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Oxford Utd 2 (Newey 39, Connolly 56) AFC Wimbledon 1 (Wyke 74)
DAVID Connolly came off the bench to enjoy a memorable debut as his goal gave Oxford United victory over AFC Wimbledon.
The experienced striker, signed on deadline day, showed a touch of class to lift the ball over goalkeeper Ross Worner from 25 yards with his first chance in a yellow shirt.
Connolly lifted United, who had been short of their best despite going in ahead at the break thanks to Tom Newey's header.
Charlie Wyke pulled a goal back to make the final stages more uncomfortable than they might have been, but United held on.
Coming a week after winning 1-0 against Torquay United, it was the first time they had won successive home games since August 2012.
There was some doubt over the game going ahead, but the pitch passed a precautionary inspection in the morning.
It was playable, but heavy, and a gusty wind contributed to difficult playing conditions.
Wimbledon, playing into the breeze in the first half, did not seem to have too many problems, though, as they made a bright start.
Danny Hylton headed Barry Fuller's fourth-minute cross wide, while Ryan Clarke saved Sammy Moore's free-kick shortly afterwards.
United made one enforced change, with Matt Bevans making a first league start in place of the injured Michael Raynes.
New signing Connolly had to make do with a place on the bench, where Dave Kitson also returned to the squad after injury.
It was Mickey Lewis' first home game in caretaker charge and he will not have been pleased with a sluggish first half display.
The hosts had difficulty getting out of their own half in the first 20 minutes.
Things improved slightly as the half wore on, but it took until just after the half hour mark for them to forge a meaningful attempt on goal.
Sean Rigg, again looking out of sorts on the right before picking up an injury, cut in off the flank and curled a cross for Josh Ruffels to head just wide.
When United took the lead six minutes before the break, it came via a helping hand from Wimbledon.
Bevans got forward on the right, but his hesitancy in crossing allowed Harry Pell to shepherd the ball towards the goal line. Inexplicably, the midfielder touched it out, conceding a corner.
From the set piece Danny Rose whipped in a delivery which was perfect for Newey's run and the full back headed in at the near post.
Despite the lead, United had looked below par.
Lewis responded at the break by bringing on Connolly for Rigg, which had a dramatic effect.
The striker, signed on loan from Portsmouth 24 hours earlier, took just 11 minutes to announce himself to the home fans.
Constable laid off to Ruffles on the halfway line and the midfielder instantly played a through ball for Connolly.
He may be 36, but the veteran showed an impressive turn of pace to get between two defenders, before expertly lobbing the onrushing Worner.
The ex-Republic of Ireland international's introduction had an impact on his new teammates, who also looked brighter.
Constable quickly showed good strength to hold off two players and tee up Smalley, who lashed a shot just wide with Worner well beaten.
Wimbledon boss made attacking changes, but the home side were in control until a defensive mistake 16 minutes from time.
David Hunt's attempted header back to Clarke fell for Wyke, who bundled in on the rebound after the goalkeeper had saved the first effort.
It was the first league goal United had conceded in 2014 and set up a tense finish.
Wimbledon pushed hard, particularly in five minutes added on, but the home side held on for a precious victory.
Oxford Utd: Clarke, Bevans, Hunt, Mullins, Newey, Rigg (Connolly ht), Wroe, Rose, Ruffels, Smalley, Constable (Kitson 82).
Unused subs: Henly, Davies, Marsh, Long, O'Dowda.
Wimbledon: Worner, Jones, Antwi (Arthur 65), Bennett, Fuller, S Moore, Morris (Midson 79), Pell, Fenlon (Sainte-Luce 65), Wyke, Hylton.
Unused subs: Brown, L Moore, Sheringham, Francomb.
Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex).
Attendance: 5,748 (693 visitors).
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