John O'Flynn bags a brace in Exeter City's win over AFC Wimbledon
Exeter City maintained their unbeaten start to the League Two season with a superb 2-0 win against AFC Wimbledon with Irishman John O’Flynn bagging both of the Grecians’ goals.
The Grecians won the points after a brilliant first half performance in which they could have had more than the two goals they managed. The second half was more even, but after the disappointment of last season’s home form, two wins from the first two home fixtures of this campaign had everyone leaving St James’ Park in good spirits.
The Grecians went into the game wearing their third kit of yellow and blue and with several injury doubts. When the team sheets arrived, it was no surprise to see changes to the team that drew at Mansfied Town last weekend.
Aaron Dawson came in at right-back for the injured Jordan Moore-Taylor, while there was a new-look central midfield pairing with Scot Bennett and Liam Sercombe also unfit.
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Matt Oakley made a timely return to the side and he was partnered by Matt Grimes; the first year professional being handed his full debut for the Grecians. He did not disappoint either and City’s old and young midfield pairing ran the show, especially in that first half.
Grimes’ first touch was to deliver a superb cross in the opening minute which Dave Wheeler narrowly failed to reach and Wheeler then crossed for O’Flynn, who missed a great chance to open the scoring as he headed over from close range.
However, the deadlock was broken on 11 minutes when City worked the ball beautifully down the right. Dawson’s cross was flicked on by Parkin to O’Flynn, who turned and lashed a shot into the far corner with the aide of a deflection.
It was no more than the Grecians deserved though after a superb start. They should have gone 2-0 up when O’Flynn latched onto a poor backpass, but after rounding Ross Warner, he failed to get a decent connection with his shot and the Dons were able to clear.
Wimbledon’s first chance fell to Luke Moore, but his header deflected over the Grecians’ crossbar and Pat Baldwin saw a long-range shot for Exeter deflect wide after more excellent pressure from City.
A Wimbledon counter attack ended with Michael Smith headed over from George Porter’s pinpoint cross and seconds later, it was 2-0 as Krysiak set City away with a super quick throw, Wheeler outran Callum Kennedy and crossed for O’Flynn to tap home.
It was as good a counter as you will see, quick incisive and well finished by the Irishman, but the run from Wheeler really was top class. It was an early goal of the season contender for sure.
The Grecians started the second half slowly and took time to get into the stride. Matt Oakley smashed a free kick high and wide after it had been won by O’Flynn, while Parkin was denied by a fine Worner save low down to his right from Woodman’s cross.
Davies was then denied by Worner once again as Exeter took the corner quickly and from the resulting corner, Danny Coles headed wide.
O’Flynn was replaced by Liam Sercombe just before the hour mark and his first involvement was to shoot narrowly wide, with the ball taking a deflection.
Davies then latched onto Parkin’s flick to bear down on goal, but Worner saved again with his legs before Luke Moore saw a shot loop high into the air and land on the roof of the Exeter goal. From the corner, Woodman kept his nerve to head off the line from Andy Frampton’s header.
Wimbledon were enjoying their best spell of the game and City lost Sercombe to a recurrence of his injury just nine minutes after his introduction. O’Flynn’s departure seemed to disrupt Exeter and Harry Pell should have reduced the arrears, only to sky high from six yards out for the Dons.
Alan Gow, an 85th minute substitute for the superb Wheeler, fired straight at Worner with a quickly-taken free kick, while Baldwin came to City’s rescue with a brilliant off the line clearance after Krysiak had missed a Woodman back pass.
Davies, Parkin and Coles all had chances to wrap up the points for Exeter late on with decent chances before Krysiak redeemed himself with a superb save to deny Luke Moore and then Frampton.
Exeter City (4-4-2): Krysiak; Dawson, Baldwin, Coles, Woodman; Wheeler (Gow 85), Oakley, Grimes, Davies; Parkin, O’Flynn (Sercombe 58, Doherty 67). Substitutes (not used): Pym (gk), Reid, Gosling, Keohane.
Goals: O’Flynn 11, 35
Bookings: Coles, Doherty.
AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Worner; Fuller, Bennett (Weston 39), Frampton, Kennedy; Porter (Francomb h-t), Pell, Sweeney, Smith; Midson (Sheringham 58), L Moore. Substitutes (not used): Brown (gk), Moore, Fenlon, Arthur.
Bookings: Pell, L Moore.
Referee: G Horwood.
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