Post-match reaction from the manager
Neal Ardley was full of praise for Craig Tanner’s performance after the 20-year-old made a crucial contribution in today’s victory against Portsmouth.
The on-loan Reading striker’s influence was vital in the winner credited as an own goal to Portsmouth’s Ben Chorley and Neal praised his overall display.
Neal told Dons Player: “It might be classed as an own goal, but with his run and movement I will give him an assist! I thought he was phenomenal today. It has been hard in a way because when you get an Under-21 player you have to coach him a little bit about what is required in League 2. But he has got better and better with each game. He was excellent against Mansfield and he was at the heart of a lot of good stuff that we did.
“Craig is so talented, but it was his work ethic that stood out today. He never stopped running in the first half and he was the same in the second half. I told him afterwards that if he keeps playing like that then he can play at any level.”
The above picture (taken by Pro Sports Images) shows Craig Tanner receiving congratulations for his part in the winning goal.
Neal said afterwards that George Francomb was missing from the squad today after he suffered a back injury in training yesterday.
Wimbledon's manager added that hard work in preparation was the key to nullifying a Pompey side that had bene in prolific form of late – and he was pleased with his side’s will to win.
“I said to the players beforehand that I wanted the fans to see a team that are not just seeing the season out,” added Neal. “I wanted them to really go for it. I have been hard on them this week and I will be hard on them for the next four or five weeks. I will push them hard to try and finish as strong as we can. Fans want you to attack and dominate the game a bit more and we all want that, but sometimes you have to do what needs to be done to win the game.
“We did a lot of work yesterday and we were really aggressive with the players. We did 11 versus 11 match preparation like we always do, but we also did a presentation. We did not want to give Jed Wallace the freedom of the park because he had played a major part in their good form recently . We had to plan for that. A few times I raised my voice because I wanted to make sure they knew their roles and responsibilities.
“I would have been happy to have gone in 0-0 at half-time because I thought we might get penned in against the wind. But it was a great ball by Barry Fuller, good movement by Craig and a nice goal to go 1-0 up.”
The full post-match reaction with Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and an interview with Ross Worner will be on our premium channel tomorrow.