Dons on the end of a demolition job – it’s time for experienced players to come back and guide youngsters in League One battle for survival

OXFORD UNITED 5
Taylor 32, 90+3 Holland 34, 55 Henry 50
AFC WIMBLEDON 0
BY LAURENCE LOWNE AT THE KASSAM STADIUMTime to file this result away as a once-in-a-decade occurrence and move on in a positive way
AFC Wimbledon manager Glyn Hodges apologised post-match for the performance and result.

“It’s an eye-opener, a wake-up call, and it tells us that you can’t rest on your laurels,” said the Dons boss.

“They had wave after wave of attacks and we didn’t have any answers.

“I still cannot get my head around it. One thing is for sure, we have to get it out of our system and move on to Saturday.”

One bright spot was second-half substitute Kwesi Appiah. He did much that was good and on another night would have sneaked home a goal from a shot eight yards out.

Hodges made four changes from the starting line up at Rotherham as he rotated his squad – few impressed on an awful evening.

Far too many of the goals on Tuesday night came about from poorly defended crosses.

There are two ways to deal with crosses – stop them coming in or, better still, cut off the supply line.

The Dons did neither and the result was a scoreline only equalled by York City in Conference National days in April 2010.

Goalkeeper Joe Day was the visitors’ standout performer. That may sound strange after conceding five goals – but without his saves it could have been eight, such was Oxford’s dominance.

Let’s be clear, Oxford are a good side, and perhaps the best passing opposition Wimbledon have faced twice this season.

They simply outpassed the Dons, who lacked a midfielder to get in their faces and break up play.

Max Sanders and Anthony Hartigan need someone a little more direct and prepared to do the naughty work to win the ball back.

None of Julien Lamy, Shane McLaughlin or Nesta Guinness-Walker are going to do that – they are simply not that type of player, add in Mitch Pinnock, and the team perhaps look too attack minded?

Young Jack Rudoni, who is capable of unlocking a defence with a well-executed pass, is also able to to some tackling and tracking.

Tracking was sadly lacking on Tuesday evening, and that left the defence over exposed.

Defenders hate a player running at them with speed and clear intent – that happened too often.

Wimbledon also picked up just one booking, dare one suggest this team are too nice?

There will be hard work demanded on the training ground before Blackpool visit tomorrow.

Maybe an old-style approach to matches is the recipe the management team are seeking, as they balance youth with the few fit experienced players in the squad – Callum Reilly adds a bit of bite to midfield, and hopefully he will be fit to resume duties on Saturday.

Wimbledon cannot rely on one player. It has got to be a collective success story – much like the Plough Lane Bond, which has topped the massive £5million target.

Hodges need his experienced players to stay fit and help organise the younger players and keep them focused.

It is time for Anthony Wordsworth, Scott Wagstaff, Luke O’Neill and Reilly to be the beating heart of the team and lead the side to mid table.

AFC Wimbledon (3-4-3): Day 6, O’Neill 5, Thomas 4, Sorensen 4, Guinness-Walker 4, Lamy 4, Pinnock 5 (Appiah 56, 6), Pigott 5 (Roscrow 87), Hartigan 5, Sanders 4 (Wagstaff 56, 6), McLoughlin 5. Not used: Trott, McDonald, Rudoni, Osew.


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