OXFORD United fell to the bottom of the Sky Bet League One table as they suffered a painful sense of déjà vu with a strikingly similar defeat for the second week running.

Just as with their 3-1 loss at Gillingham there were spells of control where creating chances was not an issue.

But the display went unrewarded as their opponents showed a clinical edge, Joe Ward and Siriki Dembele giving Peterborough United the points.

Both goals came after the U’s best spells in each half.

Posh goalkeeper Christy Pym had thwarted Matty Taylor and Dan Agyei just before Jack Taylor’s ball over the top cut the visitors open for Ward to lob into the net.

An even more prolonged spell followed after half-time as the home defence wobbled, but as in Kent the final killer touch evaded Karl Robinson’s side.

Dembele landed the knockout blow on the break midway through the second half to inflict a fourth defeat in five league games on the U’s.

United’s team showed one change from the defeat at Gillingham last weekend, Mark Sykes replacing Cameron Brannagan, who was hospitalised yesterday with an eye problem.

Peterborough United had won this fixture 4-0 last season and came flying out of the traps.

All their threat came down the right flank, where crosses from Ward and Nathan Thompson were fired wide by Jonson Clarke-Harris in the opening five minutes.

United were quickly exposed again down their left, as Jack Taylor played Ward in and the resulting shot was turned on to the near post by Simon Eastwood.

It took 15 minutes for United to find any fluency, when Anthony Forde and Sykes combined to give James Henry a shooting chance which he fired over left-footed from 20 yards.

Forde quickly followed suit after cutting out a loose clearance as the visitors gained a foothold in the game.

Ward remained the main outlet for the hosts and he continued to cause Josh Ruffels problems, firing another warning shot off target just after the half-hour mark.

United though went on to have their best spell of the half, forcing Pym into two saves with his legs in as many minutes.

The first came when Henry cut out a pass in Peterborough’s half and teed up Taylor to test the Posh goalkeeper.

An even better chance quickly followed from a Forde corner. It came for Agyei in the six-yard box, but his stabbed shot was blocked by Pym.

The U’s were building up a head of steam, only to promptly concede.

There was no surprise it came from Ward, but the visitors will have been disappointed to be undone by one ball over the top from Taylor.

Ruffels and Sam Long appeared to get in each other’s way to give Ward time to measure a lob over a stranded Eastwood.

It was a bodyblow for the visitors, but they went on to push for an equaliser early in the second half.

Pym saved efforts from the edge of the box from Sykes and Dan Agyei within the space of 60 seconds.

An unmarked Ruffels headed wide at a corner, while Frankie Kent came within inches of an own goal after Henry had pounced on Mark Beevers’ slip.

But just as at Priestfield a week earlier, United were hit by a sucker punch after failing to capitalise on their chances.

Long cut out a through ball but it fell kindly for the hosts, who shipped it left to find Dembele and the tricky winger threaded a low shot into the net from ten yards.

It was a sickener for the visitors, who quickly brought on Alex Gorrin and Sam Winnall.

They continued to push, but just as a week earlier they came up short.

Peterborough Utd (4-2-3-1): Pym, Thompson, Beevers, Kent, Butler, Taylor, Brown, Ward, Szmodics (Broom 78), Dembele (Hamilton 85), Clarke-Harris.

Unused subs: Gyollai, Eisa, Reed, Mason, Clarke.

Booked: Ward, Dembele, Butler.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Eastwood, Clare, Moore, Long, Ruffels, Kelly (Gorrin 69), Forde, Henry, Sykes (Winnall 69), Taylor, Agyei (Osei 61).

Unused subs: Stevens, Hanson, McGuane, Hall.

Booked: Clare, Henry.

Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire).