Post-match reaction from the manager
Neal Ardley was delighted with the outcome of a team meeting held on Thursday after Wimbledon produced a resilient display to beat Barnet.
A first clean sheet of 2015/16 made it three wins out of the last four at home for Wimbledon, but it required a dogged defensive display in the second-half.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “It had been coming. We had a good meeting on Thursday when we talked about not burying our heads in the sand as far as the set-pieces go and the goals we’ve conceded. The players took hold of the meeting, which is what we wanted. We wanted it to be player-led and they ended up leading it.
“Actions speak louder than words. They have gone out there today and probably faced more balls into the box and more bodies committed in there than they ever had. But they have defended like lions. We can play better than we played today, but we played brilliantly in midweek and never got the just rewards. It was important that we got the three points and we got them.”
Neal felt that his defence worked well as a unit to defy a Barnet side that put pressure on in the second half.
“I thought the whole back four did well,” added Neal. “Barry Fuller and Jon Meades never put a foot wrong and we have come to expect that from them. Semi Ajayi is a young lad, but he stood up to a real test today. I thought that ‘Robbo’ was absolutely immense. Everything that came near him he headed and he was a proper leader of men out there. The whole back four and the keeper can have smiles on their faces and can enjoy the clean sheet.
“I don’t look at the table at the moment and I ask everybody to look at the performances of the team. Today, we were not free-flowing, but how many times have you seen James Shea keep us in the game this season? It has not happened. How many times have you gone home thinking ‘if only we had taken that chance’. That has happened regularly. How many times have the team gone forward and looked exciting?
“We are a good team and there have not been many times after a game when we have gone home and thought ‘they are much better than us’. Only twice has that happened in my eyes. A lot of things are right and points will come with performances. Today, we had to put in a performance of character. Although we were deep at times, we defended our box resiliently.
“I had a feeling that Lyle and Ade would cause them problems today with their pace and movement and that was certainly the case. Lyle is an exceptional striker of the ball. Bayo and Ade have also been scoring goals and we have Tom Elliott to come back next week.”
The full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and interviews will follow tomorrow with James Shea and Semi Ajayi.