Manager praises work ethic
Neal Ardley praised his side’s character after they battled back to earn a creditable point at Cheltenham Town.
Though the Dons had chances to snatch victory, Neal saluted a first Wimbledon point at Whaddon Road since February, 2012.
Speaking to Rob Cornell during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “In the first-half they caused us problems. They had not scored many goals lately so they wanted to put that right and played a 3-4-3. Bryon Harrison was a handful and they really attacked us. We conceded a sloppy early goal, but we responded well and grew into the game. We got better in the first-half and produced good play going forward.
“Our work ethic was good in the second-half and we solved problems that we had faced in the first-half. I thought only one team was going to win it and the big man (Bayo Akinfenwa) was beating himself up afterwards; it was an unbelievable run and he skewed his shot wide. We had two or three other chances, but it was a good point at a place where it’s always tough to get a result. I think supporters of this club saw 11 players giving everything for the cause out there today and we were a little disappointed that we did not get the three points in the end.”
Neal Ardley added that the Dons are still working hard to improve defensively, but he defended goalkeeper James Shea from any blame for Cheltenham’s goal.
“I don’t think it was James Shea’s fault,” added Neal. “The sloppy part was in the way that we defended the throw-in. We dived in and did not defend it right. James has read the cross right and if he had not done that then their player would have had a tap-in. I’m certainly not going to criticise James.
“Consistent habits and being good in both boxes are important in this division. We have an unbelievable threat in one box and we’re working hard as a group to make sure we can defend the other one well.”
Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley and the thoughts of Jack Smith will appear on our premium site later.