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Neal's verdict after Torquay

3 August 2013

Dons boss is encouraged by new-look side

praised his side’s defensive resilience after Wimbledon came tantalisingly close to earning all three points at Plainmoor today.Neal Ardley 

minute opener, but Aaron Downes ruined Wimbledon’s day in deflected 87Harry Pell’sThe Dons appeared set for victory at Torquay today after

However, Wimbledon conceded 75 goals during 2012/13 and Neal Ardley took positives from his side’s much-improved display at the back.

“We had to show a lot of resilience today,” Neal said. “We passed the ball well in pre-season, but I had a feeling today that the lads might have a few nerves about conceding a goal through sloppy play. We were therefore a little more apprehensive in our play and were more direct than in pre-season. Overall, though we were a lot better defensively and it was our first test. We looked like a team out there and I thought we defended well.

“Torquay came at us and caused us problems, but I thought we weathered those spells. I am pleased with the way that we are shaping up as a team, but you are always going to be disappointed when you concede a late goal. I think that overall a draw was a fair result though.”

display up front after he was handed an immediate chance to make an impression after joining on loan from Charlton in midweek.Michael Smith’sNeal Ardley was particularly impressed with 21-year-old

could all be in the starting 11 and that is a great situation to have.”Chris Arthur and Charlie Sheringham, Jack Midson, Sammy Moore, Jim Fenlon“Michael is beating himself up in the changing room because he missed a one-on-one chance early on,” added Neal. “But I thought it was a very good debut from him. In the first-half Michael had a lot of balls in the air to deal with when he was a bit isolated up there, but he did very well. We decided beforehand that we would freshen it up around the 60-70 minute mark. When you look at the bench the likes of

Dons Player subscribers can watch Neal’s video interview later this weekend, along with the thoughts of goalscorer Harry Pell and Callum Kennedy.

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