Pep’s on a high but Ard­ley is in a rage

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By James Roberts

PEP Clotet in­sists that when Ox­ford score first they are al­most un­stop­pable in League One af­ter his side swept Wim­ble­don aside.

Wes Thomas got the party started at the Kas­sam Sta­dium with a su­perb cen­tre-for­ward’s goal, be­fore left-back Ri­cardinho and Xemi Fer­nan­dez put gloss on the win af­ter half-time.

It was the sec­ond time in a week that the U’s have won by three goals in the league, and Clotet was un­der­stand­ably elated with his play­ers’ ef­forts.

“It’s not easy to play Wim­ble­don, they have a good track record against Ox­ford and they are a team that de­fend very well,” he said.

“So for us there were a lot of dif­fi­cul­ties we had to over­come to dom­i­nate the game and we did it, the play­ers did the job right.

“When we had to de­fend, they did it with pur­pose and with a view to win the ball and counter-at­tack.

“We haven’t scored first for five games and we have a feel­ing that ev­ery time we start strong and we score in the first half, we nor­mally find it a lit­tle bit eas­ier to play our foot­ball.”

Thomas sparked the game into life af­ter 12 min­utes. The striker had no sup­port when found by Ryan Led­son’s through ball, but he out­mus­cled Barry Fuller and Deji Oshi­laja be­fore fir­ing into Ge­orge Long’s left-hand cor­ner.

Neal Ard­ley’s side fin­ished the first half the stronger how­ever as Ge­orge Fran­comb slid an ef­fort past Si­mon East­wood’s left-hand post, but sec­onds af­ter half-time Ox­ford dou­bled their lead.

Thomas’s per­sis­tence pre­vented the Dons de­fence from clear­ing James Henry’s chipped cross and Ri­cardinho fired into an empty net.

And Fer­nan­dez added in­sult to in­jury with five min­utes to go, driv­ing home from close range af­ter Long had par­ried Henry’s ef­fort, leav­ing Wim­ble­don boss Ard­ley dis­gusted af­ter four league games with­out a win.

He said: “It’s not good enough. I stick up for the team the last six games when re­sults haven’t gone our way.

“We talked about a poor run of form and I said we were play­ing well, the re­sults just weren’t hap­pen­ing, but I can’t de­fend that.

“I was hav­ing to shout at play­ers to play with more in­ten­sity 20 min­utes in and that hurts, that’s dis­ap­point­ing, be­cause for six games that hasn’t been the case.

“Then we give away what can only be de­scribed as aw­ful, aw­ful goals. When you’re strug­gling to net, the last thing you want to do is chase games.”

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