JAMES Henry scored two equalisers to earn Oxford United a useful point at high-flying Peterborough United.

The midfielder had missed training for most of the week due to an illness, but took his tally for the season into double figures.

He had the ball in the net three times, but his flicked effort was harshly ruled out for offside after Ivan Toney’s early opener.

Henry did equalise in fine style before half-time, but Siri Dembele came up with an even better strike 15 minutes from time.

While it appeared to have given the Posh maximum points, Gavin Whyte was brought down in the box and Henry stepped up to stroke home an 88th minute penalty.

United may still be searching for a first away win in Sky Bet League One, but this will go down as a good result.

The visitors named the same starting line-up for the fourth game running, with Henry recovering from a his illness in midweek.

Ricky Holmes made a welcome return on the bench, but was only fit enough for a brief cameo role.

Karl Robinson’s side had only lost once in their previous dozen games, but they were up against it early on.

Peterborough seized the initiative almost from kick-off and there was little surprise when they opened the scoring in the tenth minute.

It came via a well-worked move, with Matt Godden creating space by peeling away to the far post and nodding a high ball down for Toney, who clipped in a superb low strike from ten yards.

Goalkeeper Simon Eastwood stood no chance, but within a minute he had twice come to the visitors’ rescue.

From the kick-off United lost the ball and Posh poured forward to create a shooting chance for Godden.

Eastwood turned it behind for a corner, from which he made an even better block running across his goal to deny Colin Daniel’s effort.

Peterborough looked every inch a side 15 places above their visitors, who barely had a kick going forward.

That changed on 27 minutes, when the U’s were denied an equaliser.

Marcus Browne burst forward down the left and his cross was flicked in by Henry. It looked a perfectly good goal, but after a long delay the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.

United were aghast, but it proved to be the turning point in the half.

Suddenly they carried an attacking threat, with Posh goalkeeper Aaron Chapman quickly forced into action by a low Gavin Whyte shot from 25 yards.

Peterborough remained dangerous going forward, Siriki Dembele wasting one chance by shooting wide from Godden’s cross.

But United were steadily getting on top and when Henry got another opportunity to shoot, there was no denying him three minutes before the break.

A header forward by Josh Ruffels gave Cameron Brannagan space to attack down the left. His low cross was held up by Mackie and the ball was moved to Henry, who from just outside the box smashed a rising shot past a despairing Chapman.

United had their tails up and Whyte forced another save from the goalkeeper in stoppage-time to keep the scores level.

The interval came at a bad time for the visitors and when play restarted the game deteriorated, with neither side able to come up with much quality in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

United had the first good chance midway through the half, via a defensive mistake.

A loose back pass saw Chapman have to race out of goal to smother a shot from Mackie and Posh then had to hack clear Whyte’s follow-up cross.

But 15 minutes from time, Peterborough retook the lead thanks to a high-quality finish.

When a U’s move broke down, Dembele was found in space and from 25 yards he picked out the top corner just inside Eastwood’s far post.

There was still time for a response – and Holmes was brought on in a bid to find a moment of magic.

Another substitute, Jason Cummings, should have put the game to bed five minutes from time, but he shot wide from ten yards.

United were let off the hook and cashed in three minutes later when Whyte was brought down in the box by Daniel.

Henry stepped up and sent Chapman the wrong way.

It set up a frantic finish in torrential rain, but there was no further late drama.

Peterborough Utd (4-4-2): Chapman, Ward, Tafazolli, Bennett, Daniel, Maddison, Woodyard, Reed (O’Hara 72), Dembele, Godden (Cummings 72), Toney.

Unused subs: O’Malley, Naismith, Cooper, Stevens, Bassong.

Booked: Tafazolli, Woodyard, Ward.

Oxford Utd (4-3-3): Eastwood, Hanson, Nelson, Dickie, Ruffels, Mousinho (Holmes 80), Henry, Brannagan, Browne, Mackie, Whyte.

Unused subs: Mitchell, Norman, Long, Raglan, Garbutt, Smith.

Booked: Mackie, Browne, Nelson.

Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey).

Attendance: 7,027 (534 visitors).