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29 September 2018 Venue The Cherry Red Records Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Neal: We need to cope with the pressure

Preview: Quotes, team news and stats as Wimbledon take on Oxford

28 September 2018

Neal Ardley wants his AFC Wimbledon squad to realise the potential he believes they possess, as the Dons go in search of a third league victory of the season tomorrow.

Oxford United are the visitors to the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Saturday (kick-off, 3pm). Although they’re second from bottom and their last league victory came on 25 August, when Oxford beat Burton Albion 3-1, they gave a good account of themselves in the Carabao Cup in midweek – losing 3-0 at home to holders Manchester City.

Wimbledon’s two victories so far in League One this campaign have come away from home – on the opening day at Fleetwood Town and earlier this month against Gillingham. Neal is now aiming to get a first home win on the board before September comes to a close.

The Dons are also keen to avoid a fourth successive defeat in all competitions, having lost the previous two home games to Scunthorpe United and Swansea City’s under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy, and on the return to league action last weekend at Accrington Stanley.

Below are quotes from both managers, plus stats, ahead of tomorrow's game.

Neal Ardley –

“We need to show what we can do under pressure, with anxiety, when you’re behind, making sure you do the stuff that wins battles, individual battles, collective battles – there’s so many things that can go wrong or right in a game. You learn from it. We learnt from a twenty minute spell in the first half in the Scunthorpe game and we came out second-half and put that right. We have to learn from the twenty five to thirty minutes at Accrington and try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“The fans have been brilliant. I can’t fault them. I’ve had a lot of people come up to me, even when we’ve lost games, and say, ‘I like what I’m seeing’, ‘I’m enjoying watching it’, and things like that. By and large, they are appreciating the intent and they are supporting and cheering that. We need to start trying to reward their faith and support with some wins, so that everyone at 5 o’clock on a Saturday has got a smile on their face.

“We’ll try our best and the fans can create an atmosphere like they did at the back end of last season, like they have done every game this season. At the moment the fans have been magnificent and the team needs to try and deliver the same for them. If we keep that going, things hopefully will be good. 

“I went and watched Oxford play in midweek against Man City. They were excellent and gave City a really good game. They’ll feel they could have got something the week before and the week before that. When teams lose games – and we feel the same – you come away feeling you could have got something from it, unless you get beaten 4-0.

“You come away believing that you had the chances to turn the game, but ultimately that’s what happens when the opposition take their chances and you don’t take yours. Oxford have been that way in quite a few of their games. They’ll feel they are in a false position and they’ll feel it will turn – we’ll feel the same with our situation. On Saturday we’ll find out what one will be the case.”

Karl Robinson -

“I have unbelievable respect for Neal Ardley and they have found a number of different ways to win matches. They have different combinations up front, midfielders who can control any game, a back four who are very strong and it’s a tight place to go and play but we have to embrace it and look forward to it.

"Every single player who took to the pitch (against Manchester City) I’m immensely proud of. I don’t think we were peppered, I don’t think they missed chance after chance. They dominated the ball, but they do that week-in, week-out. We had that bravery. At no stage did we kick Man City, at no stage did we bully them, or do things that were against the laws of the game.

“I want to do things the right way. I said to my players before the game, play on the edge, but play with total respect."

Team news

Striker Kwesi Appiah returned to full training after shrugging off a groin strain and Neal Ardley said he will check on the striker’s fitness before selecting a squad to face Oxford United.

Kwesi missed the defeat at Accrington Stanley and so too did midfielder Anthony Wordsworth, who was struck down by a bout of tonsillitis, and he has also made good progress.

Oxford United received a boost when Samir Carruthers, Jamie Mackie and Simon Eastwood all returned to training ahead of the game. Marcus Browne and Rob Hall remain in the treatment room.

Last time out

League One - Accrington Stanley 2, AFC Wimbledon 1

Carabao Cup - Oxford United 0, Manchester City 3

Form guide (in all competitions, starting with most recent)

AFC Wimbledon - LLLWWL

Oxford United - LLDLWD

Top scorers  

All competitions -

AFC Wimbledon – Joe Pigott (5)

Oxford United - Gavin Whyte (3)

Last meeting

The two sides last met in March of this year. Wimbledon took the lead from the penalty spot through Lyle Taylor in the 32nd minute, Todd Kane equalised for Oxford six minutes later. Left back Jon Meades scored a second-half winner for the Dons, against his previous club, in the 71st minute.

You can relive the action via the link below, to our official YouTube channel.

Tickets

Oxford United is an all-ticket game, so you will need to buy in advance.

Fans must have a previous purchase history; this could be for tickets or merchandise, to buy tickets for this match.

Follow the below link to our online ticket store and login to your account (top right-hand corner) before purchasing your tickets.

Buy Oxford United Tickets >>

If you have an issue buying a ticket for this game online, please email info@afcwimbledon.ltd.uk or call 020 8547 3528 (09:30 - 17.00 Monday to Friday).

Advance tickets are available until 11 am on Saturday. Tickets bought after Wednesday 12.00 (noon) will be available for collection on Saturday from the white booth in Jack Goodchild Way.

Please note tickets will not be on sale at the turnstiles on the day of the game and need to be purchased in advance.

iFollow

Tune into live WDON match commentary from 3.00 pm tomorrow by accessing our subscription channel. For more information visit our designated iFollow page.

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Match Reports

Pigott strikes his sixth of the season to end home drought

Dons secure a first home win of 2018/19

29 September 2018

AFC Wimbledon secured a first home victory of the season at the seventh time of asking with yet another important goal from Joe Pigott.

Pigott, who has scored so many vital goals since joining Wimbledon in January, struck the all-important winner once again in a 2-1 victory against Oxford United. However, the Dons had heroes at the other end too with Wimbledon’s defence, led by captain Deji Oshilaja, defending valiantly to defy an Oxford fightback.

John Motson, who famously quipped, ‘The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club’ back in 1988, was an interested spectator 30 years on since that landmark Wimbledon triumph and his presence perhaps provided a lucky charm for the current crop. Introduced to supporters on the half-time PA, Motson spoke warmly about the potential of visiting Plough Lane in the future with the site of Wimbledon’s new stadium close to the venue where he commentated on many a Dons fixture back in the day.

While the prospect of a new stadium is a tantalising prospect for everyone connected with the club, the onus for now is on Wimbledon remaining in the third tier when that happens and this was an important victory, even though it’s still early in the season.

Neal Ardley made two changes to his starting line-up after the defeat at Accrington Stanley with Jake Jervis in for his full home league debut in place of James Hanson. Scott Wagstaff was rewarded for his goal last week with a recall to the team in place of Mitch Pinnock.

Facing an Oxford side with three points less before this game, Wimbledon’s players knew that this was an opportunity to register a first home victory this season. However, it needed a superb stop from Joe McDonnell to prevent Oxford taking the lead, the recently recalled keeper making a finger-tip save from former Liverpool midfielder Cameron Brannagan. Oxford’s bright start continued and Tennai Watson showed good alertness to divert a deep cross wide of the far post. Ricky Holmes also shot over the crossbar as Oxford attempted to turn the heat up on Wimbledon.

Following Oxford’s good start, Wimbledon gradually came into it with Jervis showing up really well in attack. The pacy forward proved to be a handful for Oxford’s defence with his movement in behind and his dangerous cross from the left deserved more than just a corner. Wimbledon marched into the lead in the 20th minute with Scott Wagstaff showing that he had fully rediscovered his scoring touch after Accrington last week. Andy Barcham sent over a cross that was flicked on at the near post by Jake Jervis and Wagstaff was in the right place to head home.

Wimbledon attempted to continue the momentum and the cushion of a second goal followed in the 32nd minute. Joe Pigott showed good strength to beat Oxford captain John Mousinho just outside that area, before producing a fine low finish. It is a mark of Pigott’s improvement since joining in January that it appeared inevitable that the net would bulge when he took aim. A sixth goal of the season followed with a powerful drive that Oxford keeper Jonathan Mitchell was unable to keep out. A strong response followed from Oxford with the visitors forcing corners that Wimbledon did well to clear. Jon Obika also had a goal-bound shot blocked as Oxford sought a way back into the match.

It looked like Wimbledon would go in with a two-goal advantage at the break, but Oxford crucially halved the deficit in the 44th minute. Holmes showed good awareness to set-up a shooting chance for Brannagan and his superb finish left McDonnell with no chance. In contrast to previous home matches this season, Wimbledon had been clinical in front of goal with both shots on target in the first-half resulting in goals.

Oxford sensed after half-time that there was a way back into this game for them and they threatened an equaliser in the 52nd minute. James Henry powered into the area and set his sights on goal, but Ben Purrington produced a superb last-ditch challenge and Ricky Holmes blazed the rebound over the crossbar. Oxford committed more men forward around the hour mark and Wimbledon were forced into a spell of resilient defending. Holmes had another shot blocked and Gavin Whyte flashed a shot just wide as the visitors continued to apply pressure. With skilful midfielder Brannagan getting on the ball in midfield, Wimbledon had to do a lot of hard work without the ball, closing down space to limit their opponents getting clear-cut chances.

Wimbledon had certainly defended well by the midway point of the first-half, but Neal Ardley decided that something different was required to get the Dons playing again. A double change was made in the 68th minute with Anthony Wordsworth and Kwesi Appiah introduced in place of Barcham and Pigott. Wordsworth was quickly involved and he struck an effort over the crossbar from outside the area. Though Oxford continued to have the majority of possession, Wimbledon continued to defend valiantly and the lack of clear-cut chances in the latter stages highlighted the resilience shown. As anxiety among the home faithful increased, substitute Will Nightingale made an impotant block and Wimbledon defended a couple of late corners really well. The final whistle was reward for stout defending from the Dons and this was a vital victory for Neal Ardley’s men.

AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, Tennai Watson, Ben Purrington, Deji Oshilaja, Scott Wagstaff, Jake Jervis, Liam Trotter, Andy Barcham (Anthony Wordsworth), Tom Soares, Rod McDonald, Joe Pigott (Kwesi Appiah).

Pic credit: Matt Redman, Pro Sports Images.

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Ticket News

Oxford United is an all-ticket game: Buy in advance

Dons fans must have a previous purchase history to buy tickets

28 September 2018

Get behind Neal and the boys on Saturday and buy in advance to watch the Dons take on Oxford United in another vital League One encounter.

Fans must have a previous purchase history, this could be for tickets or merchandise, to buy tickets for this match.

Follow the below link to our online ticket store and login to your account (top right-hand corner) before purchasing your tickets.

Buy Oxford United Tickets >>

If you have an issue buying a ticket for this game online, please email info@afcwimbledon.ltd.uk or call 020 8547 3528 (09:30 - 17.00 Monday to Friday).

Advance tickets are available until 11 am on Saturday. Tickets bought after Wednesday 12.00 (noon) will be available for collection on Saturday from the white booth in Jack Goodchild Way.

Please note tickets will not be on sale at the turnstiles on the day of the game and need to be purchased in advance.

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