Impressive attacking performance downs Oxford
AFC Wimbledon secured a first win in 2017 at the third attempt with an excellent first-half attacking display enough to earn another victory against Oxford United.
A first Wimbledon goal from Sean Kelly proved decisive in a 2-1 victory with all the goals coming during an action-packed first-half. In a battle between two sides promoted from League 2 last season, Wimbledon yet again came out on top.
The 2016/17 season will long be remembered by Dons fans for a host of memorable victories, but doing the double over long-time enemies Oxford United may well be at the top of the list. It also came in front of watching former England manager Roy Hodgson, who must have enjoyed Wimbledon’s fine attacking performance!
Neal Ardley made one change from the side that started in the FA Cup at Sutton United with Dominic Poleon replacing Andy Barcham. Searching for a first win since the turn of the year, AFC Wimbledon endured a tough start with Oxford taking the lead in just the seventh minute. Robbie Hall was given too much time and space to have a crack at goal, but there was no doubting the quality of the finish as he beat James Shea with a fierce low drive from 25 yards.
minute as Dean Parrett’s shooting ability paid dividends. The midfielder’s superb drive cannoned back off the crossbar, before rebounding in off the unfortunate Eastwood.thA good response followed from Wimbledon and Lyle Taylor forced Oxford goalkeeper Simon Eastwood into his first save. However, there was no reprieve for Oxford in the 12
minute. Parrett, who has proven himself to be so adept from set-pieces, sent in a teasing delivery from a corner that Sean Kelly met with a well-guided header to notch his first club goal.thTaking control of the game after equalising, Wimbledon forced Oxford back towards their own goal for the rest of the half. The only fleeting moment of danger came once again through Hall, who picked up the ball and beat two or three challenges but this time Wimbledon got men back to block his effort. However, Wimbledon’s front three of Taylor, Tom Elliott and Dominic Poleon were causing plenty of problems for Oxford and it was no surprise when a second goal followed for the hosts in the 28
A 2-1 Wimbledon lead was fully deserved with Neal Ardley’s men bouncing back emphatically from the early setback. Chances followed to make it an even better score-line for the Dons at half-time. Poleon burst through one-one-one, but he tried to round Eastwood and the Oxford keeper managed to get down low to smother the ball. In a particularly busy spell for Eastwood, he did very well to deny Taylor, who almost managed to squeeze in from an acute angle after a lovely ball through from Jake Reeves.
Just before the break, Poleon also fired off target and Taylor’s deft lob over Eastwood drifted agonisingly wide. In a superb first-half attacking display from Wimbledon, which combined fine midfield play and plenty of cutting edge, the only criticism is that it should have been more as the half-time whistle sounded.
Wimbledon started the second-half in similar fashion to the way they had ended the first by pushing Oxford back towards their own goal. Another free-kick from Parrett this time struck the wall and fell for Elliott at the back post, but his shot flashed into the side netting. A lovely move then ended with Parrett finding Kelly on the overlap, but his shot was saved by Eastwood and the offside flag was up anyway.
minute. Ryan Taylor struck a lovely effort from 20 yards that Shea did brilliantly to get across and tip wide.thWith an hour gone, Wimbledon still held a 2-1 lead and Oxford were struggling to create anything of note against a well drilled Dons defence. At the other end, Poleon had a shot charged down after lovely combination play between Parrett and Reeves. However, a warning shot that the job was not yet done followed in the 64
Midway through the second-half, Wimbledon squandered a great chance to seal victory. Elliott’s power dispossessed an Oxford defender and he squared the ball to Jake Reeves in the area, but his shot was too close to Eastwood and Taylor’s follow-up was also cleared. With 19 minutes remaining, Tom Elliott was replaced to a great ovation from the home faithful with Tyrone Barnett on to replace him.
There was also a notable return for Chris Whelpdale with 15 minutes remaining as he stepped back in after a groin injury with Lyle Taylor making way. There was also another significant moment in the fledgling career of Dons youth product Alfie Egan, who came on as a substitute for Parrett. Egan had made his league debut in the 3-1 win at Oxford in October.
With Oxford pushing for an equaliser, Wimbledon had to remain switched on at the back and there was relief in the Dons ranks when Curtis Nelson put in a dangerous cross that substitute Kane Hemmings failed to connect properly with. However, it should have been all over six minutes from time when Barry Fuller’s cross was headed back by Poleon for Whelpdale, but he headed straight into the arms of Eastwood. However, two was enough for Wimbledon to earn a victory that an impressive attacking display fully deserved.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller, Sean Kelly, Paul Robinson, Darius Charles, Dannie Bulman, Jake Reeves, Dominic Poleon, Dean Parrett (Alfie Egan), Tom Elliott (Tyrone Barnett), Lyle Taylor (Chris Whelpdale).
Pic credit: Stuart Butcher, Pro Sports Images.