An Oxford United U23 side that mixed youth and experience fell to a 4-1 defeat to AFC Wimbledon this afternoon at the training ground.
With experience on their side, United started the game in control and winger Oussama Zamouri had the first opportunity to break the deadlock as he found space in the area but his effort was pushed wide by the Wimbledon goalkeeper.
Dan Agyei then showed good pace to get past the fullback and took the ball into the penalty area but again the Wimbledon goalkeeper stood strong and parried the forward’s shot. Rob Hall was the next to test the goalkeeper as he picked the ball up on the edge of the area, shifted the ball onto his left and fired in a low shot looking for the bottom right corner. The goalkeeper looked troubled but the effort flashed just wide.
The best move of the half came on 18 as Kyran Lofthouse, playing as United’s right back, sprung forward to link up with Hall. The winger took the ball and tricked his way into the area before showing good composure to pick out Zamouri in the area but the forward couldn’t keep his effort down as his strike sailed comfortably over.
A superb pass from Baptiste set United on the attack again 30 minutes into the game when his diagonal pass was met by Zamouri who in turn found Hall on the edge of the area. Once again, Hall shifted the ball onto his left and tried to bend one into the corner but it was deflected behind.
One-way traffic it seemed for United, who had 12 shots on goal to Wimbledon’s one, but the side were left rueing their missed chances as on 38 the visitors took an unlikely lead. A cross wasn’t dealt with by the U’s and Zach Robinson flicked a header beyond Jack Stevens to open the scoring.
It got worse two minutes later when a freekick from wide left was swung in again, finding the head of Robinson who bundled the ball in for his second of the game to end a frustrating first half for the U'd who had dominated but were 2-0 down.
A quick start was what United needed and that’s what they got seven minutes into the second half. Hall picked out Sam Long from a corner who powered in a header unmarked to half the deficit.
United pushed for an equaliser and had a good opportunity from a freekick but Hall's effort lacked the power it needed, and the ball was gathered by the Wimbledon goalkeeper.
Having wasted cahnces to get back on level terms United were undone by another set piece just over 20 minutes from time. A deep cross from a corner wasn’t dealt with and was bundled in by Tommy Wood for Wimbledon’s third and from a freekick 15 minutes from time the visitors grabbed their fourth through Anthony Hartigan from a freekick 25 yards from goal which he curledinto the corner.
It was therefore four set pieces which undid United but plenty of valuable minutes were gained by the likes of Hall, Baptiste, Agyei, Long and Zamouri with trialists Jem Kalakan and Malik Dijksteel and several younger players all involved
UNITED: Stevens, Lofthouse, Long (Milton), Jones, Berkoe (Sade), Dijksteel (Chambers-Parillon), Baptiste (Heap), Karakan (Sole), Zamouri (Lopes), Agyei, Hall (James)
Sub unused: Harris
Meanwhile United's under 16 and 17s were also in action on an adjoining pitch, enjoying a comfortable win over their Oxford City counterparts.
Report by Liam Potter