United picked up a point to make it three games unbeaten with a 0-0 draw with AFC Wimbledon at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon. The visitors ended a sequence that had seen them beaten in all eight previous meetings between the sides but it was a game where defences were on top for most of the 90 minutes.
An unchanged United side started strongly and the opening ten minutes were played almost exclusively in the Wimbledon half. Bizarrely the only shot on target in that time came at the other end as as a well-worked free kick ended with Matt Tubbs scuffing a shot at goal which Ryan Clarke needed to deal with.
The game then settled down into a little bit of cat and mouse as possession became king. Brian Howard, playing just behind James Roberts, started to pick holes and find runners while full backs Joe Riley and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis began to enjoy a little bit of space on the flanks. With Danny Rose spraying the ball around it was easy on the eye but only a Potter shot on 40 forced visiting keeper James Shea into real action.
Chances had been few and far between but within 20 seconds of the restart the Dons should have been a goal up as Jack Smith's cross was headed down by Adebayo Azeez but straight at the relieved Clarke five yards in front of him; the clearest chance of the whole game.
Statistically, United have scored more goals going towards the fence end this season and having had 60 per cent possession in the first half they had high hopes of finding the breakthrough in the second 45 minutes. Hylton almost achieved that on 54 with a flashing drive that went just wide but the on 58 there was a big setback as Roberts went down clutching his hamstring when chasing a long ball and his home debut ended early. A big loss for the U's and desperately disappointing for the teenage striker after three goals in his first two senior games.
Replacement Tyrone Barnett was involved in the best move of the second half, with a clever pass to set Riley galloping down the right but the full back's cross was slightly behind Hylton who got power on his shot but couldn't keep it down.
As you'd expect, the Wombles were neat and tidy and they did cause Clarke and his defence a few anxious moments with dangerous balls in towards much heralded strike duo Akinfenwa and Tubbs. Those two were coped with manfully by Wright and Mullins, determined to keep a second clean sheet in a row and with the excellent Andy Whing mopping up in front of them the U's rarely looked like losing the game.
No lack of effort from the U's, just one of those days were the ball didn't quite fall their way. Picking up a point from matches like that is not a bad habit to get into and both sides will look back on a point they earned the hard way.
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Report by Chris Williams, Pictures by Steve Daniels
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