Dons Fail To End Oxford Jinx

Oxford 2 v Wimbledon 1

Wimbledon paid the price for failing to capitalise on their early dominance as they lost 1-2 against bogey side Oxford on Saturday (1 February), with former Dons man David Connolly netting the second for the hosts.

The result means that all eight encounters between these two sides since the Dons joined the Conference have ended in victories for Oxford.

But this one could have been so different if the Dons had taken advantage of an early spell during which they had the hosts on the back foot, with Aaron Morris pulling the strings in midfield.

The closest the Dons came during that opening spell was when Sammy Moore headed off target from a Barry Fuller cross, while Jim Fenlon had an effort that went over the crossbar.

And Danny Hylton could have made it two goals in two games for the Dons but his effort from just outside the area was straight at goalkeeper Ryan Clarke.

Against the run of play, it was the visitors who took the lead when Danny Rose’s corner to the near post was met by Tom Newey, who beat his marker to the ball to head home and put the hosts ahead with their first attempt on target.

The Dons responded, with Fenlon involved in a move that culminated with Sammy Moore forcing another save from Clarke,  while Charlie Wyke also saw an effort straight at the Oxford keeper after good approach play by Fuller.

But the Dons found themselves 2-0 down soon after the break when half-time substitute Connolly burst between Will Antwi and Alan Bennett to latch onto a long ball and loft it over the advancing Ross Worner, who was stranded in no-man’s land.

Wyke again had a goalscoring opportunity only to head over, but with the Dons pushing forwards they were risking more at the back and Deane Smalley went close to sealing the home side’s win with a powerful drive that was just wide.

With quarter of an hour remaining, Wyke pulled the Dons back into it, capitalising after latching on to David Hunt’s poor attempt at a header back to his keeper Clarke. Wyke seized the loose ball and, although his first attempt was blocked by Clarke, made no mistake with the rebound to make it 2-1.

And Hylton had a chance right at the death to snatch a point for the Dons, only to head his header from Chris Arthur’s cross just wide of the upright.

Manager Neal Ardley told BBC London 94.9 afterwards: ‘It is disappointing in result terms and I didn’t think there was a lot between the teams.

‘We let ourselves down. They had one attempt on goal for the first half and that was their goal. We were as good as, if not better, than them.’

Wimbledon host high-flying Rochdale on Saturday 8 February, following that up with a midweek trip to Newport before a much-anticipated trip to Portsmouth the following weekend.

Oxford United: Clarke, Hunt, Newey, Wroe, Bevans, Mullins, Rigg (Connolly 46), Rose, Constable (Kitson 83), Smalley, Ruffles. Subs not used: Davies, Marsh, Henly, Long, O’Dowda.

Goalscorers: Newey 39, Connolly 56.

Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Fenlon (Sainte-Luce 65), Jones, Morris (Midson 79), Bennett, Antwi (Arthur 64), S. Moore, Wyke, Hylton, Pell. Subs not used: Francomb, L. Moore, Sheringham, Brown.

Goalscorer: Wyke 75.

Att: 5,748.

By Rob Crane

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February 1, 2014