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Neal: we stayed strong

20 February 2016

Dons manager on a spirited victory at Barnet

Neal Ardley saluted his side’s resilience after Wimbledon earned all three points at Barnet – and he was delighted to reward Dons fans for all their great support.

Wimbledon had to dig deep in the conditions against a gritty Barnet team, but spirit in abundance was displayed by the whole team to make it six wins out of seven in League 2. And the Dons were roared onto victory by 1,409 travelling supporters.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “When we have gone to various places around London the support has been great. I knew it would be again. You could hear it in the dressing room when the lads went out and it felt like a home game. We gave them something to shout about because the lads worked their socks off. We were good going forward, created chances, and defended like lions. I don’t think you can ask for too much more than that away from home.

“I am delighted. I thought this was going to be a real tough one and the first half was really difficult. We had to stay strong, but their goalkeeper made three or four great saves and in the second-half he has made another three or four. We felt at 1-0 up that we could have been four or five ahead with the chances we had. Getting the second goal was vital, it was brilliant play from George to set it up. Then we made it difficult for ourselves in the last five minutes, but we stayed firm.”

Neal was pleased with the quality of performances from his substitutes with Ade Azeez once again making a difference and 18-year-old centre-back Ryan Sweeney’s form has not surprised the manager.

“It’s nice to look at the bench and see the quality that we have,” said Neal. “It was going to be difficult for Tom and Lyle to keep going for 90 minutes, bearing in mind we have Tuesday to think of as well. Ade came on and got his goal, but everyone put a shift in. Ryan has done another great job for us, but it does not happen by chance. It is all part of the process.It’s no coincidence that the likes of Will Nightingale and David Fitzpatrick have stepped up and done well because they've been training with the first-team, that's something we brought in two years ago. Credit to Ryan though because there was no hiding place out there.”

  Full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley is on Dons Player and an interview with Lyle Taylor will be on our premium channel tomorrow. 

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