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Match Reports

Dons draw final friendly

An entertaining 0-0 at Plough Lane

23 July 2022

AFC Wimbledon and Oxford United played out an action-packed goalless draw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Saturday as the Dons wrapped up their pre-season campaign.

Despite there being no goals to enjoy, the match itself was played at a high pace for long periods and offered an insight into what we can expect from our side this time next week against Gillingham.

Isaac Ogundere had the best chance of the afternoon for the Dons as he was fantastically denied by Jack Stevens, whilst Oxford’s Cameron Brannagan saw his second-half penalty brilliantly saved by Nik Tzanev.

Jack Currie and Paris Maghoma also impressed throughout the 90 minutes as Wimbledon played with the freedom that we have come to expect from watching the team in pre-season.

Although the performances haven’t all resulted in victories, there is certainly an air of expectancy around the club as the season draws ever closer.

Johnnie Jackson rotated his side for this final pre-season game with the likes of Tzanev, Lee Brown and Currie all being handed starts, whilst Kyle Hudlin was named in the squad for the first time.

The Dons started brightly and quickly got into their stride. Ayoub Assal was the first player to threaten early on as the attacking midfielder fired over following Maghoma’s interception and pass.

Currie was certainly impressing in the final friendly, with the wing-back displaying a range of drag-backs and turns that wouldn’t look out of place on the beaches of Brazil as he continuously charged down the left-hand side.

Tzanev was then called into action for the first time as he did well to tip over a deflected cross from the right.

The Kiwi then denied both Marcus McGane and Billy Bodin as Oxford began to grow into the contest after a slow start.

Chris Gunter then volleyed over from just inside the box as Wimbledon looked to strike just shy of the break.

Moving into the second period and the visitors were given a golden opportunity to take the lead after Alex Pearce was adjudged to have fouled Marcus Browne in the box.

However Brannagan saw his strong penalty equally matched by Tzanev who superbly flung himself to his right to tip the ball to safety.

Wimbledon quickly broke following the fallout of the incident, with Currie firing just wide of the left-hand post after being played in by Ethan Chislett at the end of the move.

Hudlin and Ogundere were both introduced initially, whilst Alfie Bendle replaced Chislett after the latter picked up a slight injury. The three substitutes quickly went about their task of upping the tempo of the second-half.

It was Ogundere who would go on to have the best chance of the second 45 minutes as a long ball forward sent him clear. His angled effort was well struck and heading for the corner, only for Jack Stevens to pull off a good diving save to his right.

The game finished goalless but Jackson and his staff will certainly feel encouraged by what they saw this afternoon.

AFC Wimbledon: Nik Tzanev, Chris Gunter, Will Nightingale, Alex Pearce (Paul Kalambayi), Lee Brown (Isaac Ogundere), Jack Currie, George Marsh, Paris Maghoma, Ethan Chislett (Alfie Bendle), Josh Davison (Kyle Hudlin), Ayoub Assal

 PICS: Ian Stephen

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