Manager praises second-half fightback
Neal Ardley expressed his disappointment with conceding a late equaliser from a set-piece, but he was proud of the team’s second-half fightback.
Speaking during a post-match interview for Dons Player after the 2-2 draw, Neal said: “It was strange because they (Fleetwood) could have been out of sight, but at 2-1 up we had two one-on-ones and if one of those had gone in we would have sealed it. Then we have conceded another set-piece, which we are all disappointed about. We’ve looked back at it and there are always a number of things; the zones, doing their jobs properly, people just getting on the wrong side, and things like that.
“We have to learn from it, but we are never going to be mistake-free all the way through. The boys over the course of the last few weeks have put an incredible amount into it. There are some really tired bodies. I am really proud of them; proud of the second-half and of the fight that this group has got. Although we are disappointed to lose two points, I think that a draw was probably what we deserved from it.”
Neal added that his players struggled to cope with Fleetwood’s style of play in the first-half, the visitors having threatened to build a greater lead by half-time.
“We were really poor in the first-half,” said Neal. “We were disjointed, you could see we had some good players out of the team. Their shape caused us problems. Although we had worked on it yesterday, we just could not get to grips with it. Sometimes you feel like the opposition have two more players than you on the pitch and that’s what it looked like in the first-half.
“At half-time, we changed our shape and a couple of personnel. Obviously, Tom has come on and done well, he caused them problems in the air. It was a change of shape and a change of mentality that aided the fightback.
“I said to Uwe Rosler at the end that they are a very good team and you can see why they are up there in the table. They have good players, I knew it beforehand when me and ‘Bass’ did our homework on them. We wanted to get our full-backs on the ball, but in the first-half we couldn’t. We could not get that flow to our game. In the second-half we went for more character, guts and energy – we tried to play that type of game.”
Neal confirmed afterwards that Lyle Taylor missed out today after suffering a hip injury in the days leading up to the game.
Full post-match reaction from Neal is now on Dons Player and an interview with Paul Robinson, plus extended highlights, will follow tomorrow.