Match reaction after Oxford
Neal Ardley was pleased with his side’s overall display after the Dons came close to getting the better of Oxford United at the tenth attempt.
Following a slow start, Wimbledon threatened to win it and a real positive on the day was Ryan Sweeney’s performance as he earned the sponsor’s man of the match award.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “I thought we started slowly for the first 20 minutes. The team did not function in the way that we had worked on and the front three needed to have more penetration. Once we started to put into practice what we had worked upon and got that going we became a threat in the last 20 minutes of the first-half and created some great chances.
“In the second half I thought we were the better side and their goalkeeper made three or four good saves. I thought we did everything but nick the game. If we had scored I think we would have won the game 1-0. We put in a lot of effort and we showed some quality at times.
“We have youngsters on the bench now and it is great that Ryan made his full debut. There are lots of positives to take I feel. Will Nightingale and Ryan Sweeney have both made their debuts at centre back, which is a position that a lot of people do not want to take a chance on. It is brave from me and brave from the club. I hope everyone is pleased with the way that has gone.”
Neal Ardley added that it had been a tough week for players and management staff with the death of Sammy Moore’s mother. Fans showed their support with a round of applause in the eighth minute of today’s game for AFC Wimbledon’s number eight, who is the club’s longest serving player.
“It has been a tough week,” said Neal. “Sammy’s mother collapsed on Monday at the Dagenham game and they are a close-knit family. She had been on a life support machine and yesterday she lost that battle. Sammy is heartbroken and so too are all his family. It has affected the boys, in particular Barry Fuller, who is very close to Sammy.
“On the back of the Dagenham game when we felt we had been hammered, this put it into perspective. Our thoughts are with Sammy and his family at this tough time for them and we feel their sadness.”
The full interview with Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player.