OXFORD United’s position in the Sky Bet League One table allowed a more creative approach against AFC Wimbledon, according to midfielder Mark Sykes.

Karl Robinson’s side have been grinding out results to climb away from trouble in recent weeks.

But with their third tier status for next season all-but rubber-stamped, they were able to show more flair against a Dons side who are still in the mire.

Also read: AFC Wimbledon boss lauds goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale

It led to United playing some of their best football for a while, but despite creating plenty of chances, no-one could make the breakthrough.

Sykes, one of four players brought into the starting line-up, said: “I think the run we’ve been on allowed us to play with that bit of freedom.

“I thought we did really well, but the end product wasn’t there and we didn’t end up winning the game, which was disappointing.

“We created a lot of chances and I don’t think Easty (U’s goalkeeper Simon Eastwood) had much to do.

“You have to put them away at the end of the day and we didn’t, but I think it was a positive performance.”

It was only Sykes’s fifth start since signing from Glenavon in January.

Also read: Karl Robinson upbeat despite Oxford United's draw against AFC Wimbledon

And it was the first time he had been in the XI alongside Gavin Whyte, with whom he had played as a schoolboy in Northern Ireland.

The pair linked up well and U’s supporters will be looking forward to seeing the combination flourish, both in the run-in and next season.

Sykes said: “We’ve known each other quite a long time and know each other’s strengths.

“There was a time where both of us broke and I just said ‘take it’ because I know he’s quicker than me.

“I love playing with Gav, he’s a good player and brings something different than a lot of wingers in this league.”