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Neal: Dons were better side

15 February 2014

Post-match reaction from the Wimbledon manager

Neal Ardley felt that defeat was harsh on his side at Fratton Park today and that AFC Wimbledon played the better football for long spells.

The Wimbledon manager praised his side for their overall play in the narrow 1-0 defeat, but he was disappointed that his players “switched-off” for Ryan Taylor’s second-half winner.

Speaking to Dons Player, Neal said: “The boys were brave and they gave us all the things that we had worked on in training, but we lost the game and that’s hard to take. We restored a little bit of pride at the same time. You only have to look at how many goal attempts that they had and they did not open us up or create anything. The disappointing thing was that at half-time we told the players that the only way that they would score is if we allowed them to get a cross into the box and they could do something with their height. Five minutes later that’s what happened for the goal.

“We switched off and we got punished for it. We controlled the first-half and were the better team throughout. They never looked like scoring, but credit to them because they ground out the win and threw bodies in the way near the end. We had one cleared off the line and I don’t think their player knew anything about it.”

Neal saluted Wimbledon’s fans for their excellent backing on the day with 2,000 supporters packing into the away end at Fratton Park.

“Our fans were phenomenal, they always are away from home,” Neal added. “I’m gutted that we could not give them a win, but I take positives from the performance. It’s a results industry, but I hope that the fans can take heart from a decent away display.

“We have to get away from saying that we were unlucky and we have to be better. We will strive to do that next week. The top teams in this league are resilient and do the right things, but we switched off and we paid for that.”

Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley and the thoughts of captain Alan Bennett later this weekend.

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