Rare Point For Dons In Oxford Encounter

Oxford 0 v Wimbledon 0

Wimbledon won their first point against Oxford United for almost 27 years as they drew 0-0 on Saturday (22 November).

The two clubs had gone their own ways following that 5-2 win for the Dons back on 2 January 1988. But since competition was renewed in 2009, the Dons had lost all eight encounters until this battling draw that had manager Neal Ardley content.

‘In the past couple of weeks the players have performed really well,’ he told the club’s official website, ‘and we’ve produced five really dogged performances.

‘We just have to keep the momentum going.’

Having seen his side overwhelm York City in midweek after switching to a 4-3-3 formation mid-game, Ardley chose to start this encounter with the same formation, bringing in Adebayo Azeez and Sammy Moore with George Francomb and the suspended Sean Rigg losing out.

The positive move almost paid off with 10 minutes on the clock when Adebayo Akinfenwa set up Matt Tubbs following a Frankie Sutherland free-kick, but Tubbs’ effort was turned around the post by Oxford keeper Ryan Clarke, with Akinfenwa heading the subsequent corner over the crossbar.

And Azeez twice went close, first seeing a shot from an acute angle deflected wide and then forcing a save from Clarke.

It was that man Azeez who was again in action early on following the interval, just failing to connect properly with a Dannie Bulman cross, but then the home side started coming into it.

First ex-Don Danny Hylton fired over the cross bar, then Dons defender Alan Bennett was forced into action to intercept a threatening cross from Tareiq Holmes-Dennis.

But despite a Jack Smith effort across goal that was held by Clarke, the match ended without either side forcing a breakthrough.

The Dons complete the ‘Oxbridge double’ when they entertain Cambridge United at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (29 November) before travelling to Wycombe for their FA Cup 2nd round tie the following Sunday (7 December).

Oxford: Clarke, Riley, Mullins, Wright, Holmes-Dennis, Potter, Whing, Howard (O’Dowda 71), Rose, Hylton, Roberts (Barnett 61). Subs not used: Meades, Ruffels, Collins, Crocombe, Dunkley.

Booked: Whing 79.

Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Barrett, Bennett, Smith, Sutherland (Francomb 74), Bulman, Moore, Tubbs, Akinfenwa, Azeez (Oakley 83). Subs not used: Worner, Kennedy, Nicholson, Beere, Oakley, Sweeney.

Booked: Sutherland 21.

Att: 5,443

By Rob Crane

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November 24 2014