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AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

AFC Wimbledon verdict: Jolley may top the list of Dons exits as Ardley looks to strengthen

Monday, December 31, 2012
9.07 AM

League Two: AFC Wimbledon 0 Oxford United 3

The fact that Wimbledon fans were digging deep into their pockets on Saturday for a bucket collection to provide manager Neal Ardley with additional transfer funds in the January window underlines the depth of the Dons’ current plight.

Wimbledon hit rock bottom on Saturday – now occupying 92nd and last place of the proud pantheon of Football League clubs. The Dons are proud of their astonishing nine year rise from deep within non-League to join the elite, and plans as to their long term future – including a move back to Wimbledon – are surely being put on hold at present as all funds head towards preserving their League Two status.

“I’ve defended the players in the past, but I’m certainly not going to today” fumed Ardley after Wimbledon crashed 3-0 at home to mid-table Oxford, their eighth home defeat in twelve games this season. “We need lots of warriors in this team, and there’s too many of my players who I don’t think are in this fight. If they can’t take on information and can’t realise what they need to do on the pitch then they shouldn’t be playing for us.

“Oxford’s two centre-halves bullied our centre-forwards in the first half, their centre-forwards bullied our centre-halves. It’s not a great platform to start from. It won’t be easy, but we need to win ten games before the end of the season.”

First to exit the Wimbledon door in order to free up space for new signings is likely to be winger Christian Jolley, mercurial in a five game loan spell for Newport County, but an irrelevant substitute on Saturday.

“There’s a couple of clubs sniffing around Jolls, and if it’s the right thing for him and he’s not going to be a regular starter here, then there is a chance that he will move on” added the Wimbledon manager.

Wimbledon gained many plaudits for the way they played at Milton Keynes at the start of the month in a televised FA Cup game, but that has been comfortably their best recent performances in recent weeks. Given the choice between beating their Buckinghamshire rivals or remaining in the League, Dons fans wouldn’t have to take long to come to a quick judgement.

Oxford dominated the first half and swept into a two goal lead with a close range finish from Sean Rigg and a header from the superb Alfie Potter, previously on loan at AFC Wimbledon. The home side rallied at the start of the second period and were unlucky not to get a goal back, but Oxford hit a suckerpunch third on the break, Tom Craddock steering past Neil Sullivan after a horrible backpass header by Stacy Long.

AFC Wimbledon: Sullivan, Osano, Antwi, Mambo, Cummings, Yusseff (Jolley), Ajala (Kiernan), Long, Meades, Midson, McCallum (Prior)

Attendance 4,401 (745 from Oxford)

Man of the match: Toby Ajala