Post-match reaction from the manager
Neal Ardley praised his side’s overall performance levels after late goals from Luton finally made their extra man count today.
The Wimbledon manager questioned the decision of referee Brendan Malone to send off Karleigh Osborne 10 minutes before half-time and he felt that his side were on top at that point.
minute. They were playing quite narrow and they tried to go through the middle, but I thought we defended it well. We also broke well and Andy Barcham caused them problems, I thought he was exceptional in the first-half.thSpeaking during an interview with Rob Cornell for Dons Player, Neal said: “It was a good game from our point of view until the 35
“Our performance levels were good prior to the sending off. We had to rejig it a bit and we managed to get through until half-time. We wanted to stay brave so we changed to a diamond in the second-half so that Sean Rigg could get close enough to Bayo Akinfenwa to support him. We wanted ‘Riggy’ and ‘Barchy’ to break really quickly and they did it brilliantly.
“Our defensive mentality was great and so too were the energy levels. Their first goal was a scrappy one and I could not fault the boys. They put their bodies on the line several times. I have had a look at the stats and we had more possession and exactly the same amount of attempts at goal.I think their goalkeeper has pulled off the two best saves in the game, although James Shea made a good one.
"It is hard to know what to say and we were all disappointed in there. The players are really fed up, but I have told them that we will go again and that is all we can do now. The fans have clapped us off and I am hoping that they saw a really whole-hearted and committed performance.”
Neal felt that Brendan Malone’s decision to send off Karleigh Osborne was harsh on the defender.
“The first one was a booking,” Neal added. “The only argument I would have with the second one is that if you are going to send someone off for their first two tackles then you could end up with eight men on the pitch regularly. Maybe a warning might have been the right thing because it looked soft. Sometimes when someone has been booked, referees use common sense and say ‘that is your last one, anymore and you are off’. But he has done it and I am not going to criticise. We have to move on from it.”
The full interview with Neal Ardley will feature on Dons Player tonight.