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Neal pleased by response

4 March 2015

Post-match reaction after Southend draw

Neal Ardley praised his side’s defensive qualities after the Dons defied all that promotion chasers Southend could throw at them.

The Wimbledon manager felt that Phil Brown’s men were one of the best sides to visit the Cherry Red Records Stadium this season and he was pleased with his players for matching them, especially after Saturday’s disappointing defeat at Hartlepool.

Speaking to Rob Cornell during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “They put a lot of balls into the box and I thought that our back five were outstanding. If we can get a positive result on Saturday then it could be a really good point. We wanted a reaction after Saturday’s game and we got that. They boys put in a really good shift. We lacked quality on a bad pitch, but we dug in and picked up a point.

“Both defences did well. Southend are big, strong and powerful. They are one of the better teams to have come here this season. I am not going to apologise for the performance because it was tough against them. We had to dig in, try and stay in the game, and then maybe have a couple of moments when we could nick a goal.

“We probably had two or three of the better chances on the night and we had a legitimate claim for a penalty. Anywhere else on the pitch if a player gets his head to the ball first and then someone goes into him a second later then the referee would give a free-kick. It is quite obvious that they are the rules, but it was not given.”

Neal singled out towering defender Dave Winfield for his commanding display at the back with the on-loan York defender producing arguably his best performance in a Dons shirt.

“Dave was immense and it was his sort of game,” added Neal. “Every long throw that came into the box he got his head on it. Big Dave was outstanding for us tonight. We defended our box well and put blocks in when we needed to. Playing into the wind in the second half was tough for Joe McDonnell to get much distance on his kicks. They played it well by playing for throw-ins and launching long balls into the box. That made it an even more resilient performance.”

The full interview with Neal Ardley is on Dons Player and we will feature interviews with Joe McDonnell and Deji Oshilaja later on.

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