A stunning one-handed save from Simon Eastwood was the turning point in Oxford United’s 3-0 win over AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, according to U’s boss Pep Clotet.
Wes Thomas netted in back-to-back league games for the second time this season and first league goals from Ricardinho and Xemi secured United’s third 3-0 home win of the season.
But with the home side a goal up, Oxford stopper Eastwood pulled off a spectacular save to keep Cody McDonald out shortly after the break.
The resulting corner was cleared and moments later United doubled their lead when Ricardinho finished off a ruthless counter attack.
It was a pivotal moment in the match, and one the visitors failed to respond to.
Clotet said: “You can never defend everything and you always rely on the ability of the goalkeeper to defend the box and Easty did fantastic.
“The save helped us to start a counter attack, it was brilliantly executed and we’ve finished with a goal at the other end.
“That sets the game, especially because the goal is that early in the second half.”
Thomas scored his fifth goal of the season – as many as he scored last campaign – with a fine individual strike on 12 minutes, as United celebrated scoring before the break at home for the first time this year.
Substitute Xemi wrapped up the points and made it 3-0 with a rebounded effort five minutes from time.
Clotet was delighted to pick up back-to-back wins and build on the remarkable 4-1 demolition of Peterborough United following a three game winless streak last month.
He said: “Overall it was a fantastic performance. We managed to have lots of shots, dominated possession and defended very well.
“There’s still a of things to improve but coming from where we were [three successive defeats] the team has to take massive credit for that [the improvement].
“We are becoming a solid team but there’s plenty of room to improve. I’m happy at the minute because we’ve put in back-to-back victories.”
Oxford, up to 10th in the League One table after the comprehensive win, travel to 12th placed Bristol Rovers on Saturday before welcoming Charlton Athletic to the Kassam on Tuesday.