Manager on penalty shoot-out glory
Neal Ardley said that a dramatic JPT win against Southend restored pride in the Wimbledon shirt after two successive home league defeats.
The Wimbledon manager was delighted to give the Dons faithful something to shout about after recent performances and he was proud of his side’s fighting spirit as they battled away with 10 men to earn a penalty shoot-out.
Speaking to Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “I went home on Saturday and beat myself up because I thought I got it wrong and made decisions that cost us the game. We obviously needed to freshen players up and we put a different team out. Win, lose or draw we wanted to learn about our squad. We produced a performance that puts a bit of pride back in the shirt. The fans can go home and say ‘that’s what we’re about’. We had two academy products (Tom Beere and Ben Harrison) on the pitch and they both did fantastic jobs. That was the icing on the cake because it’s something that I really want to do.
“I want to put a good enough team together that will help these players through. The way that we stayed in the game and battled away was great. Everyone put in a fantastic shift and it was a really pleasing night for everyone at the club.”
Neal added that he took the pressure off his players before the penalty shoot-out victory for Wimbledon.
“I said to the players at half-time that they had nothing to lose,” Neal said. “I told them that as long as they gave everything in the second-half and did not fold then the fans would be proud of them. The way they defended the penalty box and wide areas was great. At 2-1 down with 10 men your heads could drop, but we showed resilience to stay in the game.
“Before the penalties I said that Southend had let the game go to penalties and they would know that should not have happened. But we had clawed it back and I thought we would be in a better frame of mind. I told our players to pick a spot with their penalties, have a smile on their faces and enjoy the occasion.”
Dons Player subscribers can watch Neal Ardley’s full post-match reaction and an interview with Tom Beere will follow later today.