Manager's reaction after last-gasp victory
Neal Ardley felt it was a tough task to get the better of Accrington Stanley and he praised an “electric” atmosphere for helping the players emerge victorious.
Speaking during a post-match interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “During the build-up I told the players that they would have to accept that there was only going to be one goal in this game. I did not think there would be much between the two teams. I did not think it would be over like with a couple of ties that have been played in the play-offs. It was important to stay in the game and not go gung-ho to try and get the win. We have done half the job, but we have got a really tough match on Wednesday.
“They settled into the game quicker than us and we let them have the ball. They played little triangles and that caused problems. We came in at half-time and we tweaked things a bit. Once we did that we got a little bit more momentum in the game and Bayo came on and caused problems. They are a good team and in the first half they picked us off a bit and we ended up chasing the ball.
“We were not cohesive, but we had to accept there was a little bit of nerves and tension in there. We settled them down at half-time and gave them an insight into how to get a bit more momentum in the game. In the second-half we limited them and we were a bit stronger going forward.
“The atmosphere was electric. It was a cagey game, but the fans kept willing us on. There were not many chances, but when that moment came it was great. Let us hope we can see the job out. We will prepare and do our best, but we are under no illusions that it is still very much in the mix.”
Neal added that match-winner Tom Beere would probably not have been in the squad if Connor Smith had recovered in time to play. However, he was delighted with the impact of another player coming back into the mix after a spell out of the first-team picture.
man if Connor had been okay,” Neal said. “Tom came in and that’s what football is like. I had a feeling that something might just drop to him if we brought him on. He is a great striker of the ball and he has shown great composure for the goal.th“Football is a funny game and Tom might have been 19
“Callum Kennedy had been out for a long time and he has done a wonderful job since he came in. The squad needs to stay strong because we need everybody and we are delighted that players have come in and done so well.”
Neal Ardley confirmed afterwards that George Francomb missed out on the squad for the play-off semi-final due to a knee injury. The winger has suffered a meniscus tear and there may be a possibility that he will require an operation. We wish George well in his recuperation from the injury.
Full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player.