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Shea earns special praise

8 November 2014

Goalkeeper saluted in Neal's post-match reaction

James Shea earned special praise from Neal Ardley after his goalkeeping heroics kept Wimbledon in the FA Cup.

The Dons produced a gritty display that pleased Wimbledon’s manager, but they needed Shea (pictured) to earn a replay with superb goalkeeping near the end.

Speaking to Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “Our goalkeeper was called upon to make what can only be described as a world class double save and our players got around him quickly to make sure the ball did not go in. James Shea is an outstanding goalkeeper and we have to make sure that he stays with us for a few years and that we develop him. James works well with Ashley Bayes (goalkeeping coach) and hard work on the training pitch gives him a chance to make saves like that.”

Neal praised his side for producing a much-improved display after a performance at Northampton last Saturday that fell well below the standards he expects. Frankie Sutherland and Ade Azeez were both brought into the side and the manager was pleased with their contributions.

“The players gave me everything that I asked of them,” added Neal. “We had the blow of going behind after the disappointment of last week, but we showed character. I asked them to be brave by wanting the ball and passing it and I thought we showed those qualities. We had to dig in near the end.

“We had a chat with the players about how we had been playing and actions speak louder than words. They did very well today and now we have to continue that. If someone had said beforehand that we would still be in the hat for the next round then I think we would have wanted that.

“I thought for Frankie’s debut at this level it was an excellent performance from him. He did all the things that the game demanded and passed it well when he had the opportunity. We wanted that pace from Ade and I thought he was a real threat. In the first-half he looked like he would get in constantly. In the second-half it became harder, but we had a couple of other good forwards to bring on too.”

Neal Ardley confirmed afterwards that Andy Frampton was withdrawn after suffering an injury to the ankle that he fractured in the summer and he will be assessed in the coming days.

Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley tonight and an interview with James Shea will follow tomorrow.

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