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Neal praises Dons striker

1 October 2016

Team effort from Tom earns manager's admiration

Manager Neal Ardley was pleased with how his side battled against fatigue and how fresh legs helped the side in their 2-0 victory over Gillingham.

“We talked about intensity in the first half and we wanted to get our levels up,” said Neal speaking to Dons Player. “Obviously playing on Wednesday night (at Coventry) we didn’t have too much recovery time and training time and we were worried about fatigue, so we tried to go hard from the start and we did in the first half and I felt we were worthy of our goals, although gifted them.”

“We felt we dropped four points from our last two games, so second half it was a case of we’re going to be professional, we’re not going to give them a sniff. At times your play suffers, particularly as fatigue kicks in, there are some tired bodies out there and sometimes the quality of play out there suffers a bit, but we’re not going to apologise for that, we’re going to say that it’s a job well done.”

The Dons continued their recent good run of form after first-half goals from Dominic Poleon and a penalty from sponsor’s man-of-the-match Dean Parrett.

“It’s funny, because for the first three games of the season we thought we played really well and we lost all three. Since then we haven’t played as well and we’ve been more functional in the way we played and yet we’ve lost one game in eight in the league. We’ll try and get the balance right on both! We want to play well, we want to attack and look good, but we also want to win games and at the moment we’re doing okay and we’re really happy with how the squad is coming together.”

Neal felt that all three players that came into the starting line-up made important contributions to the victory as the Dons showed strength in depth at a key time.

“The boys that we freshened up the side with – Tom Beere, Tom Elliott and Dominic Poleon – all did great and added that real energy to the team, so we’re delighted.”

“Dom will always get praise from me for doing a shift for the team, but there were a lot of good performances today and I thought Tom Elliott was immense, not just with going forward but the amount of defending of corners and set-pieces and that’s important. He did a fantastic job for the team,” added Neal.

“Tom Beere has come back leaner and fitter this season and we’ve been really happy with him. He came to see me the other day about going out on loan and I told him I didn’t want him to, because he’s an important part of the set up. He’s come in today, done really, really well. He had tight hamstrings at the end, but let’s see if we can get him right and get him back out on the pitch.”

It’s also been a tiring week for left-back Jon Meades, following his goal scoring performance at Coventry on Wednesday and needing to come off against Gillingham.

“Jon struggled for a while. He’s had bad calves and a bad ankle and he’s been sore for a little while and playing in a bit of pain. He was struggling for the last twenty minutes on Wednesday night, but battled on and he struggled again today, but he went on for as long as he could until he felt they were really limiting in what he could do. We’ll get him back in and try and get him right for next week.”

The full interview with manager Neal Ardley is now available to Dons Player subscribers and extended highlights and an interview with Andy Barcham will follow tomorrow. 

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