A George Baldock strike ten minutes from time gave Oxford United a third win in a row in Sky Bet League 2 to lift them into the top three. Baldock's low strike capped a great week for the U's and was enough to edge them home against a Wimbledon side who pushed them all the way.
It was a bright open game right from the start, with Sam Slocombe making a good save from Adebayo Azeez in the fifth minute and United using the flanks to good effect, with Jordan Graham continuing where he had left off against Swindon in midweek and Kemar Roofe was a constant danger. There wasn't quite the passion or atmosphere of Tuesday but there was much to admire and at least this time there were two evenly matched teams in the opening 45 minutes.
The Dons had not come to sit back and frustrate, with top scorer Azeez firing in a 23rd-minute shot that was blocked by Jake Wright but at the other end it took United half an hour to turn their good play into a goal threat, Johnny Mullins sending a corner back across goal and Danny Hylton flicking a header goalwards that forced visiting keeper James Shea to save at full stretch. However they had grown into the game and the second quarter of the match had been Oxford dominated.
The second half started with a little more intensity and the U's should have been ahead on 52 after Roofe had tricked his way to the edge of the box and Taylor had nudged the ball on for Liam Sercombe, who crashed his shot against the bar from ten yards.
It was the clearest opening of the match and at that stage Wimbledon were dropping deeper and deeper. A Graham cross on the hour flashed across the six yard box with three United players unable to reach it but the U's were never able to relax, especially with the unmistakable Adebayo Akinfenwa on as a sub. The big man didn't take long to get on the end of a cross and almost find the opener with a poked effort that looped over the bar on 72. Dannie Bulman, still full of running in midfield, then rolled back the years by hassling his way through and thumping the ball into the car park. Another former United player, Sean Rigg, followed suit on 77, but with ten minutes left Baldock gave his side the win with a great strike.
Roofe clipped the ball to the right back who had drifted infield after spending most of the second half overlapping on the outside. Wimbledon dropped off and invited the shot and the on loan MK Dons man obliged with a low shot that arrowed into the bottom left corner with Shea helpless.
Baldock deserved the goal for a typical performance full of energy on the right but also for his part in a mean-looking defence that kept its second clean sheet in a week. The first of those, a win over Swindon, will be the one the fans remember. This one was more important.
Fifty 50 winning number 409700 wins £1,090
Report by Chris Williams, Pictures by Steve Daniels
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