JORDAN Thorniley insisted Oxford United will be stronger for the experience after falling to a frustrating defeat at AFC Wimbledon.

The U’s were leading 1-0 at half-time through Mark Sykes’s goal, putting them on course for a first away win in Sky Bet League One that would have put them top of the table.

But United conceded three times in the second half – twice from set-pieces and then on the counter-attack – to fall to seventh instead.

It came four days after Cambridge United scored from three corners against the U’s, while Bolton Wanderers’ winner in their 2-1 victory a fortnight ago was via the same route.

Verdict: Oxford United can't keep falling short in key areas

Thorniley is well aware United must improve from set-pieces, but says they have plenty of time with 40 matches left this season.

The centre back said: “We’ve got to do better, we’ve conceded a few goals from set-pieces this season and it’s something we need to work on.

“The team are going to grow.

“It’s another aspect we’ve got to learn from if we’re going to be a good team and challenge.

“It’s all a learning curve and we’ll only get better.”

The 24-year-old added: “It’s better to be able to learn after five or six games than with six games to go, when it’s the business end of the season.

“Even though it’s a negative, we’ll learn from the situation.”

Set-pieces played a big part at both ends, where there was pushing and shoving from both teams.

“You don’t want to risk giving a penalty away, because if they do give one you look like an idiot,” Thorniley added.

“It’s down to the officials to give the free-kicks, but if they give one they’ve got to give them all.

“There’s that much going on there would be four or five penalties a game.

“Or you don’t give any and that’s probably the approach they’ve taken.”