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Neal: a decent point

5 March 2016

Manager's reaction after battling draw

Neal Ardley felt the Dons had to dig deep to earn a point today against an Accrington Stanley side that he rates very highly.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player after a draw that moved his side up to seventh in League 2, Neal Ardley said: “It was a poor game and not a great match to watch. Accrington are a very free-flowing team and we had to do a little bit of extra work without the ball. They dominate a lot of matches and they have carved teams open in the games I’ve watched them play.

“In doing a lot more honest defensive work we were not as free-flowing going forward. The Northampton game was end-to end stuff on a beautiful pitch and today on a bit of a scrappy surface it became a scrap. We were not at our brilliant best, but I thought we were excellent against Oxford and Northampton. Today we have picked up a good point against a good team. We want to win every game, but it’s a decent point.

“If you look at the results today a lot of teams around us lost games you wouldn’t have expected them to lose. We are trying not to put the pressure on us. We know where we want to go and we are trying to do that with smiles on our faces. We want to enjoy trying to get there. There are some tough games and Accrington are a good team. They have probably not played as well as they could today, but we haven’t created as much as we can. The two teams have cancelled each other out, but their goalkeeper has probably stopped a certain goal.”

That incident when Accrington goalkeeper Ross Etheridge was sent off for stopping Lyle Taylor’s effort outside the box came during a spell when Wimbledon were pushing for the winner. Neal felt that the introductions of Dannie Bulman and Bayo Akinfenwa helped his side finish the game strongly.

“Our wide players were not getting in the game enough,” added Neal. “Andy Barcham was having a quiet game for him. Andy and Sean Rigg were trying to tuck in and do the jobs of midfielders and we thought we would go with three up front to cause them a different problem. Bringing Dannie on gave us a bit more steel in midfield.

“Tom Elliott had run himself into the ground against two aggressive centre backs and we thought Bayo could cause them problems, which he did. We went with three up against them to try and win the game and at the same time make us more solid in midfield.”

Neal added that he had sympathy for opposite number John Coleman after referee Trevor Kettle’s decision to blow the half-time whistle just before Billy Kee found the back of the net.

“If I was John I would be disappointed and I would have the hump,” said Neal. “In fairness to the referee, the fourth official called time 20 seconds before the referee blew up. I heard him say ‘that’s time’ and I was on the verge of saying ‘why haven’t you told the referee’. I think time had gone, but if I was John I would not be too happy with it.”

 Full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and an interview with Kelle Roos will follow tomorrow. 


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