Manager's reaction after impressive victory
Neal Ardley was full of praise for his side’s second-half performance after AFC Wimbledon proved too strong for Plymouth Argyle in the Checkatrade Trophy.
League 2 leaders Plymouth struggled to cope with a Wimbledon onslaught after the break with goals from Lyle Taylor and Tyrone Barnett earning victory.
The manager felt it was a night of many positives with young players Alfie Egan, Tom Beere and Will Nightingale showing their qualities and more experienced players including Chris Robertson and George Francomb getting much-needed game time.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “We were disappointed to come in 1-0 down. They had one shot at goal from the edge of the box, which we should have dealt with, and one breakaway. Other than that, we had been fairly comfortable, but we were too static in the first-half. We didn’t have enough movement or tempo in our play, but territorially we were the better team. We wanted to up the intensity in the second-half and the players did absolutely everything I could have asked for. They could not cope with us.
“Overall, the team performance was excellent. We brought people in and I thought George Francomb at right-back was exceptional. The two centre halves have not had much game-time, but they came in and looked comfortable. Sean Kelly also did a great job. It fills you full of confidence that everyone is really fighting hard for the group and that is a delight to see.”
Alfie Egan impressed the manager after stepping up from the development squad, the 19-year-old producing an assured display on his debut.
“I am delighted with him,” added Neal. “He had trained well this season and we reward players for doing well. We will give them an opportunity and that is what this club is all about. Tom Beere has had another really good game. We were 1-0 down when Alfie came on and it would have been easy to bring on a more senior player. He added a great energy to the team.
“Lyle scored his goal and deserved his assist – it was an exceptional bit of skill from him. Tyrone’s second-half energy levels were great. In the second-half the intensity, energy, running off the ball and pressing was exceptional. Plymouth ended up changing their shape and putting two up because they could not find a way to get the ball down and play.”
Neal said afterwards that it was too early to assess the injuries suffered by Jake Reeves and Dean Parrett in the first-half with both midfielders forced to come off prematurely.
The full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and an interview with Tom Beere will follow later on today.