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Neal: we gave everything

20 December 2014

Post-match reaction from Wimbledon manager

Neal Ardley said he could not fault his players for effort after Wimbledon slipped to a frustrating defeat at the hands of Mansfield.

Speaking to Dons Player, Neal felt that his side created enough chances to have taken something from the game and he was far from despondent about the overall performance.

“Conceding a goal early in the second-half made it hard for us,” said Neal. “The first half was scrappy. They started with a 3-5-2 and we played too narrow to start with. We did not have any width to get any passing going because of that. It suited them because they had two strong forwards holding it up. We lost Bayo early on and he plays a pivotal part in us getting hold of the ball. We struggled in the first half, but we changed it at half-time and got more width into our play.

“We felt the game would go the way it did in the second half and that the chances would fall if we kept going. What we did not expect to be doing was chasing the game and that made it easier for them. Even though they had 10 men, they had three big centre backs who knew how to defend the box well. They threw themselves at everything and you have to give them credit for that. On another day we could have had a couple of goals with the chances that we created.

“The players did everything I asked of them in the second half. They were patient and moved the ball better, but we lacked that bit of quality and finishing touch. Their goalkeeper also made great saves. I cannot fault the effort of the players.”

Neal showed support for Jake Goodman after the young defender’s lapse let in Mansfield for what turned out to be the winner.

“Jake has been absolutely fantastic since he came here,” added Neal. “He was immense in the two previous games. We all rallied around him afterwards. He’s a young lad who needs our support. I asked him to be brave and he’s tried to head it back to the goalkeeper rather than hack it clear. We will certainly not put any blame on him because we all lose together.”

Dons Player subscribers can now watch Neal Ardley’s full post-match reaction and an interview with Harry Pell will follow tomorrow.

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