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Neal's verdict on Vale draw

25 January 2013

Boss praises "excellent" Dons display

Neal Ardley was full of praise for his Wimbledon side after they produced a battling display to hold the League 2 leaders.

Despite taking a 2-0 lead, the Dons were made to hang on for a point at the end after Port Vale produced an attacking demonstration that showed just why they are currently top of the pile.

Speaking to Dons Player, Neal Ardley saluted the defensive resilience that maintained Wimbledon’s unbeaten run in 2013 and offered renewed optimism that they can beat the drop.

“When you look at their second goal, it came from an individual error, but we are not going to go on about it as that happens,” he said. “The team was excellent tonight, particularly at the back as Mat Mitchel-King and Pim Balkestein put their bodies on the line.

“After the Wycombe game we thought that was two points dropped, but tonight is maybe a point gained. Obviously, we need more wins, but it keeps that momentum going. We cannot think that we are going along nicely though and we need to keep driving on. We are happy with the point and the performance, but we can get better.”

Neal Ardley took heart from his players being able to apply the tactics that they had worked upon to deny a Port Vale side with such attacking prowess.

“We had a game plan as you cannot go toe-to-toe with the league leaders,” he added. “We did our jobs really well in the first-half up until they scored and I think that was the crucial goal. We knew that they would really come at us in the second-half. Jim Fenlon was excellent at full-back. It was a big test for Jim and Chris Hussey as their wingers are very good. But the wide players in front of them also did very well.”

The Wimbledon manager said that Jonathan Meades was withdrawn during the second-half after complaining of dizziness. Striker Paul McCallum came off with a foot injury and he will be assessed tomorrow after leaving the Cherry Red Records Stadium on crutches.

The full video interview with Neal Ardley can be viewed on Dons Player.

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