Manager on JPT defeat to Plymouth
Neal Ardley summed up his disappointment after elimination from the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, but he was pleased with elements of AFC Wimbledon’s performance.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “First and foremost I am devastated because I wanted us to do well in this competition, but I am also proud of a lot of what happened tonight. I felt that we did play well enough to win the game. They played a full strength team and if you looked at their bench they were strong, but we played a little bit more of our squad and I thought for spells we were very good.
“We created a lot of good chances against a side at the top of the league. There were some individual performances that I thought were exceptional. We perhaps got punished for not putting it to bed. We had a couple of chances at 2-0 up and again at 2-1 up, but we did not take them. Then Plymouth had that spell when they got on top and they were really going for it.
“I have seen the goals and I know where the problems lie. We will have to learn from it and the people involved will have to learn from it. There are bits we will show them that have cost us moments of the game, but there were large spells of the game when they did really well.”
Though Neal was loathe to make excuses, he felt that injuries to Tom Beere, Andy Barcham and Dan Gallagher disrupted his side at a crucial time in the game.
“Tom, ‘Barchy’ and Dan G having to all go off disrupted us and it meant that we could not freshen it up,” added Neal. “We had tired players running on empty. Ade Azeez and Lyle Taylor both played their first 90 minutes for the first-team this season and Sean Rigg was tired.
“They caused us problems, but when we had our structure and the energy levels were high we looked fairly solid. We switched off for their first goal. Two of the lads got caught ball watching, the ball was hooked on and they were one-on-one with our goalie. They were moments that got their spirits up.
“We should have come through that with experience and if we had gone in 2-0 up at half-time it would have been a different game. Credit to Plymouth for their performance, but it did not help us having to jiggle people around in different positions.”
Full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player.