James Constable was back in business big-style at the Kassam Stadium last night to fire Oxford United six points clear at the top.

The U's top scorer hit a goal in each half to take his tally for the season to 21 in a resounding victory for Chris Wilder's men.

The only surprise was that they didn't win by a bigger margin, because they had more than enough chances.

Constable had gone six games without a goal and at times in previous games his frustration had shown.

But the talismanic centre forward got back in the swing of it with one of his trademark fierce strikes in the 14th minute, and they banged in a second ten minutes from time from close range after his first shot had been blocked.

Fans left the ground buzzing, though, about Deering's dynamic display. Wimbledon simply couldn't contain him.

Constable's first goal came almost out of nothing when he found a yard of space on the edge of the box, and pulled the trigger with his trusty right foot. The ball was past keeper James Pullen and into the bottom right corner of the goal before he knew it.

That was Constable's first goal since the 4-0 win at Grays on January 23.

In the second half, with Wimbledon having Jay Conroy sent off for a professional foul on the outstanding Sam Deering, there was little doubt that Oxford would reel off therir third successive league win. Who needs the FA Trophy?

Wilder made the expected five changes, and also dropped Damian Batt, with Adam Chapman taking over at right back.

New loan striker John Grant, signed earlier in the day, was on the bench.

Wimbledon brought excellent support, both in numbers - their 743 following was the second biggest in the league at the Kassam Stadium this season - and their vocal support.

The first thing that struck you when they walked out was what a big team they are, surely one of the tallest in the division.

But it was the smallest player on the pitch, Sam Deering, who then caught the eye ashe started weaving his magic on the right.

Corners immediately provided a problem for Wimbledon.

From United's first, in the second minute from Simon Clist, was met by Constable peeling away at the near post, but he could only direct it over.

Three minutes later, Oxford played a corner short from the other side, and Deering's cross was missed by goalkeeper James Pullen, leaving Rhys Day with a free header which he could only have seen very late, because this two was planted over.

The effervescent Deering got round the back of the visitors' defence and cut the ball back for Constable, who hit it well enough, yet Pullen beat it out.

The match was being played at a fast tempo, with the Dons neat in their passing and always supporting the front men.

Had it not been for a poor first touch, Danny Kedwell would have had a clean shot on goal, but as it was Ryan Clarke got their first and the ball ricocheted off the striker for a goal kick.

At the other end, Pullen didn't know what to do when Deering curled an inswinging free-kick over from the left.

Day was in the same mode when the Dons floated over a dangerous cross. Four yards out, and under pressure in front of his own goal, he headed against his own bar.

Billy Turley took over from Clarke for the second half, Clarke having a dead leg following a hefty collision.

Attacking now towards their fans, United were inpsired.

Deering hit the outside of a post with a free-kick cleverly bent around near side of the wall to fool the goalkeeper in a move straight off the training ground, and Matt Green should have scored - twice.

He sliced wide when the keeper parried from Clist, and then burst into the area from the right, but somehow scooped his shot over the angle of post and bar with the keeper looking beaten.

But just before the hour, Deering was knocked over by Jay Conroy as he made a bee-line for goal, and although it was outside the box, it was a clear goalscoring opportunity, so that meant a red card for Conroy.

Tonkin curled the resulting free-kick around the wall, only to be denied by another fine save.

Grant, signed on loan from Aldershot until the end of the season, came on for the last 13 minutes, taking over from Matt Green, and he almost marked his debut with a goal, heading just over from four yards.

Oxford Utd: Clarke 7 (Turley h-t, 6), Chapman 7 (Batt 89), Day 7, Wright 7, Tonkin 7, Deering 9*, Bulman 7, Hargreaves 8, Clist 8, Constable 9, M Green 7 (Grant 77). Subs not used: Creighton, Cain. Booked: none AFC Wimbledon: Pullen 8, Hatton 6, Lorraine 7, Judge 6, Blanchett 6, Taylor 6 (Conroy 22, 5), Gregory 7, Hendry 6 (Wellard 77), Poole 5, Elder 6 (Main 63, 6), Kedwell 6. Subs not used: Sent off: Conroy. Booked: Poole.

Referee: Rob Lewis (Shropshire) 8 Att: 6,250 (743 from Wimbledon).