Post-match reaction from the manager
Neal Ardley felt aggrieved with referee Darren Deadman’s decision to award a crucial penalty at Exeter City today.
The Dons were holding Exeter at 1-1 with 10 men until Clinton Morrison went down after a challenge from Dave Winfield 25 minutes from time.
Speaking to Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “I thought the penalty was soft. At 1-1 we still had something to cling onto and had just put on fresh legs to try and have that energy about us. It was still possible at that stage, but it was a soft penalty. The ball has got played through and there was no way he was going to get the ball. He has bought that with his experience.
“Then you are chasing the game against a good team with 10 men and it became hard. Exeter are good at what they do and they move the ball around well. They can also put balls into the box and mix it up. Paul Tisdale will be delighted with them and rightly so. I thought at times we did not defend well enough. But the boys put in a shift. We have two tough games coming up and we will take them one by one and see where we go with it.”
Neal had no complaints about Dannie Bulman’s red card in the first half that came at a time when his game plan had been working effectively.
“We started well and scored a great goal,” added Neal. “I thought they were the better team for 15 minutes after that and we had to defend well and stay resilient. It was a pivotal moment, but if Dannie has gone in two-footed then it has cost us. It is a tough away fixture here. We had a game plan, but it changed with two pivotal moments. The first one is the sending off and he may have got that right – I have no qualms about that.
“If we had gone 2-0 up it would have given us a really good chance. Alfie Potter got through one on one, but the defender just managed to recover. It was always going to be tough in the second half against a good team.”
Dons Player subscribers can watch the full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley later on and an interview with Barry Fuller will feature tomorrow.