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Neal: it was immense

19 March 2016

Manager's reaction after late Wimbledon victory

Neal Ardley saluted the quality of Jake Reeves’ last-gasp winner – and he believes it could turn out to be a key moment in AFC Wimbledon’s season.

During a post-match interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley praised his players for keeping going right until the end with Reeves’ goal coming in the third minute of injury-time.

“It was immense,” said Neal. “You need those moments and we have had enough bad moments that have changed games against us this season, but that was a great one. Jake is a footballing player and he is trying to get the ball down, move it, and control games, but he is struggling on the pitch. He is having to do all the stuff that does not suit him. We’ve told him to drive more and use his legs to get into the box more. Today he has popped up with a great moment, let’s hope it is a moment we look back on that changed the course of the season.

“It has given us a great feeling. It does not matter how you win games and today we made it hard for ourselves by going 1-0 down. I thought that was harsh on us because they didn’t threaten us much. We showed great character. We could have been coming in and saying ‘how did we not win that?’ But we kept going and if you do that you will create chances. Their keeper made some great saves to stop us. I told them afterwards ‘you write your own script’. We can’t worry about what anyone else is doing.

“This is the best that the squad has been with adding Rhys Murphy and Darius Charles. We have five great strikers, two rock-solid promotion-type centre-backs, and the rest of the team have been immense all season.”

It may have been his midfield partner Jake Reeves who stole the headlines, but Dannie Bulman was pivotal in Wimbledon’s second-half fightback and Neal was delighted with his contribution.

“Dannie runs all day and he keeps bombing into the box,” added Neal. “That was why we changed to a three in there because we thought we could free-up either Dannie or George Francomb to make runs into the middle of their defence. They did that quite regularly. We have three or four systems in our armoury that we can change to and the boys know how to play them all.

 “We decided to make the substitutions and go with three forwards. Rhys then popped up and got his head in where it hurts to score. We decided to carry on with three forwards. I thought from the moment when we went with three midfielders and three up front it was one-way traffic.”

Neal’s full-post match reaction is now on Dons Player. Interviews with Jake Reeves and Darius Charles will follow tomorrow, along with extended highlights.

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