested as the hosts kicked off at home with three points.

Oxford Utd (4-2-3-1): Eastwood, Cadden, Dickie, Mousinho, Ruffels, Brannagan (Hanson 60), Gorrin, Henry, Woodburn (Hall 88), Fosu (Forde 88), Mackie.

Unused subs: Stevens, Moore, Long, Napa.

Booked: Brannagan, Gorrin.

Peterborough Utd (4-4-2): Pym, Mason, Beevers, Kent, Butler (Blake-Tracy HT), Maddison, Woodyard (Reed 69), Boyd, Dembele, Eisa (Knight HT), Toney.

Unused subs: Chapman, Ward, Kanu, Naismith.

Booked: Boyd, Kent.

Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire).

Attendance: 6,959 (744 visitors).