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Neal hails Torquay win

1 January 2013

Dons boss on a crucial victory

Neal Ardley believes that Wimbledon’s last-gasp win at Torquay could be a turning point in the club’s season.

Though Wimbledon are still bottom of League 2, the Wimbledon manager said that his side displayed all the battling qualities they will need if they are to move away from the relegation zone.

Speaking to Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “Today was vital for us and that last minute could be a major turning point in our season,” he said. “On a terrible pitch, the boys dug deep and got the result. They nearly threw it away, but my team talk changed in that last two minutes. It is a credit to the boys that they lost the lead twice and still came back and won it. That was brilliant for us.

“With the pitch the way it was, we knew it was never going to be a game when you could attempt to string passes together. We had to work hard and play the percentages. Though we started brightly, we had a spell when we got a lot of things wrong. In our shape, I thought we were too open and one or two players were not contributing enough. We made a couple of changes at half-time to make us more compact. I thought we defended well and Neil Sullivan made a great one-on-one save. I thought it was a clear-cut penalty for us. Jason Prior should have had one earlier as he was smashed from behind when going for a header. It was justice and for us fighting at the bottom, it was a stroke of luck that we needed.”

Neal Ardley praised centre-backs Mat Mitchel-King and Pim Balkestein for their defensive performances, especially as both had not started a League 2 game for so long.

“It was not easy for Mat and Pim because they had not had a lot of game-time,” he added. “But they both came in and did exceptionally well. Mat has also popped up with a goal so I hope he enjoyed that. It is great to have players like Brendan Kiernan and Jason Prior back as well because they have not been available. Mat and Pim have been out for a long time too. Hopefully, we can add a couple more and get some consistency.”

The full video interview with Neal Ardley can be viewed on Dons Player and we will also tomorrow feature the thoughts of Mat Mitchel-King on his heroic return to first-team action.

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