OXFORD United earned back-to-back wins for the first time since August in a well-deserved victory over AFC Wimbledon at the Kassam Stadium.

Wes Thomas, Ricardinho and Xemi fired the hosts to a fifth league win and third in front of their home support.

The result was all that mattered in a Sky Bet League One encounter which failed to really catch the eye.

Three superb finishes in either half proved the difference, though, as United built on their fine victory over Peterborough United a week earlier.

Thomas showed power and pace to outmuscle two centre-halves and fire home his fifth goal of the season.

And it was 2-0 just minutes after break as Brazilian left-back Ricardinho popped up on the edge of the area to drive low past the despairing George Long.

Substitute Xemi then put the icing on the cake late on, slotting home on the rebound after James Henry saw his effort saved.

United made seven changes from the side which faced Brighton U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy during midweek.

But more notably just the one from the XI which beat Peterborough 4-1 seven days ago, with the injured Rob Hall missing out and Ryan Ledson returning to the centre of midfield.

The opening exchanges were not pretty on the eye, with the ball spending more time in the air than on the ground.

A wayward Ledson pass, which was intended cross-field for Christian Ribeiro, rather summed up the opening ten minutes.

But the midfielder’s next contribution in the 12th minute proved very effective.

Ledson won the ball in the centre and slipped a fine through ball to Thomas, who outmuscled Will Nightingale and Abdul-Yussuf Oshilaja, before firing low past goalkeeper Long.

United tried the same route just a minute later, but this time the Dons keeper was quickly off his line to smother.

Ledson was once again in the thick of the action on 15 minutes, but in his own area.

The 20-year-old put his body on the line to get in the way of Lyle Taylor’s powerful drive after the hosts struggled to clear a corner.

United endeavoured to dictate proceedings, but the encounter continued to be poor on the eye, with neither side able to make the most of possession.

And the hosts were let off the hook on 24 minutes as Ricardinho fluffed a clearance and Taylor fed George Francomb, who put the ball wide of Simon Eastwood’s left-hand post from ten yards.

It was a let-off for the U’s, who nearly benefited from a Dons error themselves, but James Henry was foiled by Long.

Dons were still creating chances, though, with Dean Parrott and Andy Barcham firing just wide.

But United had the final opportunity of the first half in the second minute of added-time.

Thomas’s headed clearance from a corner was kept in by a sliding Jack Payne, whose attempt to avoid a throw-in turned into a counter, but Francomb made a vital interception to prevent Henry racing clear.

However, two of the biggest moments of the match arrived just after the break.

Eastwood pulled off a stunning one-handed save to keep out Cody McDonald’s header from a Barry Fuller cross.

But United cleared the corner and were quickly down the other end.

The Dons struggled to clear a Henry cross and Ricardinho arrived on the edge of the area to thump the ball into the bottom corner.

It looked like the floodgates would open, with Dons all at sea, but the visitors should have replied on 54 minutes as Liam Trotter skewed wide from ten yards after Barcham nodded down a Fuller cross.

The visitors looked fragile in defence and Payne nearly got on the end of Nightingale’s under-hit pass-back, before they hurriedly cleared again as they were caught off-guard by Ricardinho’s quick throw-in.

United were rushing the visitors into mistake after mistake, with Ledson at the centre of the pressing.

Their next chance arrived on 74 minutes, when substitute Gino van Kessel’s backheel released Rothwell, but a poor first touch saw him go wide and Long denied the midfielder from a tight angle.

That was the Curacao international’s only contribution as he hobbled off with an ankle injury sustained in that move.

Meanwhile, the visitors’ poor afternoon was summed up when Taylor’s ferocious drive hit John Mousinho and rebounded back into his own face, flooring the Dons forward.

Xemi replaced van Kessel and the Spaniard marked his first league appearance with a goal on 84 minutes.

Henry was once again denied by Long, but the rebound fell for the midfielder who fired home from close range in front of the elated home fans.

Rothwell fired wide late on, but it did not matter as United, without putting on a masterclass, more than deserved the three points in a professional display.

Oxford Utd (4-4-1-1): Eastwood, Ribeiro, Nelson, Mousinho, Ricardinho, Henry, Ledson, Ruffels, Rothwell, Payne (Mowatt 70), Thomas (van Kessel 66 (Xemi 79)).

Unused subs: Shearer, Williamson, Martin, Roberts.

Booked: None.

Wimbledon (4-3-3): Long, Fuller, Nightingale, Oshilaja, Francomb, Parrett (Forrester 45), Soares (Kaja 77), Trotter, Taylor, McDonald (Charles 59), Barcham.

Unused subs: McDonnell, Robinson, Kennedy, Hartigan.

Booked: None.

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).

Attendance: 7,241 (542 visitors).