AFC Wimbledon 3-1 Oxford United: U's suffer second half collapse as Dons come from behind to win
Plough Lane - The home of AFC Wimbledon hosted this League One encounter
Andrew Keams - Getty Images

Oxford United learnt a harsh lesson in taking your chances, as they fell to defeat away at AFC Wimbledon, despite leading at the interval.

A one-sided first half performance by United was only rewarded on the stroke of half-time as Mark Sykes pounced on a defensive error by the hosts. 

They will feel that they deserved to be further ahead at the break, and were duly punished for their finishing thanks to a second half brace from Jack Rudoni, sandwiched either side of a Will Nightingale header. 

Wimbledon came away with what ultimately looked like a comfortable win.

Story of the match

A scrappy opening to the game saw the away side win a few corners, from one of which Jordan Thorniley headed wide under pressure.

The 18th minute saw the first big chance of the game, as Oxford's Matty Taylor nodded just wide of the mark after the ball had been clipped into the middle by James Henry.

The hosts manged their first shot soon after that, with left-back Nesta Guinness-Walker scuffing an effort straight at Jack Stevens, before Henry saw a 20-yard strike go inches wide of the post. 

Oxford grew into the game, with further half chances for Thorniley, Henry and Sykes, but all failed to properly trouble Nik Tzanev in the Wimbledon goal.

The pressure did finally tell in the final minute of the first half, as Sykes took advantage of an error in the Wimbledon defence to steer the ball past Tzanev to break the deadlock. 

Sykes began the second half as he finished the first, sending a shot in from distance, with Tzanev getting down well to keep it out. However Wimbledon grew from there and the game took a turn.

10 minutes into the half and the Dons found themselves level, as Nightingale's header towards goal was touched in by Rudoni, making Oxford pay for their wasted chances.

The flow of the game returned to Oxford straight after the goal, as they pushed to re-establish their lead, winning multiple corners before Henry fired wildly over just past the hour mark. 

The next 15 minutes saw chances go begging for both sides, before Wimbledon turned the game on its head. As centre-back Nightingale rose highest to head home a corner to put his side into the lead.

Before Oxford had a chance to restore their composure, the home side struck again, with Rudoni finding room in the area before firing the ball past Stevens for his second of the game. 

United did their best to try and salvage something with time running out, as Cameron Brannagan saw a shot tipped over, but ultimately it was too little too late, as the Dons held on for the win.  

Takeaways

AFC Wimbledon show their fighting spirit to withstand Oxford's pressure

When the half-time whistle blew, many Dons fans may have feared the worst. Trailing by a scoreline that frankly flattered them, but instead of rolling over, they showed why they're in this league.

They were defensively solid, considering the amount of chances they faced in the first period, and unlike Oxford they displayed that clinical edge when the opportunities came their way.

As well as the goal-scorers, Anthony Hartigan and Dapo Mebude were both lively, as Wimbledon got the result that both their defensive and attacking performances deserved

Oxford require improvement at both ends of the pitch if they are to succeed this season

With the majority of League One sides not playing this weekend due to the International break, Oxford would have gone top with a win. Which they certainly looked on course to do.

However, managing just a single goal from their early dominance will have worried fans, as they have now only scored more than once in two out of nine games this season.  

But what was more concerning was their defensive frailties as soon as their opponents began to grow into the game. Allowing two goals from set-pieces, which is something that will definitely need addressing.  

Man of the match

Jack Rudoni

The young winger has been with Wimbledon since joining the youth ranks in 2011, and is now thriving within the first team, fitting right in with performances like this. 

He took his time to get going as his side were on the defensive, but as soon as the opportunity arrived on 55 minutes, he took it with a real poachers finish.

He wasn't done there however, sweeping home a fantastic strike to ensure the three points for his team, before being unlucky not to grab his hattrick, firing over in stoppage time. 

Displays like this is something that Dons fans will be hoping to see more often, as they hope to keep away from the relegation zone.

 

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