Post-match reaction from Neal Ardley
Neal Ardley felt that defeat was harsh on Wimbledon today and that his players gave everything to achieve a result at the Lamex Stadium.
The Wimbledon manager was pleased with his side’s commitment to the cause in defeat and he thought it was a debatable decision from referee Philip Gibbs to award a penalty against Deji Oshilaja – an outcome that resulted in the winning goal.
Neal Ardley said: “It was never going to be a pretty game today. We were playing in blustery conditions and on an awful pitch against a Stevenage side that play with a high intensity. At the end of a week when we played Liverpool I think the fans and everyone else was looking for their team to show character and for the players to give every ounce of effort to win the game. I’m sure the fans will think that the players did that today.
“It was disappointing because the players have given everything that they could in the game, but have had it taken away from them. I’ve got to be careful what I say, but it’s the first time I’ve felt really strongly that the officiating was not what it should have been.
“It’s a tough one to call (the penalty decision). Both players were watching the ball and they clashed heads. It’s a brave decision to give that. I think we deserved a draw if you look at the game overall.”
Neal added that he was pleased with the performances of new boys Oshilaja and Jake Reeves as they were both thrust in from the start after signing in midweek.
“We had a young centre back pairing (Deji and Jake Goodman) playing together for the first time and I thought they coped admirably, especially near the end when we were chasing the game. I thought they were excellent. Jake Reeves brought some good quality with nice touches in the midfield area.
“Stevenage away is always going to be tough, but we have a good team. We could have come away thinking it was a good point, but that has been taken away from us.”
Dons Player subscribers can watch the full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley and an interview with George Francomb will follow tomorrow.