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Neal hails "resilient" Dons

26 March 2014

Manager's reaction after late equaliser

Neal Ardley said that Wimbledon’s battling draw at Northampton highlighted the strength of his squad after they defied the odds with 10 men to earn a draw.

With Danny Hylton ruled out through illness and Darren Jones (elbow) and Kevin Sainte-Luce (hamstring) also missing, Wimbledon were shorn of key players, but they still had enough to earn a 2-2 draw at Sixfields Stadium.

“Credit to the boys because it shows the strength in our squad that we can miss those players and still put out a team to get a result,” Neal told Dons Player. “We are still striving to finish as high as we possibly can. I think 54 points is the most we have got in the league. We want to try and top that and say that it has been AFC Wimbledon’s best season in the league.

minute on Saturday, and the same again tonight. I would be stunned if our fans did not go home proud tonight. The players scrapped for absolutely everything.”th minute at Burton, the 96th“We scored in the 97

Of course, the Dons had to play for over an hour with 10 men after Jack Midson’s red card for handball and Neal reckoned it was a thoroughly deserved point.

“We did not deserve to lose,” added the Wimbledon manager. “We started brilliantly and could have been 2-0 up early on. It was just unfortunate that Ross Worner’s punch went back towards the goal and there is nothing you can say or do about what happened afterwards. When Jack came off he said that he did not handball it, but it hit his hand. There’s a difference between the two, but it has stopped a goal scoring opportunity.

“All I could control after that is what we did tactically and I thought we were brilliant. We limited them to very little in the second-half and if we had lost that game it would have been very unfortunate. We pressed them, we were resilient, and the players did everything that we set them up to do at half-time.

“They got a deflected goal in the second-half and we could have felt sorry for ourselves, but we switched to 3-4-2 and kept going forward. We did not have another forward so we put Chris Arthur up top with Luke and kept going. Sammy, who has been at the club a long time, scored the equaliser and we thoroughly deserved something from the game.”

Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview on Dons Player.

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