A BRACE from Ruben Rodrigues helped a sizzling Oxford United swat aside Peterborough United in a display full of attacking intent and ruthlessness in front of goal.

Mark Harris put the U’s in front from the penalty spot before the 20-minute mark, with the lead doubled by Josh Murphy just after half an hour had been played.

Rodrigues netted his first goal of afternoon with seven minutes to go until the break, and made it a double with a lovely diving header just before an hour had been played.

Billy Bodin put the icing on the cake just before stoppage time when his audacious lob sailed over Jed Steer and into the back of the net.

In reality, it could’ve been more for United who hit the post in the first half via Owen Dale, and late on through Greg Leigh.

Des Buckingham was forced into two changes to the side which won 4-0 at Burton Albion, as both Elliott Moore and Cameron Brannagan missed out through injury.

Fin Stevens and Josh McEachran came into the starting line-up, with Sam Long moving inside to centre half in place of Moore, while also skippering the U’s.

United blew away the Posh in the first half, and had a chance to open the scoring within the first 60 seconds when Harris gained possession on the left and brought the ball infield, before his deflected effort looped into the gloves of Steer.

Ronnie Edwards nodded wide from a corner at the other end, before nobody in yellow was able to take advantage of Murphy’s tantalising cross into the six-yard box after the winger pounced on a loose ball and drove down the left-hand side.

After quarter of an hour, Jamie Cumming made a good save to paw away a Joel Randall header after a cross into the box from Kwame Poku.

The U’s took the lead minutes later when Murphy broke into the area, and was brought down by Jadel Katongo. With no Brannagan in the side, it was Harris who stepped up from 12 yards, and the Welshman slammed the spot kick down the middle to open the scoring.

Ricky-Jade Jones hit the crossbar from close range after a left-wing cross from Ephron Mason-Clark, and that miss was ruthlessly punished as United doubled their lead five minutes later.

The visitors were penned in by the U’s press, and goalkeeper Steer was forced into a mistake when his attempted clearance failed to get the required elevation, with Murphy able to nod it past him into the net.

Randall blazed a shot from distance well over, while Poku wriggled into space before seeing a deflected effort go out for a corner.

With seven minutes to go until the break, United added their third goal through a sensational counter-attack.

The irresistible Murphy burst down the left and laid the ball on a plate for Rodrigues in the box, with the midfielder calmly applying the finish.

The U’s kept coming, and McEachran’s left wing free kick had Steer backpedalling to push the ball away at his back post, while Dale then found the outside of the post with a snapshot after brilliant pressing by Tyler Goodrham to win the ball close to the byline.

Murphy then presented a glorious opportunity for Dale in first half stoppage time, when he brushed Archie Collins aside and fed Dale, who somehow fired over from close range.

Posh boss Darren Ferguson made a quadruple change at the break, as two of his backline were sacrificed, in order to switch to a back three.

United kicked on from how they finished the first half though, with Harris pressing early on and arrowing a 20-yard strike narrowly wide.

Rodrigues grabbed his brace just before an hour had been played, when his brilliant diving header nestled in after a delicious cross from Stevens.

Buckingham’s first switch came with 65 minutes on the clock, when Marcus Browne replaced Murphy, who received a thoroughly deserved standing ovation after a scintillating display.

The Posh worked their way into the U’s penalty area six minutes later, as space opened up for Poku, however Long was on hand to stand his ground and get in the way of the strike.

Buckingham’s next changes saw Bodin and Marcus McGuane come on for Dale and Rodrigues respectively, with the latter forced off after taking a knock.

Browne went in one-on-one with Steer after being played through by Harris, and should’ve added a fifth goal of the afternoon, however he was denied by the keeper.

Leigh then went close to grabbing the fifth goal when his arrowed strike across goal cannoned back off the far post.

The fifth arrived just before stoppage time, when Bodin received the ball from Leigh and lobbed a delightful effort over a helpless Steer.

Oxford United (4-3-3): Cumming; Stevens, Long, Brown, Leigh; Goodrham (Henry 82), McEachran (Smyth 82), Rodrigues (McGuane 74); Dale (Bodin 74), Harris, Murphy (Browne 65).

Unused subs: Eastwood, Thorniley.

Booked: None.

Peterborough United (4-2-3-1): Steer; Katongo (Crichlow 46), Knight (Fernandez 46), Edwards, Burrows; Kyprianou, Collins; Poku, Randall (Clarke-Harris 46), Mason-Clark (Ajiboye 46); Jones.

Unused subs: Bilokapic, de Havilland, Mothersille.

Booked: None.

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)

Attendance: 10,046 (998 visitors).