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Neal overcomes adversity

16 April 2016

Reaction after the Dons earn dramatic win

Neal Ardley was delighted with the manner of victory today after disrupted preparations for the game against Crawley Town.

The manager himself was ill for a couple of days and with Tom Elliott and Jake Reeves both on the list of absentees it was a difficult week leading up to the match.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “On the surface I knew it was going to be a battle and a scrap. It was not very pretty and we had to give everything to get the win. We’ve had a lot of disruption in the camp too. I was off for a couple of days so ‘Coxy’ and ‘Bass’ did a great job holding the fort. Tom Elliott came in yesterday with tonsillitis and Jake Reeves had a slight tweak in his hamstring. Jon Meades also had to go for an X-Ray.

“We came in this morning and we did not know the team. We had a certain shape that we wanted to play and we felt on a poor pitch we needed some strength up front. We went with Bayo up there and we believed that playing with two runners off him would be the best thing to do. It was a real grind today. Connor was not 100 per cent fit, but we threw him in so we took a few risks. The boys stuck at it. It was not pretty, but that’s what I expected.”

The picture above (taken by Stuart Butcher, Pro Sports Images) shows Paul Robinson heading the winning goal.

Though Robinson turned out to be Wimbledon’s hero for his late winner, Neal was full of praise for his display at the other end, alongside Darius Charles.

“In particular ‘Robbo’ and Darius were outstanding at the back,” added Neal. “Along with Kelle Roos, they did not put a foot wrong. When you’ve got that bedrock you’ve always got a chance. If you can keep a clean sheet, it only takes one moment. It was a great run and cross from Barry Fuller and the header from ‘Robbo’ was worthy of winning the game.

“I knew it would be the toughest game of the run-in today. Leyton Orient is a London derby, Portsmouth will bring a big following and those sorts of games will be exciting. But today after two great results there was always going to be an expectancy against a Crawley team with nothing to play for. We dug in and did a good job to win it.

“Every time we’ve got in there (the play-offs) we’ve had a little blip. The boys owe us nothing and I keep telling them that. We dreamed of promotion and we are going to carry on dreaming of it. We are over-achieving, but this club has always done that. We are enjoying it, there is a great team spirit, and we will keep going. As long as the fans know that the boys are preparing right for every minute of every game and giving everything, that’s all you can ask for. We are going to do that for the next five games and see where it takes us.”

Full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and interviews with Paul Robinson, Connor Smith and extended highlights will be on our premium channel tomorrow.


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